The women’s health supplement market is having a major moment. After decades of being under-served and under-researched, the category is booming. “Women have traditionally been the largest purchasing demographic, but it has only been in more recent years that the market has offered a broader selection of women-centric products,” says Nena Dockery, Scientific Affairs Manager, Stratum Nutrition. “Much of this growth can be attributed to more women starting their own woman-focused companies or rising to positions of authority in existing companies, where they can influence the formulation of more products targeting women’s specific needs.” 

Smaller women-owned startups and established brands alike have worked to expand offerings that provide targeted solutions to specific problems women face throughout their lifetimes, says Jess Mulligan, Co-Founder, Winged Women’s Wellness. “This is a new frontier in providing tailored and unique solutions for women’s health with a large focus on hormonal health. When Winged Wellness launched in 2019, the majority of products for women on the market were vaginal health products for things like UTIs, multis, and prenatal vitamins. It seems the childbearing years were the only thing being catered to and addressed. I’m so excited to see this shift.” 

The category has also benefited from increased research. “Researchers are looking to better, more fully understand the differences between men’s and women’s health issues,” asserts Leslie Gallo, President, Artemis International. “While both sexes may share similar wellness concerns about heart health, cognitive decline, nutrient gaps, and lack of energy, we are fundamentally different, genetically, and metabolically. Solutions need to be developed that account for those differences. For instance, women are more susceptible to osteoporosis, which makes supplements angled toward bone health important. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in women, so an enormous opportunity exists for heart health products supported by cardiovascular science. Women have a greater propensity for certain vision difficulties than men do, and products formulated to meet their vision needs is another opportunity for supplement manufacturers.” 

There’s far to go to bridge the long-standing gap, but Rena Cohen-First, VP of Sales, Cepham, says technology is speeding advancements. Cepham is leveraging AI and bringing 2,000-year-old Ayurvedic solutions to address and deliver for modern health concerns, she notes. "Our goal is to change the research landscape, with numerous branded ingredients for women on the horizon,” says Cohen. “For example, we wanted to find a solution to address the nuanced spectrum of women's health concerns including hormone balance, mood support, and focus. Through our rapid in-house research and comprehensive data analysis, we identified the specific bioactive molecules responsible for the adaptogenic effects of Shatavari and introduced a hero adaptogen tailored for women's self-care throughout life: SheVari4.” 

Quality and efficacy are key. Certified Clinical Nutritionist Carl Germano, CNS, CDN, Vice President of Verdant Nature and Consultant for Bluebonnet Nutrition, notes, “There's a growing emphasis on transparency in ingredient lists and using science-backed evidence to support the claims made for specific supplements." 

Helping customers manage symptoms of hormone fluctuations is an opportunity. “According to Nutrition Business Journal, menopause supplements are a growth driver in the industry at 4.7% growth in 2023 versus 2.6% for the industry. Growth is projected to reach 5.6% in 2025 versus flat growth for the industry overall,” says Barbara Apps, Personal Care Health Product Manager, Boiron USA. “Part of this growth can be attributed to a new generation of women, the Gen X-ers and older Millennials. These women entering menopause have an openness, more so than previous generations, to talk about the impact of this life stage, which can last up to 10 years and span more than 35 different symptoms.”


7 Top Female Health Concerns 

Premenstrual Syndrome 

Mood swings, headaches, and cramps are common, but herbs can help, says David Winston RH(AHG), Founder and President, Herbalist & Alchemist. Chaste tree berry is frequently used in Europe to relieve PMS, menstrual irregularities, cyclic mastalgia and ovarian issues. Herbalist & Alchemist’s Women’s Formula combines chaste berry with processed Rehmannia and Dong Quai to build blood, Raspberry Leaf to tonify the uterus, Ginger to support digestion and circulation, and Motherwort to relieve minor menstrual pain and anxiety. 

Winged Women’s Wellness also offers a product called Teen Queen with chaste berry extract to help balance hormones. 

PMS symptoms vary, and it can be more effective to treat specific complaints at different points in the hormone cycle, Apps says. “Boiron offers single-ingredient medicines that provide highly targeted relief for specific symptoms, so each person can customize their care. There are dozens of single ‘blue tube’ medicines from which to choose. Some examples include Sepia 30C to relieve bloating and lower back pain during menstruation; Sabina 30C to address heavy menstrual flow with pain in the upper thigh; Folliculinum 30C to relieve discomfort and aches associated with PMS.” Boiron also offers Cyclease PMS and Cyclease Cramps for broad support. 

Fertility/Prenatal Care 

Those thinking about conceiving should take a quality prenatal vitamin, says Germano. He also points to choline, synbiotics, and DHA as nutrients that are critical to optimal health during this stage. “Crucial for fetal brain development, choline has gained recognition beyond its traditional role in folic acid supplements,” he says. “Look for prenatal formulations including choline as found in Bluebonnet’s Ladies One Prenatal Whole Food Based Multi.” The brand also offers a variety of daily Probiotic & Prebiotic formulas, which may offer additional benefits for gut health and immune support during pregnancy. 

DHA is linked to fetal brain development, but Dockery says there’s concern about sustainability and purity of traditional fish oil. Ahiflower is an alternative. “Though recent research indicates Ahiflower supplementation can yield tissue levels of DHA comparable to direct DHA supplementation, products such as Ahiflower 80DHA or 150DHA that combine Ahiflower oil with Algarithm algal DHA provide an extra dose of DHA.” 

Bluebonnet also offers Early Promise Prenatal Gentle DHA and Omega 3 Vegetarian DHA products, which feature sustainable marine-sourced DHA. 

Peri- and Menopause 

“Hormone replacement therapy has been rejected by many women due to long- and short-term side effects and health concerns thus driving many to supplements and other natural options,” says Apps. She points to Boiron Cyclease Menopause as an OTC homeopathic with published clinical data showing it reduces the intensity of frequency of hot flashes and night sweats as well as mood changes, irritability, and occasional sleeplessness when taken as directed. 

On the herbal side: “Ingredients that offer adaptogenic benefits to better cope with stress and promote overall well-being are important during this stage for vitality and balance,” says Komal Baldwa, Founder and CEO, Waleria Healthtech. “Shatavari is an herb native to the Indian subcontinent and has been used in traditional medicine for several women’s health benefits, including supporting hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia, and other menopausal symptoms.” Waleria offers Aspurūs, a branded extract of shatavari. 

Another herbal option: Nu Femme, a proprietary blend of Labisia pumila and Eurycoma longifolia standardized extracts, says Annie Eng, CEO, HP Ingredients. In a study of 199 peri- and menopausal women, NuFemme reduced hot flashes after 12 weeks and led to significant improvements in menopause rating scale and menopause quality of life scores compared to placebo. 

Sexual Health 

There is holistic support for declining libido, vaginal dryness and other sexual health concerns. Herbal Pharmacist Dave Foreman, RPh, N.D., suggests Libifem, a fenugreek extract that supports healthy hormone levels. "It has been shown to increase sexual arousal, desire, frequency, and satisfaction in healthy women.” 

Bluebonnet offers Intimate Essentials, including Intimate Essentials For Her Sexual Response & Libido Boost formula with ingredients that may enhance libido, improve sexual function, and ease stress. “Declining DHEA levels are associated with decreased sexual function in women. DHEA supplements, though controversial, might offer relief for some,” says Germano, noting Bluebonnet offers the Intimate Essentials DHEA product in two strengths. “Plus, L-arginine supports blood flow and nitric oxide production, potentially improving arousal and sexual response. In addition to L-Arginine amino acid vegetable capsules, Bluebonnet also offers Intimate Essentials Nitro Sexual Arousal Support.” 

Mood, Energy & Stress 

“According to the American Psychological Association’s 2023 Stress in America survey, women are more likely to internalize stress than men,” says Rajat Shah, CoFounder, Nutriventia. Adaptogens like ashwagandha defend against the effects of stress. Shah points to Nutriventia’s branded extract Prolanza. KSM-66 also offers a research-backed ashwagandha. And Sabinsa offers Shagandha branded ashwagandha. The herb also can be found Bluebonnet Targeted Choice Stress Support and Winged Women Wellness Calm & Collected Stress Support Gummies. 

Another stress-soothing adaptogen that’s trending on social media: Tongkat ali. Available as the branded extract LJ100 from HP Ingredients, tongkat ali has potential for restoring hormone balance 

(cortisol/testosterone) and improving psychological mood state in humans exposed to various modern stressors, including aging, dieting, and exercise stress, notes Eng. In one study, 32 women were randomized to receive 200 mg/day of LJ100 or placebo for 4 weeks. The LJ100 group showed significant improvements for tension (−11%), anger (−12%), and confusion (−15%) compared to placebo. What’s more, tongkat ali has been shown to help maintain muscle mass and improve strength gains, adds Eng. “LJ100 supplement enhances hand grip strength and muscle size gain in middle-aged women during strength training program.” 

Also: “Magnesium is important because many women are deficient in it, due to age/genetics/lifestyle, but also because some medications, like birth control, can sap the body of it,” says Ryan Sensenbrenner, Senior Director of Marketing, Enzymedica. The brand offers Magnesium Mind and Magnesium Motion with form of magnesium called ATA Mg that he says is superior for absorption in the body and utilization in the brain. 

Sleep is another issue. Shah says some estimates place lifetime risk of insomnia as 40% higher in women. “Melotime, our extended-release melatonin, has a unique release profile that not only helps promote desirable sleep onset, it helps sleep to remain steady for eight hours, the commonly recommended healthy sleep duration. Melotime is shown to release the first 50% of the dose, followed by the remainder of the melatonin released at each one hour thereafter.” 

Heart Health 

“Research is highlighting the unique risk factors and presentation of heart disease in women, leading to improved diagnostic tools and preventive strategies,” says Germano. Bluebonnet offers options including CholesteRice, Homocysteine, and Omega 3 Heart formulas, as well as Ubiquinol, Magnesium, and Targeted Choice Blood Pressure Support. 

Another helper: “Aronia berry is one of the most clinically studied berries for circulatory and heart health," says Gallo. "Our AroniaCraft extract has been a popular choice for supplements that provide heart health support.” 

Bone & Joint Support 

“Post-menopausal women experience more joint pain and stiffness than their premenopausal counterparts, due in part to diminished estrogen levels,” says Dockery. NEM, a branded eggshell membrane ingredient, can help prevent cartilage breakdown, reduce pain and improve joint mobility, she adds. Stratum conducted a clinical trial exclusively in healthy postmenopausal women, which showed that NEM significantly reduced discomfort and exercise-induced joint pain and stiffness. NEM also decreased levels of C-terminal cross-linked telopeptides of type II collagen (CTX-II), a biomarker of cartilage degradation known to be elevated in this demo. 

Curcumin is another staple. A clinical study using Gencor’s curcumin extract HydroCurc found that 500mg of HydroCurc taken once daily showed fast-acting joint pain relief within five days and was well tolerated, Foreman reports. For additional support, he suggests Genor’s patented form of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), sold as Levagen. “One study on osteoarthritis had 111 subjects who received either 300mg Levagen, 600mg Levagen, or a placebo. The results showed dose-dependent improvements across all WOMAC sub-domains: Joint pain, stiffness, and function while improving quality of life and reducing anxiety.” 

Collagen is another joint health supporter. “Collagen peptides and silica are gaining attention for their potential role in managing arthritis symptoms and maintaining bone density,” says Germano. Bluebonnet offers their Hair/Skin/Nails formula as well as Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides in powder or caplet formats. 

Also: Calcium is advised to reduce osteoporosis risk, but it’s important to also include vitamin K2 to ensure calcium is directed to the bones and not deposited in the arteries, Germano says. Bluebonnet offers Vitamin D & K2 in both vegetable capsules or chewable formats as well as a standalone K2. 


3 Keys to Retail Sales Success


“Train personnel to understand basic nutritional needs of women across different life stages and be able to recommend suitable supplements based on age, health concerns, and individual preferences," says Germano. "Offering in-store consultations with registered dietitians or herbalists could further bolster this expertise.” Hosting educational events on topics like pregnancy nutrition or menopause wellness can increase your authority while creating a welcome space for women to learn about their changing needs and discover supplements. 


“One sea change in the women’s category is wellness first, especially among Millennials and Gen Z,” says Shah. “Unlike their older counterparts who tend to wait until they get older to start supplementing for bone and heart health, younger women are all about whole-body-and-mind well-being.” 

No matter what life stage your customer is in, she doesn’t want what her mother used, adds Eng. "Take social media, for example. Gen X women tend to like Facebook, while younger generations gravitate toward Instagram and Snapchat. These younger women, who are focused on healthy menstrual cycles and beauty, also like to watch tutorial videos and seek to attach to influencers.” 


“Retailers have a tremendous opportunity to showcase their values in the choices of brands and products that they choose to offer and promote,” says Sensenbrenner. “Last year, we launched an endcap program where health food stores could raise awareness and collect supplies for their local women’s shelters. It was a massive hit, with retailers across the nation participating. This is really about connecting not only the nutritional needs, but also the social, emotional, and physical needs of women with our retailers. By taking on initiatives that go beyond just selling a product, in turn, they communicate to their audience that ‘I am a natural products retailer. I stand with you not only in health, but as a member of your community.’ It is a powerful message!”