Vitamin Supplements for Adolescent Girls with Hormones

Adolescence is a period of rapid growth and development, which means that adequate vitamin intake is especially important. Adolescent girls are also going through significant hormonal changes as they begin their menstrual cycle. Although diet is not always the cause of hormonal imbalance, getting an adequate supply of vitamins and other nutrients may improve hormonal-related symptoms in adolescent girls.

A teenager eating a nutritious lunch. Credit: dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin B-12

Although iron deficiency is usually the cause of anemia in adolescent girls, vitamin B-12 deficiency can also cause anemia, which is characterized not only by extreme fatigue, but also by moodiness, personality changes and depression. Following a vegetarian diet increases the risk for vitamin B-12 deficiency, since animal products are the primary foods that contain it. Fortified cereals and soy products also contain vitamin B-12. Adolescent girls ages 9 to 13 need 1.8 micrograms of B-12 daily, or 4 micrograms for girls ages 14 and up, according to National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.

Vitamin D

Lack of vitamin D has been linked to depression in some population groups, according to the Vitamin D Council. Aside from its benefits for mental health, vitamin D is especially crucial for bone growth that occurs during adolescence, so adolescent girls should be sure to get at least 5 micrograms each day. The body produces vitamin D during sunlight exposure, which is why levels tend to be lower during the winter months, as noted in the "Postgraduate Medical Journal."

Iron

Although it isn't a vitamin, iron is one of the most important nutrients for teenage girls, who are prone to iron-deficiency anemia, particularly if they have started their menstrual cycle. If your adolescent girl seems to be constantly fatigued, irritable and lethargic, the cause may be a combination of anemia and hormonal imbalance. Consult your doctor before using iron supplements, which can produce undesirable side effects if taken in high doses. Adolescent girls need 8 milligrams of iron per day between the ages of 9 and 13, or 15 milligrams for girls ages 15 and older, according to the University of Minnesota. Adolescent girls should include plenty of iron-rich foods in their diet to avoid deficiency.

Other Considerations

In addition to dietary supplements, be sure that your adolescent gets plenty of healthy foods in her diet. Fats are especially important during puberty, according to pediatrician Dr. William Sears, since they aid in the production of sex hormones. Incorporate healthy fats from avocados, dairy foods and healthy oils into the adolescent's diet to encourage healthy hormone production. As with all dietary supplements, consult your child's doctor to determine the best supplement for her particular needs.

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