September 24, 2022 — 10:01 AM
Let’s face it: no matter how hard you try, it’s not always easy to ensure your body is getting all the water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins, macrominerals, and trace minerals (phew, it’s a long list!) you need to thrive.
Even the most balanced diets can still require a little added assistance to fill in nutrient gaps. And now, with plenty of evidence on the benefits of a targeted multivitamin for whole-body health, there’s really no reason not to be taking one.
Nutritional needs do not vary greatly between men and women, so we at mbg don’t really believe in gender-specific multivitamins. There is, however, an exception for women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding and require higher amounts of certain key nutrients.
With this in mind, we roundup up the 10 best multivitamins for women at every stage of life—all of which feature high-quality ingredients, clean delivery formats, and rigorous standards.
What is a multivitamin for women?
Multivitamins for women may feature more iron and a wider range of B vitamins than multivitamins for men—if they differ at all. (Sometimes, they feature the exact same formulas, just with different labels.)
With that being said, both men and women will often benefit from taking the same multivitamin—as long as it’s complete, which we’ll get to later.
The one time women will want to opt for a gendered multivitamin is if they’re looking for support around pregnancy. “A specialized multivitamin, for example for prenatal support in women trying to get pregnant or who are pregnant, should feature higher levels of key nutrients, particularly iron, calcium, vitamin D3, iodine, and certain B vitamins (e.g., folic acid), on top of the baseline full array of vitamins and minerals in a regular multi,” explains mbg’s vice president of scientific affairs, Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN.
Moral of the story: Most people needn’t fret about finding the best multi for women. Instead, just focus on finding the best multi, period.
How we picked
We vetted and curated multivitamin/mineral (aka “multi”) formulas that include high-quality versions of vitamins and minerals that are essential for women of all life stages, plus innovative and useful additions like botanical extracts, longevity bioactives, and more.
While vegan capsules provide the most comprehensive and clean multivitamin formulas for women, we also provide diverse delivery format options for your personal preferences—from tablets and softgels, to vegan capsules, and even a gummy.
Many of our multi selections feature premium, recyclable glass packaging to not only care for the environment but the ingredients in your multivitamin supplement, too. Amber glass bottles, for example, protect nutrients from UV light degradation.
These products all prioritize brands who invest in advanced analytical testing (for purity, potency, and precision) via ISO-certified labs. This helps ensure you are consuming high-quality multivitamins made of top-notch raw materials that you can trust.
Your diet can only get you so far, and a multi can help you get the vitamins and minerals you’re missing on your plate—as long as it’s complete.
A complete multivitamin will fill common nutrient gaps with plenty of calcium, magnesium, and potassium; provide microminerals like iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and chromium (we all have daily needs for these too, mind you); and ideally have some nonessential—but supportive—trace minerals like boron and silica. Added botanicals and bioactives are a major bonus, too.
Your personal eating habits will guide which multi is best for you. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, be sure to choose one that contains a complete B vitamin complex with all 8 essential B vitamins. Iron and iodine are also key for plant-based eaters.
Another point to consider is ingredient dosage. There’s no point in investing in a supplement that only supplies your body with a sprinkle of vitamins and minerals. Look for high-potency formulas that offer a full array of vitamins and minerals, at or above 100% of the daily recommended value. Just note that some of the larger minerals (calcium, magnesium, and potassium) are more difficult to squeeze into a capsule, so they’re often included in slightly lower doses to keep serving sizes down.
As for packaging? “I am a strong proponent of packaging that’s recyclable, doesn’t introduce more plastic into our planet, and also protects the precious ingredients you’re paying for,” Ferira previously recommended. “For that combination of environmental impact and buffering your multi ingredients from UV light, amber glass fits the bill,” she adds.
Finally, you’ll want your multivitamin to adhere to your personal values. If you’re already prioritizing a diet that’s vegan and free of GMOs, artificial sweeteners, and synthetic dyes, why not look for the same in your daily multi?
Do women’s multivitamins really work?
In short, yes, women’s multivitamins work—if they are created with high-quality ingredients and offer a complete range of nutrients in meaningful amounts.
“A high-quality and comprehensive multivitamin/mineral supplement supports a variety of structures and functions in our body, like our bones, immune system, eyes and vision, cellular energy, and more, because the array of vitamins and minerals (and unique botanical ingredients, if included) all play critical roles in cells, tissues, and organs throughout our beautifully complex bodies,” Ferira previously noted.
Although, again, gendered multivitamins may not be necessary for everybody, if you have pre- or post-natal needs, a female-targeted multi will be a good choice.
Is it good to take a multivitamin every day?
Not only is it good to take a multivitamin every day, you should most certainly be doing so if you want to reach your nutritional goals. That’s why it’s important to find a multi that comes in a reasonable serving size that’s easy enough to take daily.
Are multivitamins a waste of money?
The only way a multivitamin would be a waste of money is if you’re not invest in a high-quality product. Again, looking at the concentration of ingredients and quality of the formula are essential steps for ensuring you’re actually getting the most from your multi.
It’s not entirely essential to go with a multivitamin that’s gendered (unless you’re looking to support pre- or perinatal needs), but it is important to look for one that’s formulated with a comprehensive range of essential vitamins and minerals in significant doses. With any of the high-quality multis on this list, women will be one step closer to achieving all of their nutritional needs and then some.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.