Women have a lot to deal with, especially in today’s society. In the middle of everything running in and around women’s lives, health remains core to it all. But with a culture of ultra-processed foods and diminished nutrition, it has become increasingly difficult to avoid various deficiencies and their consequences.
A multi-faceted women’s supplement in two capsules
Several companies have developed “women’s health supplements”, but NNB Nutrition tasked us to do one better, targeting more pitfalls that commonly trap women. We took it upon ourselves to pack as many beneficial ingredients as possible into two capsules, knowing that we all have limits to the number of capsules we’re willing to take every day.
Below, we’ve formulated our “dream women’s supplement” with ten ingredients, with various beneficial components:
- Mood and energy (stimulant-free)
- Hormonal health
- PMS and Menopause relief
- Metabolic wellness
- Better Sleep
Made possible by NNB Nutrition
It’s only possible thanks to NNB Nutrition’s novel ingredients, which give us powerful effects without taking up too much space. This supplement includes what your general women’s multivitamin doesn’t – and with only two capsules, it’d be no major deal to add to your stack, but the results would be impossible to miss.
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Our Women’s Health Formula Ingredients
Consider this a thought experiment of how we’d maximize space and effects in just two capsules to give women some sensational benefits. While this isn’t an actual supplement, it’s one we’d love to see created (especially for our significant others), addressing numerous issues that women deal with from day to day, month to month, and even during menopause.
RhodioPrime 6X (Rhodiola crenulata extract [6% salidroside] [root]) – 200 mg
We start our formula off with a “mood-boosting bang” in the best way we know how – with NNB Nutrition’s RhodioPrime 6X, the industry’s premier high-salidroside Rhodiola extract.
Rhodiola is a fascinating and incredibly well-researched adaptogen that helps the brain and body adjust to stress and regulate various neurotransmitter levels. We’re primarily interested in its ability to improve serotonin production, which serves as a key mood and emotion regulator amongst other effects.
This leads to several incredible benefits:
The numerous benefits of Rhodiola
Stress and anxiety relief – In as little as 14 days, Rhodiola has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety, stress, anger, confusion, and depression. Another study, using 200 milligrams like we have here, showed improvements in all stress measurements, and the effects began in three days!
Mood enhancement – The study cited above touches upon improved mood through a reduction of depression, and further research has verified that Rhodiola can significantly boost mood in users with clinical mood disorders.
When compared to popular pharmaceutical drugs, Rhodiola held its own, leading to modest improvements but with far fewer side effects.
Menopause relief – In 2015, researchers published a paper reviewing the connections between estrogen decline, menopause-related health risks, and how Rhodiola can protect against them.
The paper has relevant sections on:
- Psychological stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue,
- Cardiovascular protection,
- Osteoporosis prevention,
- Anticarcinogenic and chemoprotective,
- Hormonal effects, and
- Clinical case studies
After analyzing the mechanisms and research available, they went so far to title their paper “Pause menopause with Rhodiola rosea”, concluding the following:“Numerous lines of evidence indicate that Rhodiola should be investigated as a potential selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) to prevent, delay or mitigate menopause-related cognitive, psychological, cardiovascular and osteoporotic conditions.”
Mental Fatigue and Tiredness Reduction – A study on a low (100 milligram) dose of Rhodiola found improved general well-being, including better cognition, mental clarity, physical fitness. Reductions in mental fatigue have been noted and replicated in several studies across several dosages and extracts.[2,3,8-14]
In addition, one of these studies also documented improved sleep quality and reduced the consequences of sleep deprivation, benefits nearly all of us can enjoy.
Physical Fatigue Reduction – With some overlap from the above studies, athletes have experienced clinically reduced physical fatigue,[9,15,16] improving endurance and enabling them to train with more vigor.
Notably, athletes have less muscular damage when using Rhodiola, as measured by creatine kinase levels.[17-19]
Improved Cognition and Attention – Rhodiola also serves as an incredible nootropic, or cognition-enhancing supplement, with several studies demonstrating improved overall cognition[3,7,8,20] and attention.[10,16]
Potential Appetite Regulation – We’ve seen animal studies demonstrate reduced binge eating with Rhodiola, potentially due to the serotonin support it provides.
There are so many great reasons to take this adaptogen, it’s questionable not to include a powerful extract in a health supplement.
Focus on salidroside with RhodioPrime 6X
Over time, researchers have begun to realize that the salidroside portion of Rhodiola extracts are what drive the most impressive feel-good effects that we seek.[22,23] Many supplements are extracted for rosavins, but they alone are not targeting the energetic pathways as heavily as salidroside (such as AMPK and mTOR). The researchers targeting menopause specifically call out salidroside’s mechanisms in improving women’s health.
For this reason, we asked NNB Nutrition to develop a high-salidroside Rhodiola extract, and its name is RhodioPrime 6X. This is a mood-boosting, energetic, and extremely experiential ingredient that has an industry-leading 6% salidroside extract. It feels great, and is exactly what we hoped for NNB to create.
Rhodiola used right
Rhodiola extracts aren’t just for women, but women are too often neglected in supplements that use the potent adaptogen. We’re too used to seeing this ingredient in high-stimulant workout supplements and aggressive nootropic (cognitive-boosting) supplements — two categories that are rather male-dominated. While Rhodiola is incredible in those formulas, they’re often dosed in a way that prevents women from getting a full dosage.
With this formula, that changes right here. Rhodiola alone makes this a women’s supplement worth considering, but we’ve only gotten started. Next we’ll focus on some women-specific issues, hormonal improvements, then get to inflammation and metabolic enhancement.
You can learn more in our articles titled “Rhodiola: The Salidroside-Powered Adaptogen of the Vikings” and “NNB RhodioPrime 6X: The Strongest Rhodiola Extract (6% Salidroside)“.
Chaste Tree Extract (Vitex Agnus-Castus) – 200mg
Now getting to women’s health, Chaste Tree Extract is a plant with many incredible benefits, especially with regards to menopause, PMS, infertility, and other reproductive issues.[25-27] Also known as Vitex agnus-castus, the plant can help combat many of the changes of menopause, including hot flashes, fatigue, dizziness, bone loss, weight gain, and poor mood.
Chaste Tree Extracts have been studied well enough to have a systematic review of eight randomized controlled trials, finding that the ingredient is safe and beneficial in dealing with bloating, anxiety, migraines, cramps, fatigue, insomnia, and general irritability.[26,27]
The exact mechanism is being explored, and scientists believe that chaste tree extract is able to activate various dopamine pathways in the brain, which is an incredible effect to pair with the serotonin boost from RhodioPrime 6X above!
CurcuPrime (Tetrahydrocurcumin) – 200mg
Turmeric and its potent pigment, curcumin, are well-known for their numerous anti-inflammatory benefits[32-34] that extend to pain reduction,[35-37] metabolic improvements,[38-40] better mood / reduced anxiety,[33,41,42] and improved blood flow.
PMS and Menopause hot flash protection
One study even found notably reduced PMS symptoms, and another triple-blind randomized study on 93 post-menopausal women found that both curcumin and vitamin E significantly reduced hot flashes in eight weeks, with curcumin outperforming both vitamin E and placebo.
The issue is that curcumin has notoriously awful bioavailability, requiring us to either dose it very high or find new preparations (which still require doses higher than what we can fit into our women’s health supplement).
Tetrahydrocurcumin: a metabolite with the benefits but better bioavailability
The solution to curcumin’s bioavailability problem? NNB Nutrition’s CurcuPrime, which is a pure tetrahydrocurcumin ingredient. Discovered in 1978, tetrahydrocurcumin was quickly found to be a key bioactive metabolite of curcumin, and is a strong contributor to curcumin’s potent bioactivity compared to its other metabolites.
Researchers have found that tetrahydrocurcumin has superior bioavailability to curcumin, enabling us to use less to get similar effects. This is due to the compound’s inclusion of four hydrogen atoms, which enable greater antioxidant activity. This also makes the compound more water-soluble and whiter in color, a major plus for formulators and manufacturers who loathe the staining deep yellow-orange color of curcumin.
Animal studies have shown tetrahydrocurcumin outperforming standard curcumin in metabolic tests (blood sugar response and protection from lipid oxidation).[51-53] Finally, to add to the nootropic effects we get from RhodioPrime 6X, tetrahydrocurcumin has been shown to protect acetylcholine,[48,54] keeping our “learning neurotransmitters” around longer for improved cognition.
Best of all, with better bioavailability, we can get a rather potent dose at 200 milligrams, which is what’s needed to fit so many powerful ingredients into our supplement here. When space is at a premium, CurcuPrime is a clear choice for the inclusion of a curcumin compound.
Women who are dealing with serious joint pain issues may wish to include a separate supplement stack to address that, but CurcuPrime’s powerful anti-inflammatory action at a relatively low dose makes it a wise choice for general protection. Unless women actively seek out a quality curcumin supplement, they may not get these benefits, and they’re well worth getting to everyone.
You can learn more in our articles titled “Tetrahydrocurcumin: A More Potent Alternative to Curcumin?” and “NNB Nutrition CurcuPrime: Curcumin’s Better Half for Dieters“.
3,3′-Diindolylmethane – 200 mg
It’s unsurprising to see DIM (scientifically known as 3,3′ diindolylmethane) in a women’s health supplement, given its benefits for hormonal balance. DIM has a unique ability to lower excess estrogen levels, balancing the “good” and “bad” estrogens.
The ingredient works by inhibiting aromatase and 5a-reductase, two enzymes involved in estrogen production. It doesn’t completely shut down estrogen, though, but ends up boosting levels of estradiol 2-hydroxylase (the “good estrogen”) while reducing levels of 16-alpha-hydroxy estrone (the “bad estrogen”). As with anything, it’s all about equilibrium and balance.
With a better estrogen balance, we can help combat the negative effects of too much estrogen, which includes (but is not limited to) headaches, irregular menstruation, swelling, fatigue, more pronounced PMS symptoms, anxiety, weight gain, and more.
Later, we’ll touch on thyroid protection with the added iodine, but research also shows that DIM DIM is an anti-estrogenic agent that can lower the risk of certain thyroid diseases and breast cancer.[30,31]
In 2016, researchers published a systematic review regarding DIM’s anti-cancer effects, stating that it can alter estrogen metabolism and apoptosis for the better while improving the response to oxidative stress.
Vitex and DIM take up nearly half of our formula, but make a wonderful duo in terms of protecting women. This leaves us room to further fight inflammation:
GlucoVantage Dihydroberberine – 100mg
CurcuPrime promotes some metabolic improvements, but nothing like what’s here in GlucoVantage, NNB Nutrition’s dihydroberberine ingredient, known as the “Super Berberine”.
Berberine is a metabolic-boosting ingredient that lowers blood sugar and drastically improves metabolic markers (such as insulin, HbA1c, and lipid levels), helping to improve insulin sensitivity. It has outperformed very popular pharmaceutical drugs with fewer side effects.
Assisting with the menopausal transition
Before getting into the metabolic benefits that everyone can enjoy with GlucoVantage dihydroberberine, it’s important to call out a paper published in 2015 that analyzed berberine with respect to menopausal women. Inside, the researchers noted that berberine’s mechanisms (discussed below) “suggest that this molecule could be an effective natural supplement to ensure a smooth peri- and postmenopausal transition”.
The study discusses research that demonstrates berberine’s little-known ability to boost mood through MAO-A enzyme inhibition, which will help keep dopamine levels elevated longer.
Undoing metabolic damage and getting nutrients where they need to go
Berberine primarily works by increasing the release of our “energy metabolism enzyme”, AMPK,[59,60] which helps drive glucose uptake into muscle cells as opposed to fat cells. It also boosts insulin sensitivity by promoting adiponectin release from fat tissue, further undoing metabolic damage done to the body.
This leads to numerous health benefits seen in berberine users:
- Improved glucose uptake,[56,62] especially into muscle cells[60,63]
- Better insulin sensitivity and insulin levels
- Body recomposition (build muscle while losing fat)[56,64]
- Metabolic marker improvements
Meanwhile, there are even antiviral effects, where berberine once again outperformed pharmaceutical drugs.
But there’s a catch… bioavailability
Like curcumin, the issue with berberine is that it has awful bioavailability.[66-68] To get it efficaciously dosed would require large doses that won’t fit into a multi-ingredient supplement like this one, and large doses can lead to GI distress.
Thanks to NNB Nutrition, we can do far better, with GlucoVantage.
GlucoVantage Dihydroberberine: 5x more effective than berberine!
NNB Nutrition has pioneered a better berberine, once again based upon a metabolite. It turns out that what little berberine is absorbed by the gut gets turned into its metabolite dihydroberberine first, and then turns back into berberine in the intestine!
The solution is simple: simply take dihydroberberine in the first place — and research has shown that dihydroberberine has far greater bioavailability and longer lasting effects – all at a lower dosage required![70,71]
NNB Nutrition named this ingredient GlucoVantage, and it’s a pure dihydroberberine ingredient that’s created from berberis aristata. It brings the potent metabolic benefits of berberine but without the need for high dosages and GI distress.
By adding GlucoVantage to our formula, women can get back to burning fat as opposed to sugar, and that brings numerous health benefits that will span all across the body.
You can read more in our articles titled Berberine: The Best Glucose Disposal Ingredient Just Got Better and GlucoVantage: Dihydroberberine for Superior Insulin Sensitivity. We’ve included it because anyone can benefit from it, and it’s generally only found in dietary supplements, which leaves too many people out.
CaloriBurn GP (Grains of Paradise extract) – 40mg
Our second metabolic-enhancing ingredient, Grains of Paradise extract brings a unique boost of energy expenditure in a small serving size. Also known as Aframomum melegueta, this member of the ginger family is often used as a delicious spice that serves as a great black pepper alternative, but we like it even more for its metabolic properties.
Inside of grains of paradise, scientists have found four main bioactive compounds that bring its biological prowess: 6-paradol, 6-gingerol, 6-shogaol, and 6-gingerdione. These compounds can stimulate PPAR (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors), helping to “beige” white fat cells (energy consumers) towards metabolically-active, mitochondrial-dense brown fat cells (which are energy producers). Further, grains of paradise then targets the fat and increases energy expenditure.
Grains of paradise (GP) has been shown to increase nerve activity, boosting core temperature, which could be helpful for women who get cold too easily. It kickstarts the metabolism by forcing the body to work in order to keep the temperature regular.
Brown fat activation: a metabolic boost in humans
In a 2014 study, researchers recruited 19 healthy volunteers, giving one group 30 milligrams of GP extract per day, while another received placebo. After 30 days, the GP group demonstrated significantly increased energy expenditure and decreased visceral fat. The scientists concluded that grains of paradise led to 100 more calories spent per day.
Further research has shown virtually no side effects tied to grains of paradise supplementation.
Little-known mood boosting effects
While we mostly espouse grains of paradise for its metabolic properties, researchers from a 2018 cited an animal study that made “Aframomum melegueta seeds a promising candidate for a menopausal product.“ In that study, there was a unique antidepressant-like activity in vivo from the extract. While the researchers didn’t know the direct mechanism, they suspected it to be serotonergic in effect, which is perfect for PMS, menopause, and good mood in general.
CaloriBurn – a standardized, trusted GP extract
Most grains of paradise extracts focus only on the 12.5% 6-paradol concentration, but NNB Nutrition has found that it’s best to keep all bioactive constituents intact. This led them to produce CaloriBurn GP, an industry-leading grains of paradise extract that has 12.5% 6-paradol but also the other three constituents for a full spectrum of metabolic potency, and lab tests to back it up. Other generic grains of paradise extracts tested have not demonstrated peaks at all four levels, making CaloriBurn GP the top shelf grains of paradise ingredient.
At a 40 milligram dosage, we get the clinically-backed effects from two studies (one which used 30 milligrams, the other used 40), and have plenty of room for our other metabolic and hormonal ingredients.
Read more in our articles titled “Grains of Paradise: Fat Fighting Spice of the Goddesses” and “CaloriBurn: NNB Takes Grains of Paradise to Hot New Heights!“.
AstraGin – 25mg
To further boost the absorption and bioavailability of all ingredients, we’ve chosen to include AstraGin, NuLiv Science’s patented blend of panax notoginseng and astragalus membranaceus.
AstraGin works by boosting gut permeability and upregulating key transport enzymes, helping to get more active ingredients through the digestive tract and into the bloodstream.
Specific to this formula, there’s evidence supporting improved folate and curcumin uptake, which may help with CurcuPrime’s already-improved bioavailability.
MitoPrime (L-Ergothioneine) – 10mg
The most fascinating ingredient of the entire formula, we have NNB Nutrition’s MitoPrime L-Ergothioneine. Aside from GlucoVantage, if there were one ingredient we would want every single person to take, it would be this oft-neglected vitamin-like antioxidant.
We originally introduced MitoPrime in our previous Formulator’s Corner segment, where we developed a Health-Enhanced Coffee that utilized the ingredient. There, we chose to use L-ergothionine (which is found in mushrooms and organ meats[79-82]) instead of mushrooms themselves, saving on taste, texture, and dosage. The same benefits will apply here.
In general, we’re including this for immunity, anti-aging, and antioxidant effects, knowing that it’s unlikely you’re getting enough in your diet and nearly no other supplements use it because it is stable L-ergothioneine is so hard to produce and NNB’s MitoPrime is the first of its kind on the market.
An antioxidant that outperforms the others
Research has shown that ergothioneine outperforms the three most popular antioxidants sold in similar supplements — vitamin C, glutathione, and coenzyme Q10.[82-84] In fact, it’s anywhere from 3-30x more effective than them in terms of scavenging free radicals!
Immune system support and anti-aging benefits
Piggybacking on the above effects, researchers have found that ergothioneine boosts the immune system response by speeding up immune response time. It can decrease inflammation, mitigate disease-induced lung damage, protect against acute respiratory distress syndrome, and much more — which is why it’s suggested as a weapon to fight novel cold viruses and respiratory diseases.
Ergothioneine targets various forms of oxidative stress, preventing damage from hydrogen peroxide[87-89] and singlet oxygen. It can protect the body from bromine- and chlorine-induced trauma,[82,90] reduce inflammation-based stress,[82,91-93] and curtail nitrogen-driven stress.[94,95] Through these mechanisms, ergothioneine protects the DNA, making it an incredible anti-aging compound.
We can’t produce it, but we have specific transporters for it!
Even more interesting, although humans cannot synthesize the compound ourselves,[96-99] our bodies contain a unique and specific transporter inamed OCTN1 just for this ergothioneine![87,100,101] The body even bioaccumulates it, pooling it and saving it for when it’s needed to fight an oncoming free radical attack.
Considered a “longevity vitamin” by many
Because of the benefits above and more, many researchers consider ergothioneine to be a “candidate vitamin”.[103,104] They believe that this should have true vitamin status, since it’s so useful and effective but can’t be made by the body — and it’s found in foods we no longer eat much of anymore. The esteemed Dr. Ames even calls it a “longevity vitamin”,[105,106] a name we do not disagree with.
There’s far more to the history of this ingredient (it has been around far longer than most living organisms, and likely enabled their survival through time) that’s covered in our main L-ergothioneine article, but the point is that this incredible multi-faceted ingredient should not be underestimated.
MitoPrime by NNB Nutrition
As mentioned in the intro, this ingredient is incredibly difficult to create and stabilize, but the “Ingredientology” experts at NNB Nutrition have figured it out, creating MitoPrime. The dosage can be anywhere from 5-10 milligrams 2-3 times per day, for a daily dosage range of 10-30 milligrams.
We’re all for higher doses (especially since the ingredient can be bioaccumulated and thus “loaded”), but 10 milligrams per day should move the needle yet keep the price reasonable.
Note that while there currently haven’t been specific studies on ergothioneine and specific issues like menopause and PMS, one investigation did conclude that higher dietary antioxidant intake is associated with lower menopausal symptoms, with fewer hot flashes, less sweating sleep problems, and reduced anxiety, exhaustion, and brain fog. We firmly believe that MitoPrime can greatly contribute to overall antioxidant capacity, assisting with these issues.
We’ll continue to discuss MitoPrime and ergothioneine over time. For now, we’d love to see it in a women’s formula (any formula, really) because we know it’s so helpful but not in enough women’s diets.
Read more in our article titled “Ergothioneine: The Immunity and Energy Protector“.
Iodine (as Potassium Iodide) – 300mcg (200% DV)
Our next two inclusions are a mineral and a vitamin that get overlooked far too often, but can have massive benefits in small doses.
First is iodine, which is critical for thyroid hormone production as well as cognition and fetal development. The thyroid gland is critical for an efficient metabolism, but inadequate iodine intake is one of the main causes of thyroid dysfunction.
We often see iodine in seaweed and used to get much of it in iodized salt and some breads. However, scientists are beginning to see a re-emergence of iodine deficiency. We suspect that this is due to the use of processed foods and gourmet sea salts that are iodine-free, as well as a switch from iodine to bromine in bread as well as fluoride added to tap water, both of which compete with iodine.
Altogether, we believe that this resurgence of iodine deficiency has led to low-level hypothyroidism in our society, leading to weight gain (or trouble losing weight), fatigue, mood swings, and lethargy.
However, we’ve noticed that giving an iodine-deficient individual a small bolus of extra iodine feels like rocket fuel to them, and paired with the RhodioPrime 6X inside, this formula may provide some real stimulant-free energy.
Folate (as L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate) – 1.7 mg yielding 1 mg folate (425% DV)
Sometimes known as Vitamin B9, folate is an essential vitamin that is critical for fetal development that has been shown to improve mood.[113,114] It’s often supplemented as folic acid, but when taking it in this form, multiple biologically-expensive steps are required in order to get it into its active form of 5-MTHF, or 5′-methyltetrahydrofolate.[115,116]
To make matters worse, many humans have a genetic predisposition that impairs their ability to generate the active form of folate (due to a downregulated methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase enzyme – thanks primarily to mutations in the MTHFR gene),[117-119] leading to deficiencies, even if supplementing “adequate” amounts of folic acid.
The solution is to simply include the active form ourselves, as L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate (also known as L-5-methyl-THF), which demonstrates remarkably higher bioavailability.[120,121]
This is an ingredient that should be in your multivitamin, but we simply don’t see it often enough. As with iodine, we’re confident that adding more will do nothing but great things for your health – especially since too many women seem to be deficient.
All that in two capsules? Thanks to NNB and Ingredientology
The goal here is to create the ultimate women’s supplement in two capsules. This is only possible with ingredients like RhodioPrime 6X, GlucoVantage, CaloriBurn GP, MitoPrime, and CurcuPrime from NNB Nutrition, which bring potent benefits in small amounts of space. Combining them with our “standard” women’s ingredients of DIM and Chaste Tree Extract makes this a formula that we’d love to see developed.
Non-stimulatory but experiential
Further, the combination of RhodioPrime 6X, CurcuPrime, iodine, and active folate also lead us to believe that this will be an experiential supplement – even if it’s stimulant-free! If it were developed and taken, we wouldn’t be surprised if its users noticed that they needed less caffeine throughout their days.
Add a multivitamin, magnesium, and fish oil
We understand that there are limits to the number of capsules anyone wants to take. After adding in a multivitamin, minerals (we’re major proponents of high quality magnesium supplementation), and fish oil, most women should be set for the day.
Note that vitamin E (at least 200 IU or 90 milligrams) should be somewhere included in the stack, such as in the multivitamin, as it showed efficacy against post-menopausal hot flashes in the curcumin study. Vitamin E wasn’t as effective as curcumin for hot flashes, but it could still add additional help.
What about gut health? Consider NewBiome next
One additional inclusion that could be considered is gut health. While AstraGin improves gut permeability, we didn’t add additional gut health ingredients because it is highly individual, and not everybody wants or needs massive amounts of probiotics or fatty acids. However, if we venture into that space, we’ll be looking at ingredients like NewBiome, a new form of tributyrin that could combine with additional gut health promoting nutrients.
The unsung hero of this supplement, however, is MitoPrime, whose evolutionary history is so fascinating that we’re wondering how more people aren’t talking about it in the anti-aging, immunity, and beauty spaces. As the saying goes, “sell them what they want, but give them what they need” — and we believe everyone should try this candidate vitamin that has long been neglected by Western diets.
It’s all possible with NNB Nutrition, who have taken novel ingredient development to the next level with Ingredientology. As always, all feedback is welcome in the comments below or on PricePlow’s social media outlets.
You can see the rest of our homemade formulas on our Formulator’s Corner page.