The Best Multivitamin for Women Based on Their Own Unique Needs

Photo of multivitamin tablets on an orange

The Best Multivitamin for Women Based on Their Own Unique Needs

It can be challenging to determine the best multivitamin for women and whether taking vitamins or other supplements can boost the immune system and fill nutritional gaps effectively. According to Grand View Research, the multivitamin and supplement industry value was estimated at $50 billion for 2023 in the United States and is projected to grow just above 5% annually. Though there are a lot of great products available, there are also many placebos and misleading information savvy consumers have to weed through. 

Please know that nutrition is highly personal and complex. As we talked about in our article about anti-inflammatory diets, what works for one person will likely have different results for others. Consulting your healthcare provider is the best way to create a customized plan tailored to your nutritional needs. However, a working understanding of vital nutritional concepts is beneficial so you can ask better questions and feel confident making a prudent decision.

Below, we have listed the best multivitamins for women based on their unique needs at different life stages. Though supplements are not a replacement for healthy eating and exercise, they can bolster the benefits of both. Keep reading to better understand what makes a supplement the best choice. 

The Best Multivitamin for Women in 2024

Here, we share the most important factors to consider, from a brief overview of different essential vitamins and minerals, plus what to look for to get the most value for your money when shopping for supplements.

Best All-Around Multivitamin for Women’s Health

VitaFusion Women’s Multivitamin Gummy is our best all-around pick. The gummies taste great and are easy to take compared to larger capsules. If you’re looking for a supplement with a high daily value of essential nutrients that helps fill the most common nutrient gaps, these gummy multivitamins are an excellent choice. The real winners are vitamin B12 and vitamin D3 in the most ideal form with a hefty dose of 25 mcg or 125% daily value. Vitamin B6 and the other B vitamins create a complex that does wonders for digestion and energy production within the body.

After over five years of taking these women’s multivitamin gummies on and off with gaps no longer than three months, I found they consistently delivered a slight but noticeable difference in my energy levels and had fewer common colds or other minor illnesses. However, I needed to add a biotin supplement to achieve the best results for my hair and nails. Otherwise, I had a great experience with and enjoyed taking these vitamins.

Top Pick for Active Women

When you put greater demands on your body, you will burn through vitamins, electrolytes, and other essential minerals faster. Thus, you will need a supplement formulated to support and sustain your active lifestyle. For these reasons, we like the Opti-Women Multivitamin for Active Women. It has a comprehensive blend of 40 active ingredients and 23 vitamins and minerals to support every aspect of your body.

This is a newer supplement I started taking at the end of the third quarter in 2023. What I liked best is that it contains many of the most absorbable forms of vitamins and minerals and includes a few additional nutrients. I was interested in trying it compared to the VitaFusion Brand because of the extra nutrients that support eye health, like lutein and zeaxanthin. 

I have experienced a significant boost in my energy levels with no apparent drawbacks other than having to take the two large capsules. Until more information or a new appealing option becomes available, I see myself sticking with this option for a while.

Best for New Moms or Moms To Be

There can hardly be a more demanding endeavor on the human body than bringing new life into the world. Taking a pre or post-natal vitamin is a great way to ensure you and your baby are adequately nourished. 

However, it is most difficult for scientists to gather data and perform studies on pregnant women and breastfeeding women, so information can be limited. Take the extra time to consult with your healthcare provider and do ample research before changing your diet.

To help us provide the best overview, we spoke with Alexandra Capero, Registered Dietitian at Delish Knowledge and author of The Predominantly Plant-Based Pregnancy Guide. As a mom and woman passionate about helping people live their happiest, healthy lives, Alex takes a sensible approach to providing attainable nutritional recommendations.

Here is what she shared for new moms and moms-to-be: “Picking the perfect prenatal can be confusing as there are so many options on the market, and it’s hard to remember how much of each nutrient you need. That challenge can be even more complicated if you are plant-based or follow another dietary pattern where you’ll want to ensure extras of certain nutrients.

Current ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) guidelines recommend that pregnant women get at least 600 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid per day, but it is hard to get enough from your diet alone. Therefore, I recommend at least 400 mcg in a prenatal, assuming the rest will come from food. Additionally, I recommend close to the RDA for iron during this time, 27 mg, as iron deficiency is a common concern in pregnancy, regardless of diet.

Most prenatal supplements don’t include choline; if they do, it’s a fraction of the recommended amount of 450-550 mg per day during pregnancy and lactation. Even if your diet is rich in choline, with eggs being the top dietary source, it’s probably a good idea to ensure some supplementation to help boost levels. Additionally, I like to see options with 600 IU of vitamin D and 150 mcg of iodine, as iodine needs also increase during pregnancy and lactation.

Lastly, for plant-based individuals or those who consider themselves vegetarian, vegan, or predominantly plant-based, you’ll need to ensure at least 250 mcg/day of B12. B12 metabolism is more complex than other B vitamins, so if the only source of B12 is in a supplement, you’ll need several times the RDA for adequate absorption.

Most prenatal vitamins come close to this list, but few are perfect. My two favorite brands are Thorne Prenatal and Needed Prenatal, but they can be more expensive than other drugstore brands. The bottom line is that a prenatal is essential for all women, especially to ensure adequate intake of folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. It’s more important to ensure you are taking one than to stress about the perfect one.”

Alex’s insights are a valuable reminder of how diverse our lifestyle choices can be and how particular life stages impact our nutritional needs. 

Best Over 40 Women’s Multivitamin

In addition to the usual changes that come with growing into our wiser years, women’s health is also impacted by menopause. Some specific areas women need to pay closer attention to as they age include the eyes, heart, and bone health. Though osteoporosis, cataracts, and heart disease are hopefully years away, or better yet, never on the horizon, taking preventive measures rather than reactive ones is a good idea. Taking dietary supplements made specifically for women over 40 as a part of your daily routine is the best way to keep feeling your best for longer. 

Many women I have spoken with have commented on the impact vitamin D3 had on their overall mood and minimizing the effects of menopause, like hot flashes. Though vitamin D is readily available on its own and as part of multivitamin supplements, always make sure you’re getting the most absorbable form of the nutrient for your money. In this case, Cholecalciferol is the ideal form of vitamin D3 you will want to look for.

Other Popular Women Multivitamin Brands

In our research, these were some of the most commonly discussed supplements for women’s health. Many are good options but not ideal due to cost, absorption, nutrient variety, and concentration. 

Garden of Life Mykind Organics Women’s Multivitamin

MyKind Organics offers a range of women’s supplements made from organic whole-food ingredients. Their labels were unclear as to what form of specific nutrients were included. It is also missing two critical nutrients for women: Iodine and magnesium. The iron content of this supplement is also lower than you would expect. 

Nature Made Multi for Her

Probably one of the most widely recognized and easily accessible vitamin brands, Nature Made has a full line of vitamins specific to women. They tend to be affordable and have also started offering gummy options. Right away, you will notice they have 23 essential nutrients for women, including iron and calcium, which is excellent. They also have the ideal form of vitamin D3. However, the type of magnesium offered is one of the least expensive and poorly absorbed forms of the nutrient. This vitamin is a better-than-nothing supplement but offers nothing too unique or above and beyond what you could get through a healthy diet. 

Ritual Essential Multivitamin for Women 18+

This vitamin looks cool and includes omega-3 fatty acids, an uncommon benefit for a multivitamin supplement. I like that Ritual stresses transparency about the forms of their nutrients and where they come from. They prioritize quality over quantity, which is evident in their short ingredient list. Due to these quality standards, their price point is higher than most supplements. I would like to try this supplement if it had a slightly more comprehensive ingredient list for the price. I appreciate their rigorous testing and ingredient transparency.

Smartypants Women’s Formula

A few great things about the Smartypants formula are that it comes in a gummy form and includes Omega-3s. It has many B vitamins that will boost your energy levels and contain adequate amounts of other nutrients vital to women. The biggest drawback for this supplement is likely the price point and serving size. A twenty-day supply of vitamins will cost nearly three times the average, and you will take six gummies daily. 

Hum Base Control

If iron is a top concern for you, this vitamin may be an excellent choice. Like all the options here, it does a good job covering the basics, but you may need additional dietary supplements if you’re looking for something tailored to fill nutrient gaps specific to your lifestyle. However, this is another supplement brand that stresses rigorous testing and clean ingredients, which is always appreciated and falls in the affordable price range. 

New Chapter Women’s One Daily Every Women’s Multivitamin

This dietary supplement is touted as a whole-food multivitamin that is gentle on the stomach and formulated for optimal absorption. What is most interesting about this vitamin is that most of the nutrients are derived from fermented sources, which is unique compared to other supplements. This vitamin offers a great variety of nutrients. Still, it does not provide a high level of calcium, iron, or any magnesium, which are often nutrients lacking in vegan or vegetarian diets, so be aware if you follow that dietary style.

Understanding Common Supplement Terminology

If you’re prioritizing your health and considering spending valuable money on nutritional supplements, it helps to have a clear working knowledge of a few key terms to ensure results. 

Daily Value (DV) 

These percentages are somewhat ambiguous figures established by the FDA to give us all generalized guidelines and recommendations for nutrition and calorie intake. However, our specific needs can vary significantly from these recommendations based on our height, weight, age, gender, activity level, and regular eating patterns. A detailed analysis by a dietary professional is needed to determine your body’s specific needs based on your lifestyle. 

Vitamins vs. Minerals

Vitamins are substances made by plants or animals, whereas minerals exist in the soil or water and are absorbed by plants or eaten directly by animals. 

Amino Acids

Often referred to as the building blocks of protein, amino acids are organic compounds in many foods we consume regularly. Though hundreds of amino acids exist, there are only 22 that are crucial for life. Much like enzymes, which we will get to shortly, amino acids are necessary for the body to complete many processes regarding energy production, cellular repair, and more.

Active Ingredients

Simply put, active ingredients are those vitamins, minerals, or substances immediately affecting the body. Inactive ingredients are typically those substances that help sustain or support the effects of the active components.

Herbal Supplements

Though many herbal remedies and supplements have existed and been used for centuries, they often have little to no health study findings to support their efficacy or regulation. These products can loosely be considered the unknown or wild wild west of nutrition. As time goes on, hopefully, there will be new studies and a deeper understanding of the herbs that can have a sustained impact on our health. 

To help separate facts from speculation, the known benefits of different supplements have been compiled in the FDA Dietary Supplement Ingredient Directory.

Using Your Eating Habits as a Starting Point

Before you begin a supplement regime, you must analyze the foods you eat regularly and their nutritional value. Though we often focus on being deficient in certain nutrients, consuming too much of a nutrient is possible and can be equally detrimental to one’s health. 

To help hone in on the most likely areas lacking in your diet, Dr. Susan E. Brown, Ph.D. with the Womens Health Network, has compiled a list of the six vitamins women most regularly lack: iron, B vitamins, vitamin D, iodine, selenium, and magnesium. 

Having this nutritional data will lay the groundwork for identifying any additional gaps in your nutrition and which women’s multivitamins will be the best for your overall health.

Common Supplement Misconceptions

One frequent misunderstanding people have is that the higher the percentage of DV, the better the supplement is for you. This reasoning is false; a supplement can have a high percentage of a nutrient in a form that the body does not readily absorb. At this point, all that extra DV percentage is just filler.

The second most common misconception is that the more vitamins there are, the better a supplement is. Sometimes, reaching for the supplement with the highest percentages and the longest list of ingredients can be tempting. However, not all vitamins play well together. Some vitamins can even restrict or inhibit the absorption of other nutrients present at the same time. That is why it is often stressed that we maintain a mixed diet to ensure we get various nutrients at different times.

Check for Third-Party Testing & Certifications

Third-party testing for vitamins and supplements is one indicator of a higher-quality product. As we alluded to early on in this article, many slick marketing tactics can easily persuade us to think we’re buying a quality product when we may not be. 

Some brands will go so far as to say their multivitamin has been third-party tested without listing which organization conducted the tests. A few third-party certifications that may appear on supplement packaging include the following.

NSF (National Sanitation Foundation): this independent lab focuses on the purity and accuracy of product labeling. They check for signs of contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, and other harmful substances. They also verify the quality of the ingredients listed on the label. Their seal is not only highly regarded in the supplement industry but also in the sports medicine field.

USP (United States Pharmacopeia): USP is one of the largest, if not the largest, independent supplement and pharmaceutical testing companies. They take a four-pronged evaluation approach, looking at nutritional products’ identity, purity, potency, and performance. This means they verify that the label accurately represents the product, that there are no unnecessary or harmful fillers, and that there is enough active ingredient volume to deliver results.

Other third-party tests typically look at dietary preferences and restrictions, like observing a vegan diet, gluten-free, organic, or nonGMO project verified. Though these standards are vital if you have an underlying condition like celiac disease, the tests offered by these organizations do not usually include reviewing the quality and efficacy of the ingredients.

Key Takeaway When Choosing the Best Women’s Multivitamin

Do your research, consult your health care provider, and listen to your body. If you’ve taken the necessary to recognize that you will benefit from a supplement or multivitamin, you’re already taking proactive steps for your health. In the end, this is the best any of us can do.

Paying closer attention to the aspects of your life that impact your nutrition and what your body needs is crucial for selecting and changing your vitamin supplement program over time. 

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks

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