Targeted multivitamins are everywhere these days. There are vitamins for use in pregnancy, men’s health, and women’s health, but there are also specific categories like women over 50, those with GI concerns, vegetarians, people struggling with PMS, and many, many more.
It can be hard to really find the right multivitamin for you out there, especially since there are so many of them directly marketed to women.
Let’s take a look at multivitamins for women, and how they can help.
Why do women need a multivitamin?
While many people are convinced that their diets are full of the right vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that they need to live a healthy life, the truth is that the vast majority of American diets do not actually meet the minimum recommendations.
Women in America are generally deficient in important vitamins such as calcium, iron, folate and vitamins D, B12
While focusing more on diet can help counteract this, a multivitamin (and other, complementary supplements) may be useful to potentially help provide all of the essential vitamins and nutrients women’s bodies need to function efficiently. Unfortunately, because the amount of choices are so vast, finding one that meets all of those needs without extra things you don’t need can be overwhelming.
What to look for in a quality multivitamin
Before taking a comprehensive look at some of the best multivitamins in a variety of different categories, it’s important to identify what makes a good multivitamin in the first place.
Women have different requirements at different times and phases in their lives, which should also be supplemented by eating a healthy diet full of whole foods like fruits and vegetables.
Overall, verify that your multivitamin has a few different, essential vitamins and minerals: magnesium, vitamin D, zinc, iron, and calcium.
Magnesium - It is recommended that adult women who aren’t pregnant and women who are breastfeeding get between 310 and 320 milligrams of magnesium every day. People who are pregnant need a slightly increased amount, between 350 and 360 milligrams daily. Teenage women also need 360 milligrams a day. Magnesium is found in many fortified foods as well as green leafy vegetables, nuts, and legumes. While it is an important nutrient for everyone, it is particularly important for women because it supports bone density.
Vitamin D - Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine” vitamin, is another vitamin that should be present in any quality women’s multivitamin. Women 14 to 70 should get 600 IU (international units) daily, and those over 71 need 800 IU. Vitamin D can be obtained naturally through regular time spent in the sun (make sure to wear sunscreen!) and is also present in fatty fish and fortified dairy foods.
Zinc - Zinc has gotten a lot of attention for its ability to help support the immune system. Adult women need 8 milligrams of zinc daily, unless they are pregnant (11mg) or lactating (12mg). Zinc can be found in poultry products, red meat, nuts, beans, and fortified cereals. In addition to possibly boosting the immune system, zinc can also support healthy hair.
Iron - Iron is one of the most important vitamins to look for. This is especially true for people who get regular menstrual cycles, even more when those cycles are heavy. Pregnant women are also particularly at risk for developing iron deficiency. The amount needed varies depending on the age and life situation (non-pregnant adult women need 18mg, while pregnant women need 27mg and lactating women need 9 to 10mg). Iron is regularly added to fortified cereals, but is also present in red meat, oysters, white beans, and dark chocolate.
Calcium - The final component you should look for when it comes to a well-rounded multivitamin is calcium content. While there is some contention on exactly how much calcium women need, anywhere from 500mg to 1200mg is a good rule of thumb. Not only does calcium support strong bones, it also helps to keep the organs and skeletal muscles functioning properly. Calcium is naturally found in green leafy vegetables (collard greens, broccoli rabe) as well as salmon, ricotta cheese, and tofu.
While these are not all of the vitamins and minerals women need, they are some of the most important. They are also what many women are commonly deficient in. Focusing on verifying that they are all in the vitamin you are interested in can help, when combined with a healthy, whole food diet.
Best general multivitamins for women
When it comes to general multivitamins, women have plenty to choose from. While you’d think that would be a positive, but it can also make it much harder to make a decision on which of them are the best.
When it comes to general women’s multivitamins, it’s important they include all of the different vitamins and minerals discussed above. Softgels also make for a much more easily digestible vitamin.
In addition to the nutrients a multivitamin can provide, another supplement worth considering are skin support supplements. Especially when you’re younger, it’s important to take steps toward taking care of your skin and supporting skin health so it stays healthy, firm, and hydrated even as you grow older. Ingredients like CoQ10, collagen, and hyaluronic acid help support good skin health.
Best multivitamins for women 50+
Women over 50 have special nutritional needs that need to be specifically addressed to help keep them spry, healthy, and comfortable in their older years. Make sure you, of course, look for all the ingredients listed above, but in these golden years, it’s also important to have nutrients that support joint health and brain health.
An easy way to do this is to take a brain-specific supplement with ingredients like kanna extract, ginkgo extract, and Huperzine A to support healthy brain function.
Joints are also especially important as you get older, so taking a joint supplement with ingredients like CoQ10 to support overall cell health paired with Green Lip Mussel Extract (GLME) to support joint mobility can be a great way to keep you up and moving!
Other beneficial supplements
Antioxidants are a great example of a supplement that can help with a variety of common concerns that women have. Antioxidants are substances, either natural or man-made, that work to help counteract the negative effects of the free radicals that are released as a result of oxidative stress.
While the research on their official scientific benefits are still in process, many believe that antioxidant supplementation has the potential to support mental focus and healthy aging, as well as to help sustain energy levels.
Vitamin B12 may be another vitamin to supplement your regular diet with, especially for those who are vegan. B12 is important for many different bodily functions, like creation of red blood cells, cell metabolism, the production of DNA, and nerve function. However, natural sources of the vitamin are only found in animal products like meat and dairy. That means that many vegans (up to 86% of them, in fact) are likely vitamin B12 deficient.
Choosing the right multivitamin for you, depending on where you are at in life, is an important decision. With additional supplementation, and a focus on a healthy diet, you may be able to improve your quality of life and make yourself feel better. Multivitamins are just part of a full bodied approach to nutrition and wellness.