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What To Look For In A Women's Multivitamin? (Science-Based)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: March 10, 2022

There are many pointless gender-specific products out there, but multivitamins indeed aren't one of them.

Even though a healthy diet is essential, our bodies can't absorb certain nutrients from food alone and need to add vitamins and minerals in the form of supplementation.

To help you out, we consulted our dietitian and came up with the essential things you need to know about what ingredients to look for in a women's multivitamin.

Quick Summary

  • Women's multivitamins are usually specially designed to help fill women’s nutrient gaps effectively.
  • Some of the essential nutrients for women are folate, calcium, iron, vitamin B12, K2, D, and E.
  • When choosing your daily multivitamin, opt for high-quality products manufactured by well-known and trusted brands.

What Vitamins Should Women Take?

different set of capsules

Choosing the right multivitamin can be incredibly challenging with so many products on the market.

To eliminate some of the guesswork, here are the essential nutrients to look for in any multivitamin for women, according to nutritionists.

Folic acid/folate (Vitamin B9)

Folic acid is responsible for producing and maintaining new blood cells in the body and proper brain function.

Getting enough folic acid is especially important for women in reproductive age and during pregnancy. There's evidence that taking folic acid supplements play a crucial role in preventing congenital disabilities [1].

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is used for the production of healthy red blood cells. What's more, it's essential for our nervous system; it promotes stress reduction and helps maintain brain health [2].

Lack of B vitamins can contribute to weakness, fatigue, digestive issues, muscle weakness, vision loss, and shortness of breath.

Vitamin B is one of the most commonly used ingredients in vitamins for women since it takes a vital role in converting food into energy and contributes to healthy skin, strong hair, and eyes [3].

Folate and vitamin B12 are critical for a healthy pregnancy as they contribute to a baby's neural development [4].

Calcium

pouring milk into a glass

Calcium has a vital role in maintaining healthy bones and strong teeth.

As females age, calcium intake becomes essential to support bone health [5]. After menopause, the female hormone estrogen drops, and bone loss speeds up.

That's why age-related bone loss ( Osteoporosis) is more common in women.

If you need calcium in a supplement form, it's recommended to take calcium citrate for better absorption.

Absorbable Iron

Iron is one of the critical nutrients for producing healthy blood cells, cognitive development, and a healthy immune system [6].

For maintaining sufficient iron levels, it's particularly important for women with a heavy menstrual cycle to consume iron-rich foods and take supplements.

When you look for multivitamins for women, consider the ones containing iron that is gentle on the body (can be taken on an empty stomach).

Vitamin D

three capsules of vitamin d

Working in an office, living in a place with limited sunny hours, and applying sunscreen (which lowers vitamin D synthesis) makes getting enough vitamin D naturally challenging [7].

Along with calcium, it is one of the essential nutrients , especially for older adults (women over 50), to maintain bone health [8].

It is also an important supplement for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Studies show that vitamin D deficiency impacts fetal bone health more than maternal health [9].

Vitamin D3 is the form that the body can use most efficiently as it can be easily converted to an active form [10].

Vitamin K2

Western scientists for a long time have ignored vitamin K2. However, recent studies show that it plays an essential role in supporting our body to absorb calcium [11]. Furthermore, it is vital for healthy blood clotting and heart health [12].

As women age, K2 vitamins may reduce the risk of fracture and maintain better bone health.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E makes the list of best vitamins for women since it plays a vital role in vision, maternal health, and child development [13].

What's more, it's a common ingredient in cosmetics for mature skin.

Do Multivitamins For Women Actually Work?

woman taking a pill

For years it's been a common assumption that multivitamins should be taken daily to make up for a poor diet and take a vital role in chronic disease prevention.

However, recent studies from the past decade changed this belief [14].

It seems like taking daily multivitamins - whether it's made for women or not - does not reduce our risk of developing chronic diseases or preventing cancer.

Therefore it's best to get these supplements from a balanced diet and turn to supplements if we have deficiencies.

Depending on age, the required level of certain vitamins can differ for women [15]. These needs are strongly affected by hormonal changes: teens, postmenopausal women, breastfeeding women, pregnant women, or women after pregnancy have different nutrient needs.

Additionally, the nutrient need is also affected by our lifestyle and general health.

Although not every woman needs supplementation, some may benefit from using vitamins for women periodically to reach their recommended intake levels.

Other Considerations

If you're at risk of developing vitamin deficiencies, consult your healthcare provider about creating a safe regimen aligned with your needs.

Vitamins are not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For this reason, it's important to opt for high-quality products from trusted companies when choosing a vitamin supplement. Certain vitamins are certified by third-party organizations like the NSF or USP, which ensures the quality and purity of the products.

Extra tip: Combine these vitamins and minerals with vitamin C for better absorption.

FAQs

Is It Better to Take a Multivitamin or Individual Vitamins?

It's better to take individual vitamins only if you have a specific vitamin deficiency. In all other situations, taking a multivitamin or blended dietary supplements is recommended.

At What Age Can You Take Women’s Vitamins?

Women's vitamins can be taken from the reproductive years ( late teens to late twenties) in case of nutritional deficiencies. Furthermore, it is recommended that all women of childbearing age (ages 15 to 45) consume 600 micrograms a day of folic acid [16].

Adjust Women's Multivitamins To Your Personal Needs

Women have unique nutritional needs that differ in many ways from men.

If you're going through menopause, pregnancy, or simply want to fill in nutritional gaps, women's multivitamins will do an excellent job for you.

Make sure to choose one that's specifically formulated to your body's needs and that ensures optimum nutrition: here, you may find some we’ve tested and recommended for you.


References :

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3218540/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770181/#:~:text=A%20number%20of%20observational%20studies,health%20%5B4%2C5%5D.&text=B%20vitamin%20status%20has%20purported,incidence%20of%20depression%20%5B9%5D
  3. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamins/vitamin-b/#:~:text=You're%20probably%20familiar%20with,are%20actually%20eight%20B%20vitamins%3F&text=These%20vitamins%20help%20a%20variety,containing%20nutrients%20around%20the%20body
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18709885/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3383520/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11190004/
  7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#h2 
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15983179/ 
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3696135/
  10. https://www.singlecare.com/blog/vitamin-d-vs-d3/ 
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9076586/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4600246/ 
  13. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16880453/ 
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6349991/
  16. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/multivitamin/

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