A woman’s nutritional needs are different than those of a man (1) and those needs change over time. In order to ensure they are getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals many doctors advise women to take a multivitamin; one specially formulated to adhere to their unique nutritional needs. With so many on the market though it can be difficult to find one you can rely on. But don’t worry. We’ve done the homework for you. Below are the 10 best multivitamins for women in 2018.
1. Opti-Women Women’s Daily Multivitamin
Opti Nutrition has not been around as long or received as much press as, say, Centrum. But in their relatively short existence they’ve made a name for themselves by providing high quality, high potency supplements like their Opti-Women Women’s Daily Multivitamin. Every tablet contains nearly 2 dozen essential vitamins and minerals including the calcium, iron and folic acid women need to help ward off anemia and osteoporosis.
2. MegaFood Women’s One Daily
MegaFood gleans the vitamins and minerals they put into their Women’s One Daily through natural processes instead of synthesizing them in a lab through artificial means. In this way they produce an organically sound supplement that is easy for the human body to absorb and is therefore generally more effective. MegaFood Women’s One Daily provides a robust and effective combination of all the major vitamins along with calcium, iron, folic acid, magnesium and more.
3. Nature Made Multi for Her Softgels
With more calcium and iron than you’ll find in standard multis Nature Made Multi for Her Softgels are formulated with women in mind. As with all Nature Made supplements the Multi for Her contains no artificial color, flavors, preservatives, yeast, gluten or starch. What the Multi for Her does contain are 23 essential nutrients specifically formulated to fill typical dietary gaps and help women ward of osteoporosis, low iron and more.
4. Centrum Women Multivitamin/Multimineral
Centrum have ruled the vitamin roost for a long time and for good reason. They produce high quality supplements that deliver on their promises year in year out. Their multivitamin, multimineral supplement for women is designed to help strengthen a woman’s immune system, increase her metabolism and provide her with the energy she needs to make it through her busy day. 100% GMO free and loaded with calcium, iron and folic acid.
5. One A Day Women’s Multivitamin
One A Day is a big name vitamin that was late arriving to the women’s multivitamin party. Thankfully, they’ve seen the light and made up for lost time with their Women’s Multivitamin. This impressive multi is formulated to cover all the essential B-vitamins, provide skin support with copper and vitamins A, C and E and provide a healthy dose of calcium, folic acid and iron. One A Day Women’s Multivitamin is also 100% free of artificial flavors and colors and contains no gluten or wheat.
6. Infinite Labs Women’s Multi
Infinite Labs Women’s Multi is rich in folic acid, iron and calcium along with nearly 2 dozen other essential vitamins and minerals. The goal of this multi is to fill those gaps most likely to exist in a woman’s diet so that she can maintain her energy levels and vigor throughout the day. Infinite labs also look beyond the usual supplemental suspects and include ginseng, green tea, alpha lipoic acid (2) and gingko biloba to produce one of the most well rounded women’s multis on the market today.
7. GNC Womens Ultra Mega
You knew GNC had to be on this list somewhere. Their Women’s Ultra Mega provides 20 vitamins and minerals as well as biotin, collagen, silica and more for healthy skin, hair and nails. There are plenty of B-vitamins, calcium, iron and folic acid as well and green tea extract too. This is not your everyday women’s multi. This is one that goes the extra mile to provide you the essential nutrients you need for total health, not just healthy bones.
8. Twinlab Daily One Multivitamin Without Iron
In some cases women are advised not to take supplemental iron if their system is not capable of processing excess amounts of it. In cases like those you’ll need a woman’s multi that eschews iron but still provides the other essential nutrients needed to maintain healthy bones, vibrant skin, healthy eyes and more. Twinlab have done their homework and produced a Women’s multi that does all of those things but is free of the iron that can prove problematic to some.
9. New Chapter Every Woman’s One Daily
New Chapter Every Woman’s One Daily is tailored to the specific nutritional needs of women over 40. There’s Vitamin A and Zinc to support the immune system, B-vitamins for energy, D3 and calcium for healthy bones as well as ginger, turmeric and more. Every Woman’s One Daily is certified kosher, free of synthetic fillers, artificial colors and flavors and contains no gluten or animal gelatin. It’s also 100% free of GMOs and safe for vegetarians.
10. NOW Eve Women’s Multivitamin
NOW Eve Women’s Multivitamin comes in an easy-to-absorb softgel that provides copious amounts of all the essential vitamins and minerals a woman needs. NOW has worked overtime to come up with a formulation that has well rounded nutritional value without having to reach out to the world of GMOs. There’s evening primrose, green tea and cranberry along with folic acid, calcium, iron and more, all delivered free of gluten, wheat, milk, eggs or fish products.
Why Should Women Take Multivitamins?
While multivitamins may or may not help a woman live longer they can very much help her live better.(3) There are a range of common afflictions that the right multivitamin can help stave off including the much mentioned osteoporosis as well as anemia. In addition, a folic acid deficiency during the earliest stages of pregnancy can increase the risk of a baby being born with neural tube defects. Also, it has been shown that a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to problems with cognitive function and nerve damage among other things (4). Menopausal women often need supplemental vitamin D and calcium to help them maintain bone strength and prenatal women are often advised to take a multivitamin with iron and essential minerals to ensure both their health and the health of their developing baby.
What are the Most Important Vitamins and Minerals for Women?
As mentioned at the beginning of this review women’s nutritional needs vary from those of men and those needs also change as women age. Here are the most important vitamins and minerals for women.
- Iron – There’s no way around it. Iron is essential for the creation of hemoglobin (5), the maintenance of healthy red blood cells and proper immune function. Women need to be particularly mindful of the risk of anemia and any women’s multivitamin worthy of the name should include iron.
- Calcium – Women are at a significantly increased risk of developing osteoporosis in their post-menopausal years. One of the best ways to stave it off is to make sure you take enough calcium when you are younger. Since trying to play ‘catch up’ later in life is likely to yield unsatisfactory results.
- Vitamin A – Women need more vitamin A than men. On average about 2300 iu per day. Vitamin A deficiency is no laughing matter and can lead to an increased risk of macular degeneration and certain forms of cancer. While many foods are rich in vitamin A many women still find themselves deficient.
- Magnesium – Magnesium is one of the most important minerals (6). It facilitates some 300 different physiological processes including those related to bone density, immune system health and blood pressure. Migraines are another risk for those not getting enough magnesium.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps facilitate the absorption of iron. So for women vitamin C plays an important central role in overall health. Vitamin C is also important in the production of collagen. Because the body does not produce vitamin C women must get it by other means, including supplements.
- Vitamin D – Like Vitamin C vitamin D plays a role in the absorption of an essential mineral. In this case the mineral is calcium and it’s essential to the health of the skeletal system. Vitamin D also supports nervous system health and is suspected of helping stave off diabetes.
- Vitamin B7 – Also known as biotin vitamin B7 is used by the body in the production of blood glucose. Since our bodies are primarily fueled by glucose being unable to produce enough due to a B7 deficiency can lead to a cascade of problems. Women are particularly susceptible to these problems which may include hair loss, brittle fingernails and even depression (7).
Do I Need to Take Extra Vitamins During Pregnancy?
Almost all doctors agree that pregnant women would be wise to take supplemental vitamins. Pregnant women typically need elevated levels of iodine, calcium, iron and folic acid. Folic acid, as mentioned above, plays an important role in preventing neural tube defects, a terrible condition afflicting the spine, spinal column and brain. This is not fear mongering. There is ample scientific evidence (8) to back it up.
How do I Pick a Good Multivitamin for Women?
There are so many multivitamins for women on the market today it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. After all, there is no objective way of telling whether a vitamin supplement is any good or just a glorified placebo simply by looking at it. But that said there are still ways you can distinguish between the likely frauds and the supplements that will do some actual good. Those include:
- Brand recognition – Because of the nature of supplements the reputation of a particular brand can go a long way toward helping you determine viability. High quality vitamins and minerals that have been proven effective over many years are a much safer bet than the new product that shows up on the shelf extolling the virtues of its discount price. If you are dealing with an unknown vitamin do your research before you buy, making sure to read what both the professionals and the community members at large have to say.
- The ingredients list – All supplements are required by law to list what they contain. Look for both the major vitamins and minerals (Vitamins A, C and B as well as calcium and iron) as well as the percentage of the daily recommended amount that the supplement provides for each. Although scientists dismiss the dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) some people are still reluctant to take a chance. If you want to avoid GMOs make sure the label states clearly that the vitamin is GMO free.
- Applicability – Make sure the multivitamin is applicable to your particular needs. Is excess iron a problem for you? If so you’ll want a multi without iron. Are you suffering a calcium deficiency? Make sure your multi provides plenty of calcium as well as vitamin D to help facilitate its absorption.
The Bottom Line
That women have different nutritional needs than men is established science. Therefore while a standard multivitamin may fulfill some of a woman’s fundamental nutritional needs it is unlikely to address all her needs effectively. For that you need a high quality women’s multivitamin like one of the 10 profiled above. Remember, even if you are convinced you eat a well-balanced diet you may very well be one of the millions of women suffering from a vitamin deficiency (9). Talk to your doctor to determine if you might benefit from taking a women’s multivitamin.