Women and men have distinct physiological and hormonal differences, and for women, the nutritional requirements to meet the physiological changes that occur throughout the life span are unique and varied.  Because nutritional status has a significant impact on the risk of developing chronic diseases, in order to make strides toward achieving precision nutrition it is imperative to appreciate sex- and gender-based differences so as to make informed recommendations for women.  To further our understanding of women’s health, a recent conference was held to explore the various nutritional and lifestyle impacts on health throughout the life span.  A critical review based on those presentations was published in the July 2022 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

The critical review was prepared by presenters at the Women’s Health and Nutrition symposium conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition in October 2021.  Information about the nutrient demands throughout the life cycle contained in the presentations and brought up during the discussions was used to prepare this review.  Topics covered included: current intakes and biomarkers of nutritional status; nutrients of concern; metabolism and weight; impact of activity; sleep health; estrogen; eye and brain health; and sex differences in clinical trials.

The authors summarized the information discussed by reiterating that women experience shortfalls in overall nutrition and critical micronutrients during their lives, and these change as they age.  These deficiencies impact multiple chronic diseases, as well as sleep, mental health, and thus overall quality of life.  The authors recommend use of hybrid clinical trials including women and men to permit direct comparisons of sex differences on nutritional needs throughout life, and to permit progress towards precision nutrition.


Regan L Bailey, Tieraona Low Dog, Abbie E Smith-Ryan, Sai Krupa Das, Fiona C Baker, Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, Billy R Hammond, Howard D Sesso, Alex Eapen, Susan H Mitmesser, Andrea Wong, Haiuyen Nguyen, Sex Differences Across the Life Course: A Focus On Unique Nutritional and Health Considerations among Women, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 152, Issue 7, July 2022, Pages 1597–1610, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxac059.

Images via canva.com.