Women (myself included!) are taking an open, more mindful, and authentic approach to our wellness journey, speaking up about the challenges, including those topics that were once taboo. It's time we honor and celebrate the complex “operating system” that defines the female body. Connecting the dots between ancient wisdom and modern science brings us to the same profound understanding—mind and body are one and inseparable. Holistic wellness is the integration of modern and ancient, science and wisdom. It's about looking at the whole woman, not just isolated symptoms

As an industry, we have become accustomed to segmenting products based on specific symptoms, but in real life, it's all connected. Acknowledging the complex interplay between physical, mental, and emotional well-being allows us to deliver better solutions. Yes, there is certainly a place for specialized solutions zooming in on specific body functions, yet by zooming out and understanding the full “operating system,” we unlock the potential for more effective self-care. Self-care that is designed with the whole woman in mindnot just targeting specific organs in the woman’s body, but also nurturing the entirety of her being. By incorporating holistic wellness as an integral part of the innovation and product development processes, we end up serving our end consumers with much better solutions.

Embracing the Wisdom of the Feminine Cycle

Flow-harmonic lifestyle

There is profound wisdom in the feminine cycle, a natural rhythm that we can either choose to understand and work with or try to ignore or outsmart. As female leaders, mothers, and partners, we try to “do it all,” and in doing so, we may not be as in tune with our inner cycles as much as we are to the external world. It’s easy to overlook what our body is signaling to us. I know I certainly have. How can we not in this modern life? Our kids, our co-workers, and customers are “blinded” (and sometimes even blind us!) to these biological changes happening within us. The rise and fall of different hormones and inflammatory molecules are not synced with our tradeshow calendars or packed schedules...In reality, even simply leading an important Zoom call can look and feel very different in different phases of the cycle, but duty calls—and sometimes it feels like survival mode. 

Truly embracing both the scientific and traditional know-how holds the potential for a much more flow-harmonic life. It is through diving deep into the science that I have been able to better translate what I feel, optimize my own lifestyle choices, tailor my own nutrition, and use this knowledge to help develop more effective nutritional products to support women through their health journeys.

Understanding the mechanisms behind each phase of the cycle allows us to decode and respond to the signals. By acknowledging and adopting a “cycle-aware” approach, we can maximize the benefits of each phase and enhance comfort through the menstrual cycle or the lifelong feminine journey. This knowledge is absolutely crucial for professionals and leaders in the nutraceutical industry—studies and products designed by women for women truly raise the bar. 

Embracing the Whole Woman in Product Development

In the nutraceutical industry (much like in pharma) we tend to develop separate products for each symptom. A brain and cognition product might be separate from a sleep product. Hormonal balance is separate from a beauty-from-within product. But in reality, it is all interconnected: Brain fog is connected to sleep cycles (which during the menopausal transition might be influenced by body temperature, hot flashes, and hormonal balance). Accepting that brain fog and brain power in general change through the month (even without taking into account the profound changes during the menopausal transition) is an impactful tool in designing more accurate products to support women’s needs. Our inflammatory status, healing capabilities, detoxification systems, and even our microbiome change throughout the month. Naturally, this also affects how we interact with and absorb nutrients, so we come full cycle.

These insights are crucial when researching and developing nutritional strategies. Translating these insights into the design of clinical trials and taking a more mindful approach to developing ingredients and products is powerful.

The wellness industry as a whole is evolving to better serve women throughout their lives and menstrual cycles, from cycle-aware yoga practices to tailored nutrition. This evolution presents a tremendous opportunity for the nutraceutical industry to change lives by broadening our research and product development paradigms.

Conclusion: Living Our Best Lives by Honoring Our Natural Rhythms

By understanding, honoring, and working with our natural rhythms rather than against them, we empower ourselves to live our best lives. As an industry, we have the opportunity to lead this conversation and implement a more nuanced approach in product development, clinical research, and even marketing. This conversation empowers women with knowledge and products that support their wellness journeys. Most important, the earlier we start this authentic conversation and empower young women (from their very first cycle), the more we can foster a generation that is mentally healthier and more attuned to their bodies.

Related: How Female Leadership Shapes Product Development, Design, and Marketing
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