For instance, the average person can take more than 50 times the RDA of vitamin B6 without reaching the upper limit. But some people develop symptoms of nerve pain with these higher levels of B6. So you should always be cautious. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Some supplements are riskier than others. With some vitamins and minerals, the upper limit is pretty close to the RDA. So it’s easy to get too much. For example, a man who takes just over three times the RDA of vitamin A would get more than the upper limit. High doses of vitamin A — and other fat-soluble vitamins like E and K — can build up in the body and become toxic. Other risky supplements include the minerals iron and selenium.
Supplements are designed to be additions to your diet. Popping pills is not the answer to good health. Experts say you should eat a well-balanced diet and take supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps. Some people take a multivitamin with minerals for nutritional insurance.
The UL is often the limit for all sources of a nutrient. It can include the amount you get from both food and supplements. So when you figure out whether you’ve reached the UL on a particular nutrient, take into account the food you eat.
You won’t find the UL on food nutrition labels or on your vitamin bottle. It’s not a number that most people know about. But you’ll see it on government web sites. And there’s a complete list of nutrients with ULs at the end of this article.
Most supplements don’t have a UL — or RDA or DV. The government has only set levels for a fraction of the vitamins and supplements available. For most of the supplements you see on the shelves, experts really don’t know the ideal or maximum dose.
Many nutrients, in too high a dose, can be dangerous. To be on the safe side, steer clear of the UL for any nutrient. And if you have a health condition, check with your doctor before you take supplements. He can tell you if they have side effects or interfere with other medicines you use.
- Category: Action and Adventure
- 15 Supplements Every Woman Needs
- A Multivitamin
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acids)
- Vitamin K2
- Advice to women about supplements — use selectively
- Nutrient-dense foods
- Feel your best at every age: the best vitamins for women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s
- The best vitamins and supplements for women in their 30s
- The best vitamins and supplements for women in their 40s
- The best vitamins and supplements for women in their 50s
- Nutritional supplements support a healthy lifestyle
- What Are the Best Vitamins for Women to Take?
- Are You a Woman at Risk for Vitamin Deficiencies?
- When a Healthy Diet Is Enough vs. When It Might Not Be
- How to Choose a Multivitamin:
- The 5 Best Women’s Multivitamins
- Best User Experience
- Best for Women Over 50
- Best Multivitamin for Young Women
- Best Ingredient Sourcing
- Best for Athletes
- 3 Crucial Vitamins for Women
- Supplements for Bloating, Digestion, & Weight Loss
- Supplements for Hormonal Imbalances
- Supplements That Enhance Detoxification
- More Remedies for Fatigue, PMS, & Sleep
- Meet the Experts
- Special Considerations for Women in Our Childbearing Years
- 1. B-Vitamin Supplementation for Energy & Mood
- 2. Iron Supplementation to Prevent Anemia & Low Iron Stores
- 3. Vitamin D for Immune Health & So Much More
- 4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Mood and Inflammation
- 5. Magnesium Supplementation Can Improve PMS Symptoms & Anxiety
- 6. Probiotics to Support Gut Health
- 7. Calcium + K2 to Protect Bone Health
- 8. Start taking a Prenatal Before You Get Pregnant
- How to Manage Your Vitamin Supplements
- Here are some commonly-asked questions regarding vitamin supplements for women in their 30s.
- The Eight Vitamin Supplements for a 30-Year Old Woman
- Related posts:
Category: Action and Adventure
What vitamins should a woman take on a daily basis
If you’re asking yourself, “What vitamins should women take,” we’ve Most adults don’t get enough calcium in their diet on a daily basis. Should you be taking dietary supplements? Women 19 to 50 years of age need 18 mg of iron daily, pregnant women need 27 mg of iron daily. Illustration of a woman shopping for dietary supplements. More than half of all Americans take one or more dietary supplements daily or on occasion.
It doesn’t hurt to take a daily vitamin, but do you actually know what pregnant and breastfeeding women, get IU of vitamin D per day. Most women can get all the essential vitamins they need by making smart food Since we can’t produce all the nutrients we need, we must get many of them from food. It’s best to take folic acid daily for at least a year before your planned pregnancy. It’s important to get enough nutrients on a regular basis, or you could. Find out whether you should consider taking vitamin supplements. and breastfeeding women) is advised to consider taking a daily supplement containing
Are there certain vitamins women need to take special care to consume, either through food or supplemental sources?. Should you be taking dietary supplements? Women 19 to 50 years of age need 18 mg of iron daily, pregnant women need 27 mg of iron daily. I often hear things like: “Now that I take vitamin C everyday, I don’t get colds Most multivitamins contain vitamin A, and women should aim for about
How much should you take?Women ages 50 and younger should consider a daily calcium supplement of at least milligrams and eat. How often did your mom tell you to “Take your vitamins! . You should be getting 15 mcg vitamin D on a daily basis, recommends NIH. WebMD explains which vitamins are important for women to get every day, what kind of food has them, and whether you should consider taking.
15 Supplements Every Woman Needs
In modern life, one thing is clear: We could all use more support. And we don’t just mean from your girlfriends.
According to a meta-analysis of studies done by Oregon State University, three-quarters of Americans aren’t eating the daily recommended amount of fruit, and 80 percent don’t have enough vegetables. That means we’re not getting enough essential vitamins from our food.
In addition to adding healthier foods to your shopping list, nutritional supplements can help fill in the gaps. We asked the experts which ones every woman should add to her daily routine. And to live your happiest and healthiest life, don’t miss these 38 Ways to Live Healthy.
Everyone should take a high-quality daily multivitamin, says Joanna Foley, RD, a registered dietitian in San Diego, California. “It should contain a variety of B vitamins, calcium, Vitamin K, A, D, and E, as well as magnesium, zinc and folate. Iron should also be present for women specifically.”
The Remedy Rx: When purchasing any vitamin or supplement, buy from a source that sells medical grade products to assure they’re pure, safe and don’t contain any fillers, says Yeral Patel, MD, a board-certified physician in anti-aging regenerative and family medicine in Newport Beach, California. She likes the brands Designs for Health, Metagenics, Integrative Therapeutics and Thorne.
Nearly everyone is deficient in the “sunshine vitamin,” so nicknamed because our bodies produce it naturally when skin is exposed to the sun. It is believed to guard against several types of cancer and is essential for overall health. “Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the body’s immunity, bone health — it helps absorb calcium for bone strength — cancer prevention, blood sugar regulation and decreasing insulin sensitivity,” says Patel.
The Remedy Rx: “Vitamin D isn’t available from many food sources,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City. “So a supplement can be a good idea if you aren’t getting daily time in the sun or eating food sources such as salmon, tuna, and milk and orange juice fortified with vitamin D.”
The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for Vitamin D is 600 IU for adults up to age 70 and 800 IU for adults over 70. Some experts consider that low and suggest it should be raised to at least 1,000 IU per day. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the upper limit is 4,000 IU daily.
It’s not the miracle cure-all it was touted as for much of the twentieth century, but Vitamin C is essential for immune system support and collagen production — some studies suggest it could reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
The Remedy Rx: The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C is 75 mg for adult women who aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding. According to the NIH, the upper limit is 2,000 mg.
The eight B vitamins are crucial to the production of energy and red blood cells. A 2016 review of studies said they’re “absolutely essential for every aspect of brain function.” And they have a number of full-body benefits. “Vitamins B6 and B12 help keep homocysteine levels low, which helps to reduce a woman’s risk of heart disease, stroke, and blood clots,” says Anthony Kouri, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Toledo Medical Center. “Biotin, or B7, is a B vitamin that helps keep hair healthy.”
The Remedy Rx: Look for a high-quality B-Complex formulation. “B vitamins are especially important in the elderly, because age makes it difficult for the gut to absorb B12,” notes Kouri. “In addition, women who exercise regularly require a higher level of B vitamins.”
“Most women are low in total body iron stores,” says Arielle Levitan, MD, an internal medicine physician in Chicago and co-founder of Vous Vitamin.”They lose iron throughout their lives from periods, pregnancies and nursing and often don’t consume significant iron in their diets. They benefit from supplements to help prevent low energy, brain fog, thinning hair and brittle nails that all result from lack of iron.”
The Remedy Rx: According to the NIH, the adequate daily intake of iron for women up to age 50 is 18 mg. After age 50, it is 8 mg. The tolerable upper intake is 45 mg.
“If there is one mineral almost everyone needs, it is magnesium,” says Heidi Moretti, MS, RD, a registered dietitian in Missoula, Montana, who has worked in hospitals for two decades. “Some research suggests that 70 percent of Americans fall short. This may lead to digestive issues, poor sleep, mood swings, and increased risk of heart disease.”
“Low levels of magnesium have been linked to many different conditions, including muscle cramps, restlessness and insomnia,” says Nicole Avena, PhD, assistant professor of neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and visiting professor of health psychology at Princeton University. “Both men and women are at risk for magnesium deficiency. Supplementing can help to reduce symptoms or prevent them.”
The Remedy Rx: The recommended daily allowance for magnesium increases slightly for adults over 30: 420mg per day for men, and 320mg for women. The NIH says the upper tolerable limit of magnesium is 350mg daily (that applies to a magnesium supplement, not amounts of the mineral naturally found in food).
“If you don’t eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and apple cider vinegar regularly — and most people aren’t — you may benefit from a probiotic,” says Moretti. “Probiotics are the new frontier for many conditions, including irritable bowel, which is most common in women. They also may help improve mood, heart health, bone health, and more.” Plus, according to MD Anderson Cancer Center, early research indicates that probiotics’ anti-inflammatory effects could inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.
The Remedy Rx: Choose a brand of probiotic with varying strains to start. “Probiotics are beneficial to both women and men of all ages for maintaining a healthy microbiome and immune function,” says Lawrence Hoberman, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist in San Antonio, Texas. “Probiotic supplementation can be especially helpful during menopause when estrogen production slows, and the subsequent depletion of lactobacilli creates a vaginal pH environment that is more vulnerable to pathogens.”
“Iodine is important for men and extra-important for women,” says Moretti. “Breast tissue is high in iodine, which helps to protect it from free-radical damage.”
The Remedy Rx: The RDA for iodine is 150 mcg, and the upper limit is 1,100 mcg. “Although iodine is good to get in your supplement, make sure to take a low dose and check with your doctor before adding a bunch into your diet,” advises Moretti. “High doses without supervision can trigger hyperthyroidism in some people.”
CoQ10 (Conenzyme Q10) is a powerful antioxidant generated by the body to keep cells healthy and functioning properly. Levels decline as we age, and CoQ10 deficiency has been associated with a number of diseases. A 2018 meta-analysis of studies found that taking CoQ10 may improve heart function and improve symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases.
The Remedy Rx: There is no established daily dose of CoQ10, so talk to your doctor.
Courtesy of Vital Proteins x Poosh
“Over time, our bodies’ natural ability to produce collagen wears down, so it’s a good idea to consider a supplement,” says Avena. “Collagen supplements can bring relief from pain by combating aging tissue and arthritis, aiding normal repair of ligaments, tendons, joints and bones while improving connective tissue. It can also help improve skin elasticity, which can delay the appearance of wrinkles.”
The Remedy Rx: Add collagen supplements to a daily smoothie or mix them with water. “Further Food makes a flavorless collagen supplement powder, as well as a chocolate one,” says Avena.
Fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acids)
“Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory and help with chronic pain, heart health and brain health,” says Patel. “They also promote beautiful skin and aid in hormone balance for both men and women.”
The Remedy Rx: “It’s great to eat at least two 3.5-ounce servings of cooked fatty fish each week to get your fill of the omega-3s EPA and DHA for heart-health benefits,” says Gorin. “You can also take a daily supplement of 250 milligrams or more of EPA and DHA. Research shows that more than 1 gram daily provides brain-helping benefits. If you are vegetarian, you can look for an algae-based omega-3 supplement.”
“If you’re not regularly eating dairy, you may need a calcium supplement,” says Gorin. “Calcium helps keep bones strong—and not getting enough puts you at risk for osteopenia, a condition that may increase your risk of osteoporosis.”
The Remedy Rx: The recommended daily amount of calcium is 1,000 mg for adults up to age 50. That increases to 1,200 mg for adult women from age 51 to 70, and both sexes after age 71. The upper daily limit for adults 50 and younger is 2,500 mg; for adults over 51, it’s 2,000 mg.
“If you’re taking supplements, you should divide your daily dose into two, because this will help with absorption,” says Gorin. “If you’re taking calcium carbonate, this is better absorbed when you take it with food. Calcium citrate, on the other hand, can be taken with or without food.”
“Most women shy away from zinc-rich foods. This is a problem, because zinc plays a role in mood, bone health, immunity, and more,” says Moretti.
The Remedy Rx: Adult women are advised to get 8 mg a day. The NIH says the upper tolerable limit is 40 mg daily, although that doesn’t apply to people who are taking zinc under a doctor’s care. “Zinc is much better absorbed from animal sources,” says Moretti. “Be careful when supplementing zinc: a little goes a long way. Large doses over time can deplete copper if you aren’t taking it correctly.”
“Getting enough fiber is important for everyone,” says Amanda Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian and advisor to Smart Healthy Living. “Fiber helps to keep things moving, can help you lower cholesterol, and may also help you control your blood sugar if you have diabetes.” A fiber-rich diet may also lower your risk of colon cancer.
The Remedy Rx: Women should aim to get 25 grams of fiber per day, says Miller.
“Vitamin K2 is the nutrient that is least known with a huge benefit for both heart and bone health, yet almost no one gets enough,” says Moretti.
The Remedy Rx: According to the National Institutes of Health, the adequate intake (AI) of Vitamin K is 90 mcg daily for women, and an upper limit has not been established because of a low chance of toxicity. “Vitamin K2 is also found specifically in fermented foods, especially natto,” says Moretti. “If you are on warfarin , make sure to check with your doctor before taking vitamin K2.” For more ways to be happier and healthier, don’t miss this essential list of the 50 Unhealthiest Habits on the Planet.
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Advice to women about supplements — use selectively
Once we believed it was possible to compensate for dietary deficiencies by popping a multivitamin every day. But research suggests that multivitamins may not be all they’re cracked up to be.
Moreover, many multivitamins contain some micronutrients in amounts greater than those recommended in the government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. If you choose to take a multivitamin, take one daily—no more. It’s an especially bad idea to take extra multivitamins in an effort to ramp up your intake of a single micronutrient. Doing so means you’re sure to get too much of other vitamins and/or minerals, which can be harmful.
Meanwhile, the benefits of multivitamins remain uncertain. The Women’s Health Initiative study concluded that postmenopausal women who took multivitamins did not have a lower death rate than others and were just as likely to develop cardiovascular disease or cancers of the lung, colon and rectum, breast, and endometrium. These results are consistent with findings from other studies. And in 2006, the NIH said there wasn’t enough evidence for a recommendation about taking multivitamins.
Little or no evidence of protection
There’s also been little or no evidence of protection against cardiovascular disease or cancers from a number of individual vitamin supplements, including vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, and the B vitamin trio — B6, B12, and folic acid. Recent research suggests that potential harm has been added to the mix. In 2008, a Cochrane Collaboration review found that low-risk people in trials for a host of diseases who were given supplements of vitamin A, vitamin E, and beta carotene had a slightly higher death rate. And there’s some evidence that excess folic acid (the synthetic version of folate, a vitamin found abundantly in vegetables, fruits, and grains) may be contributing to an uptick in colon polyps. Both observations warrant further study.
Experts agree that the best way to get the nutrients we need is through food (see list of nutrient-dense foods below). It is likely that what counts is the synergistic interactions of these nutrients — which might also help explain why trials of single nutrients often don’t pan out.
However, it may be too soon to draw the line on all supplements. Adequate calcium and vitamin D are essential in preserving bone density. Although you can get the recommended 1,200 mg of calcium from your diet, studies suggest that most women do not. It is possible to get the government-endorsed vitamin D intakes (400 IU for women ages 51 to 70; 600 IU for women over age 71) through diet or sun exposure. But many health experts now recommend getting 1,000 IU, which is harder to do without taking supplements—especially during winter months if you live in the northern United States, if you always wear sun block, or if you are unable to spend time outdoors. Consult your doctor about the appropriate supplementation for you.
Nutrient-dense foods have a lot of nutrients relative to the number of calories they contain. Some examples of foods that pack a nutritional punch are:
- Chard, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Mushrooms (crimini and shiitake)
- Baked potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Cantaloupe, papaya, raspberries, strawberries
- Low-fat yogurt
- Seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower)
- Dried beans (garbanzo, kidney, navy, pinto)
- Lentils, peas
- Almonds, cashews, peanuts
- Barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice
- Salmon, halibut, cod, scallops, shrimp, tuna
- Lean beef, lamb, venison
- Chicken, turkey
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Feel your best at every age: the best vitamins for women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s
Taking vitamins and supplements is a great way to boost your nutrition at any age. But choosing the right supplements is often overwhelming–there are a lot of options out there. Among the many options, each can play a number of roles in the body and touts various health benefits. Depending on your diet, lifestyle, routine and life stage, some supplements will hold distinct advantages over others.
To quickly give you a lay of the land: there are 13 vitamins and 16 minerals that are necessary for the body to function optimally. In addition, there are other sources of nutritional and health support with potential benefits, like fish oil or herbal supplements.
Women in their 30s, 40s, or 50s have very different biological needs, and often have unique goals related to their health, as well. We understand that choosing the most appropriate vitamins and supplements can be a daunting decision, so we’ve done the research to break down which vitamins and supplements are priorities at the various stages of life.
The best vitamins and supplements for women in their 30s
1. Folic acid(also known as folate or vitamin B9)
Biologically speaking, women in their 30s are considered to be in their childbearing years. Whether you are planning to get pregnant or not, taking folic acid during these years helps maintain health. Folic acid, also referred to as folate or vitamin B9, supports brain health and cell reproduction, enhances verbal fluency and memory, and is believed to enhance one’s mood.
Folic acid is especially important for women who are thinking about having children and for women who are pregnant, and thus is a key ingredient in prenatal vitamins. In fact, while most people think of prenatal vitamins as something to take once you’re already pregnant, it may be more beneficial to start taking them before becoming pregnant. When taken up to 6 months before pregnancy and throughout, prenatal vitamins can help reduce the risk of having a child with birth defects of the brain or spinal cord.
Iron is an important supplement for women in their 30s. Iron deficiency can arise in women who don’t consume a lot of meat, athletes, pregnant women, and women with moderate to heavy menstrual cycles.
Taking an iron supplement can support your health, but be careful not to over-supplement with iron. Taking too much iron can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, and other symptoms. Iron overdose can be especially dangerous for kids, so if you are taking iron supplements, take care to ensure that they’re out of the reach of children.
Dr. Jeff Gladd, an integrative physician, has commented about the importance of monitoring iron levels, “It is always best to work with your doctor to determine your iron needs. Having a percent saturation of iron and ferritin level done via blood work will help you know whether iron supplementation or your current dosing is right for you.”
3. Antioxidants: Vitamin C and Vitamin E
Vitamin C and vitamin E are powerful antioxidants and support healthy skin from the inside out.
Vitamin C helps support the immune system and supports the creation of collagen, which supports skin’s youthful, soft, and elastic appearance. Due to their antioxidant properties, vitamins C and E may even help maintain skin health over time. Many people even apply vitamin E oil topically to skin injuries to help prevent scars or speed up the healing process.
The best vitamins and supplements for women in their 40s
1. Fish oil
Women in their 40s generally have a unique set of nutritional needs. Women at this stage are preparing to enter peri-menopause, the stage that precedes menopause, and may start to experience hot flashes. Fish oil, which contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids, is a great supplement to support overall health during this time. It also supports heart and brain health, both of which are essential for maintaining well-being beyond the 30s.
Dr. Gladd advises that not all fish oils are equal. “When looking for fish oil, be sure to opt for wild-caught fish sources and versions tested to be free of mercury and other toxic components.”
2. Vitamin B-Complex
A vitamin B-complex is made up of 8 vitamins — thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6, biotin (B7), vitamin B12, and folic acid. These B vitamins work together and individually to support mood, digestion, sleep health, and likely a welcome boost of energy since they help convert food into fuel. They also support the cardiovascular system and can help maintain nail, hair, and skin health.
The best vitamins and supplements for women in their 50s
Vitamins and supplements can help support health through menopause. For women in their 50s, menopause is often a significant change that affects the body. High priority supplements for women in their 50s include vitamin D, calcium, turmeric, and omega-3 fatty acids.
1. Vitamin D and Calcium
Vitamin D is an especially important vitamin for women in their 50s. By helping the body absorb calcium from food, vitamin D helps promote bone health. Taking vitamin D in conjunction with calcium can help support and maintain healthy bones.
2. Black Cohosh
It can be stressful to try and determine which supplements are helpful during menopause that won’t cause side effects or affect your health negatively. Black Cohosh is often a recommended supplement because it may offer benefits such as supporting healthy aging and hormone support.
Turmeric is another great supplement for women in their 50s. Turmeric supplements are made from turmeric root, a plant grown in India and other regions. Turmeric is a yellow spice commonly used in Indian food, like curries, and has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. It is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to support joint health and likely supports brain health.
Nutritional supplements support a healthy lifestyle
Nutritional supplementation, along with certain herbal products, can be an integral part of your health regimen. However, to be truly healthy as you age, it’s important to maintain the traditional pillars of wellness: a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.
Whatever your age, it is important to pay attention your body’s needs as they evolve, and to understand the unique factors influencing your health. If you do decide to take supplements to help achieve your health goals, select those made from the highest quality ingredients possible.
While it’s possible to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from careful food selection and a nutrient-dense diet, research shows many women still experience at least one type of nutrient deficiency, if not more. There are 13 vitamins all women need — all which are among the best vitamins for women to take — including vitamins C, A, D, E, K and the B vitamins (such as thiamine and vitamin B12), plus a number of important trace minerals and fatty acids too. (1)
It’s believed that around 30 percent of all women are deficient in one or more of these vitamins and minerals, and for many women the risk only increases with age. Another scary finding? Estimates show about 75 percent of women would likely develop nutrient deficiencies if supplemental multivitamins didn’t exist. (2)
With that in mind, what are the most important and best vitamins for women in order to prevent deficiencies and the complications that come with them? The following are the absolute best vitamins for women.
What Are the Best Vitamins for Women to Take?
According to a report published by the Population Referee Bureau, vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition in women create a vicious cycle that poses a variety of threats. “It weakens women’s ability to survive childbirth, makes them more susceptible to infections, and leaves them with fewer reserves to recover from illnesses.” (3) There’s also evidence that post-menopausal women are more susceptible to disorders like osteoporosis when they’re low in nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin D and calcium, and at a greater risk for losing their vision when they fall short in antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin C.
If you’re looking for a high-quality multivitamin, I highly recommend choosing a fermented option, as this form of predigestion makes the nutrients a vitamin contains more absorbable for your digestive system. You may also try multivitamins that are packed with additional superfood ingredients like spirulina, camu camu, chia seeds, apple cider vinegar and ashwagandha.
Whether you’re in your 20s, 40s or 70s, here are the best vitamins for women that you should make sure to get enough of:
1. Antioxidant Vitamins (Vitamins A, C and E)
These fat-soluble antioxidants fight free radical damage, which is the underlying cause of aging and many diseases that affect the heart, eyes, skin and brain. Vitamin C not only improves immunity against colds, infections and other illnesses, but it’s also important for protecting your vision and skin from damage caused by things like UV light and environmental pollution. Make sure to consume plenty of vitamin C foods. Vitamin A and E work in similar ways to protect healthy cells and halt cell mutations, among the many other vitamin A and vitamin E benefits.
Research done by the National Eye Institute shows that a poor diet low in these vitamins is a major risk factor for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts in older women, and both vitamin A and E are also known to help protect skin from signs of aging and skin cancer. (4)
2. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 can be obtained from certain foods like eggs, some dairy products and certain mushrooms, but we get the overwhelming majority of our vitamin D from sun exposure. Both men and women are at high risks for vitamin D deficiencies since more people spend a large majority of their time indoors these days or wear sunscreen diligently when outdoors. Estimates range, but some research shows that up to 75 percent to 90 percent of adults in the U.S. might be deficient!
Vitamin D3 is important for bone/skeletal health, brain functions, preventing mood disorders and hormonal balance, since it acts very similarly to a hormone once inside the body. Your best bet to make sure you get enough is to spend 15–20 minutes outside most days of the week without sunscreen on, which allows vitamin D3 to be synthesized when it comes into contact with your skin. (5)
3. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is important for building and maintaining strong bones, blood clotting, and preventing heart disease — currently the No. 1 cause of death among women living in the U.S. and many other western nations. Many women fall short in this valuable nutrient, which is a shame considering studies have shown that individuals who increase their intake of dietary vitamin K have a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality.
You’re most likely to be low in vitamin K if you’ve been taking antibiotics for an extended period of time, suffer from intestinal problems such as IBS or inflammatory bowel disease, or you take cholesterol-lowering medications. There are two main types of vitamin K , both of which we acquire from our diets. Vitamin K1 is found in vegetables, while vitamin K2 is found in things like dairy products. The best way to prevent vitamin K deficiency is to eat plenty of different veggies, including green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, fish and eggs.
4. B Vitamins, Including Folate
B vitamins, including vitamin B12 and folate, are important for a woman’s metabolism, preventing fatigue and boosting cognitive functions. They help with may cellular processes, growth and energy expenditure because they work with other vitamins like iron to make red blood cells and help turn the calories you eat into useable “fuel.” (6) Folate (which is called folic acid when it’s created synthetically) is critical for a healthy pregnancy, developing fetuses and preventing birth defects since it helps build the baby’s brain and spinal cord. That’s why folate deficiency is extremely dangerous for pregnant women.
You can get plenty of B vitamins from animal products like cage-free eggs, fish, meat, milk and yogurt. Older women, those with anemia, vegans and vegetarians should work with a doctor to make sure they get enough B vitamins since they’re at the greatest risk for deficiency. Foods especially high in folate include spinach and leafy greens, asparagus, citrus fruits, melon and beans.
When taking a supplement containing folate, be wary of synthetic folic acid. Instead, stick to fermented folic acid, which is metabolized by the body similarly to naturally occurring folate. High-quality multivitamins for women will often feature large amounts of B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12.
While technically the nutrients below aren’t “vitamins” (they’re actually essential minerals and fatty acids), it’s important for women to prevent deficiencies in these, too:
Iron deficiency and anemia are the most prevalent nutritional deficiencies in the world, especially among women young. The body uses iron to produce hemoglobin, a type of protein that transports oxygen via blood from the lungs to other tissues throughout the body. There are two different kinds of iron (heme and non-heme), and the most absorbable and easily utilized by the body is the kind found in animal proteins like eggs, meat, fish and poultry (leafy greens and beans are good plant-based options too).
Adolescent girls are at the highest risk for iron deficiencies, and women in general need to be careful to get enough since demand for iron increases during menstruation due to blood loss. (6) It’s been found that, globally, about 50 percent of all pregnant women are very low in iron to the point of being considered anemic — not to mention at least 120 million women in less developed countries are underweight and malnourished in general. Women with adequate stores of iron and vitamin B12 and are less likely to suffer from fatigue, poor immunity and fatal infections, dangerous pregnancies, and bleeding episodes that put their lives at risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women between the ages of 20–39 have the lowest urine iodine levels compared to all other age groups. (7) Iodine intake is especially important for young women looking to become pregnant or who are pregnant because it plays a role in brain development of the growing fetus. It’s also crucial for making proper amounts of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland requires iodine to produce the hormones T3 and T4, which help control your metabolism.
Most people eating a western diet consume a good deal of iodized salt found in packaged foods and refined grain products, which has iodine added purposefully to help prevent deficiencies. But an even better way to get the iodine you need is from iodine-rich foods like sea veggies and seafood, the major natural dietary sources of this nutrient. Avoiding an iodine deficiency helps protect you from conditions like hypothyroidism, goiters, fatigue, hormonal imbalances and trouble during pregnancy.
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body but also one of the most common deficiencies. As an electrolyte, magnesium helps regulate calcium, potassium and sodium and is essential for over 300 different biochemical functions in the body. (8) On a global scale, soil depletion has resulted in many crops being lower in magnesium than in past generations — plus health conditions like digestive disorders, leaky gut syndrome, chronic stress and ongoing medication use can all lower someone’s magnesium levels.
Leg cramps, insomnia, muscle spasms, anxiety, headaches and digestive issues like constipation can all be signs of magnesium deficiency. For older women, the risk of deficiency might be even greater. Studies have shown that many older people don’t eat magnesium-rich foods to begin with, plus they’re prone to experiencing reduced magnesium intestinal absorption, reduced magnesium bone stores and excess urinary loss. Make sure to get enough by consuming magnesium-rich foods, such as leafy green veggies, sea vegetables/algae, beans, nuts and seeds, as it’s sometimes challenging to pack a day’s worth of magnesium into a multivitamin.
8. Omega-3 Fish Oils
If you don’t consume seafood like salmon, mackerel, sardines, halibut or tuna regularly, chances are you can afford to take an omega-3 fish oil supplement to prevent deficiency. Most people eating a “western diet” consume plenty omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory and found in many packaged foods and vegetables oils, but not enough omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory.
The two need to balance each other out in order for the heart, brain and immune systems to stay the healthiest they can. A ratio of about 2:1 omega-6s to omega-3s is best, preventing conditions like arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and more. Eating wild-caught fish several times per week or taking a supplement equal to about 1,000 milligrams daily is the best way to beat inflammation and get enough omega-3s.
Getting enough calcium is important for bone strength, but it’s also crucial for regulating heart rhythms, aiding in muscle functions, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and many other functions related to nerve signaling too. Calcium, when consumed when other key nutrients like vitamin D and magnesium, has been shown to offer protection against some of the biggest threats to women: heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer, for example. Calcium deficiency is very common among both men and women, however. Experts believe that most adults in the U.S. don’t get enough calcium on a daily basis. (9)
This is believed to be true because calcium is not absorbed properly when someone has low levels of vitamin D and magnesium (deficiencies in both are common), plus certain crops that are normally high in calcium have become depleted of minerals due to soil depletion. This electrolyte, which is actually the body’s most abundant mineral, can be obtained from drinking raw milk, having yogurt or kefir, and from certain plant foods (especially organic types) like leafy green vegetables (such as collard greens and kale), broccoli, okra and beans. Supplementing with calcium has pros and cons, so speak with your doctor about your risk factors, and first try to get enough from foods if you can.
Are You a Woman at Risk for Vitamin Deficiencies?
Studies have shown that women’s nutrient intake is highly dependent on factors like their economic status, social and cultural environment, and personal habits.
An alarming finding is that even the children of malnourished women who experience vitamin or mineral deficiencies are more likely to face cognitive impairments, developmental problems, lower resistance to infections, and a higher risk of disease and death throughout their lives. Chances are if a woman is low in antioxidants and important nutrients herself — such as vitamin A (retinol), carotenoids, vitamin C and vitamin E, which are critical for both developing children and adults alike — the rest of her family is going to be also.
Risk factors that make a women more likely to have a vitamin or mineral deficiency include:
- eating a highly processed diet (one low in things like fresh vegetables and fruit)
- being a vegetarian or vegan (10)
- being underweight or consuming too little calories in general (“underweight” is generally considered below a body mass index of 18.5 for women)
- being of reproductive age (the World Health Organization estimates that in poorer countries 27 percent to 51 percent of women of reproductive age are deficient in key nutrients) (11)
- being over the age of 65
- low socioeconomic status, a lack of education, and poverty
Researchers have pointed out that for women of “reproductive age” who are preparing to have children, proper nutritional status before, during and after pregnancy is an important element of overall reproductive health.
Preventing nutritional deficiencies helps maintain the health of the mother-to-be, lowers the risk of having a difficult pregnancy, prevents birth defects in the fetus/infant and even helps lower the risk for certain chronic diseases developing later on in the child’s life. Breast milk production is also highly influenced by a woman’s calorie, vitamin and mineral intake, which is why supplements are considered crucial for both pregnant and lactating moms.
This is why it’s vital for pregnant women in particular to ensure they get enough of the best vitamins for women that often women fall short in.
When a Healthy Diet Is Enough vs. When It Might Not Be
How do you know if you’re covering your bases and getting enough of the best vitamins for women that they absolutely need? You have the best protection against nutrient deficiencies if you eat enough calories in general, avoid crash or fad dieting, don’t overexert yourself or start overtraining, and if you focus on eating a varied diet that’s low in “empty calories.”
This means avoiding things like added sugar, refined grain products, packaged snacks and most refined vegetable oils. Try to get the most “bang for your buck” by making your calories count, eating plenty fresh plant foods, clean protein foods and healthy fats. These foods provide the best vitamins for women.
Even if you feel you do eat a pretty nutrient-dense diet, some women are more susceptible to running low in important vitamins than others. Here’s some special circumstances that make a women a good candidate for taking a high-quality, food-based multivitamin supplement daily (not the processed kinds of vitamins filled with many additives!):
- If you’re a vegetarian or vegan: Plant-based eaters who avoid meat are more likely to be low in B vitamins, such as vitamin B12, which is only found in animal foods. A lack of calcium, amino acids (protein), omega-3s, zinc, iodine and iron are also more common in women who don’t eat any animal products, which is why supplements are recommended. In 2009, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) recommended that vegans and vegetarians make sure to cover their nutritional needs of the vitamins and minerals listed above, most easily by taking a daily multivitamin and omega-3 supplement. (12)
- If you’re pregnant: Likely more than any other time in a woman’s life, pregnancy creates a special metabolic demand for high-quality nutrients, both to support the growing baby and the mother. Requirements for many micronutrients increase during pregnancy — especially nutrients like folate, iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium and iodine. (13) Studies show that fetal growth and development are strongly linked with the mother’s supply of essential nutrients.
Nutritional imbalances and deficiencies can cause detrimental effects to both the pregnant mom and her unborn or newly born baby, raising the risk for miscarriages, preterm pregnancies, birth defects, and low breast milk production or consumption. Research has shown that, globally, iodine deficiency is the most preventable cause of mental retardation in the world. Therefore, the American Thyroid Association recommends all prenatal vitamins contain 150 micrograms of iodine and that the same amount be taken both during pregnancy and afterward while breast-feeding.
- If you’re over the age of 55: B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium and iron are all especially important for aging women. Consuming plenty natural food sources of these nutrients — such as leafy greens, cage-free eggs, grass-fed meat and organic/unsweetened dairy products (ideally those that are raw) — can help prevent a deficiency that raises the risk for problems such as bone loss/osteoporosis, fractures, heart problems, diabetes and cognitive decline. (14)
Final Thoughts on the Best Multivitamin for Women
- It’s believed that around 30 percent of all women are deficient in one or more of the most important vitamins and minerals, and for many women the risk only increases with age. Another scary finding? Estimates show about 75 percent of women would likely develop nutrient deficiencies if supplemental multivitamins didn’t exist.
- The best vitamins for women include vitamins A, C, D, E, K and B vitamins. In addition to the best vitamins for women, other nutrients that are important include iron, iodine, magnesium, omega-3 fish oil and calcium.
- Risk factors that make a women more likely to have a vitamin or mineral deficiency include: eating a highly processed diet, being vegetarian or vegan, being underweight or consuming too little calories in general, being of reproductive age, being over the age of 65, and having a low socioeconomic status, a lack of education and living in poverty.
- Risk factors for not getting enough of the best vitamins for women include being vegetarian or vegan, pregnant or over the age of 55.
- Make sure to consume as many of the best vitamins for women as possible in order to be the healthiest you can be and prevent nutritional deficiencies.
Read Next: Eye Vitamins & Foods: Are You Getting Enough?
When it comes multivitamins, you should only take one to fill potentials gaps in your diet while still attempting to meet your nutrient needs through food. Only 10% of Americans are eating enough veggies and fruit — not to mention the fact that 10% of us don’t get enough dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and omega-3’s, according to the Centers for Disease Control. We’re also lacking in choline and vitamins A, D, E, and C, the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 found. These nutrients have one main, overarching theme: They’re all found in plant-based foods, seafood, and fortified dairy products (or non-dairy alternatives).
Before taking a multivitamin, consider maximizing your intake of fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids by loading up on the veggies, plant-based protein, fruit, unsweetened dairy products, 100% whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and legumes (plus plant-based oils for cooking). If you’re a seafood eater, aim for 8-12 ounces of seafood every week (about 2-3 standard servings) to reap the benefits of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
But since there may be moments when you require a little extra help, dietary supplements can lend a hand.
How to Choose a Multivitamin:
Do your homework. Supplements are not evaluated for safety and efficacy by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). This means that there’s not a 100% guarantee that you’re getting what you pay for when you purchase a supplement. You can check that any supplement you’re considering follows the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices and also look for products tested by a credible third party, like NSF for Sport, USP Certified, or ConsumerLab.com. These ensure that there’s no harmful substance (e.g., lead, which has been found in supplements) in the products themselves, and also verifies that what’s in the bottle is what it claims to be — like vitamin C rather than grains of rice in tablet form!
Check with your doctor. It’s crucial that you always check with your physician before starting any supplement regimen. Supplements can interfere with medications you’re taking, or you may need to change the time you take them. You may also have an allergy or intolerance to an unlisted ingredient or an underlying condition causing a nutrient deficiency. In a medical emergency, having a specific dietary supplement listed on your chart can help healthcare providers, too.
Consider your food, first. Supplements can’t do much for you unless you’re actually deficient in a given nutrient. That said, we know it’s highly likely that we’re not getting everything we need from food every single day (see the above statistics on that!). It’s the habits that comprise our dietary patterns overall that make the most significant impact on our health — not just taking a supplement!
To recommend multivitamins that work for you, we looked at the factors that often affect women at various stages of life, and corroborated with ConsumerLab.com, an online, third-party database where testing of specific ingredients can be verified for safety. Our three general categories include: multivitamins for women at any age; multivitamins for women over the age of 50, and prenatal vitamins.
The 5 Best Women’s Multivitamins
Few wellness tasks are as stupefying as shopping for a multivitamin. How do you know you’re not just peeing all your money away? Why do some of them upset our stomach (and which don’t)? And what’s the difference between multi’s for men and multi’s for women, anyway? Plus, with the different vitamin and mineral combos each of these multivitamin brands have, it can feel like you need an advanced degree in nutrition studies just to figure out which capsule to take with your morning OJ..
Women’s multivitamins come with the promises making you a healthier, shinier, newer, stronger you… but which supplements are best? We tried dozens of multivitamins for women from the biggest brands to the newest up and comers, to find out which brands are best based for young women, female athletes, and women over 50. We even narrowed down the list to the best women’s multivitamins in six categories overall.
Note: Multivitamins shouldn’t be seen as replacements for a healthy diet or medication. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary. The list below simply includes our favorite brands and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice.
Best Women’s Multivitamins
|Best User Experience|
|Ritual Essential|| Ritual Essential
A subscription-based multivitamin with incredibly transparent ingredient sourcing, easy-to-take capsules, and a minty scent.
|Best for Women Over 50|
|Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin|| Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin
With 20 ingredients, this is packed with nutrients and also seems to benefit gut health.
|Best for Young Women|
Care/of creates custom multivitamin packs based on a user’s response to their online quiz. Each pack can include a variety of supplements tailored to the user.
|Best Ingredient Sourcing|
|Ritual Essential|| Ritual Essential
A subscription-based multivitamin with incredibly transparent ingredient sourcing, easy-to-take capsules, and a minty scent.
|Best for Athletes|
|Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women Multivitamin|| Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women Multivitamin
With over 40 total ingredients, this multi has a particular focus on performance and recovery for active women.
Keep reading for a detailed breakdown as to why we picked each of the winners, along with the runners-up in each category.
Best User Experience
Ritual Essential Multivitamin
Ritual Essential was the favorite user experience. When you unscrew the cap the first time, you’ll immediately notice that the vitamins doesn’t smell the way you might expect a vitamin containing omega-3 to smell: like fish. Instead, the the vitamins smell and taste like mint. Each bottle contains a food-grade insert infused with pure peppermint to keep your vitamins smelling minty fresh. That means that even though they contain a heart-helping ingredients (algal oil) which usually has an oceanic aroma, the vitamins don’t smell like seaweed.
Plus, we don’t hate that it gets delivered right to our door every 30 days. The only downside is that take two pills, as opposed to one.
Check out our review of Ritual Essential!
Ritual Essential Ritual Essential
A subscription-based multivitamin with incredibly transparent ingredient sourcing, easy-to-take capsules, and a minty scent.
Best for Women Over 50
Rainbow Light’s Vibrance Multivitamin capsule compared in size to an almond
Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin
Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin was our number one pick for women over 50. Rainbow Light Vibrance offers two types of multivitamins: energy & balance, or stress relief. We think this certified organic supplement is good for women over the age of 50 because of it packs in vitamins and minerals that may support estrogen metabolism, promote steady energy, and help bolster the immune system. Plus, the formula includes 25 million CFU of probiotics, plus prebiotics, and a full spectrum of plant-sourced digestive enzymes, so it could be especially beneficial for women with gut health issues.
Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin
With 20 ingredients, this is packed with nutrients and also seems to benefit gut health.
Best Multivitamin for Young Women
Care Of Multivitamin
Care/of was our overall favorite multivitamin for women 18-34. Answer a few questions about your goals, lifestyle, and values, and get setup with a pack of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and probiotics. Care/of’s aim is to simplify the process of getting your daily nutritional needs and make it more affordable (and easier) than the bottles you’d pick at your local drug store. Monthly subscriptions start at $20 and go up depending on your particular blend- to keep the cost down, we recommend staying away from the speciality blends and herbs which add up quickly. Bonus, if you’re looking to become pregnant, pregnant, or nursing they also offer a prenatal regime that’s specifically designed to be soft on the stomach.
Best Personalized Multivitamins Care/Of Care/Of
Care/of creates custom multivitamin packs based on a user’s response to their online quiz. Each pack can include a variety of supplements tailored to the user.
Best Ingredient Sourcing
Ritual Essential Review
Ritual Essential is the brand that we found most transparent about their ingredients. According to Ritual’s research, most women are lacking in nine specific nutrients, but they wanted to deliver those nutrients in a single pill. The resulting pill is a lineup of vitamins K2, D3, B12, and E, plus boron, iron, magnesium, folate, and omega-3. On their website, Ritual provides where in the world each of the 9 ingredient is from, an explanation of ‘why’ the ingredient is essential, and the research that explains why each ingredient is in the form it’s in. So not only is the brand transparent about what’s in the tablets, for every ingredient there is a convincing why.
Ritual Essential Ritual Essential
Best for Athletes
Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women
Optimum Nutrition OptiWomen Multivitamin
Optimum Nutrition OptiWomen was our top pick for athletes. Optimum Nutrition developed Opti-Women to specifically to meet the unique needs of active women who want the best for their health and body. With over 40 active ingredients (that’s a lot!) including botanicals, antioxidants, minerals, and gender-specific herbs, Opti-Women is a high-potency supplement that goes beyond the scope of your everyday multivitamin.
The biggest drawback is that many of the botanical and herbs in the pill (like garcinia cambogia extract, butchers broom powder, and grape seed extract) are not particularly well-researched, so there’s no saying if they’re actually doing anything or not. Oh, and because your body can’t absorb that many vitamins all at once, it may turn your pee bright yellow.
Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women Multivitamin Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women Multivitamin With over 40 total ingredients, this multi has a particular focus on performance and recovery for active women.
Women’s Multivitamin Ingredients (and What Vitamins Should Women Take On a Daily Basis?)
Many multivitamins come in his & her varieties while others are sourced and made specifically for women, and a third category of supplements for women creates for-you-specifically vitamin packets that get delivered right to your door. While different companies take a different approach to gender-specific nutrition, many multi’s-for-her place an emphasis on ingredients like biotin, collagen, and copper that may help hair and nail health, a common concern among women. You can also expect to find more iron, vitamins C, E, and K, as well as calcium and magnesium in multis made for women.
Biotin: It’s not just for luscious locks (though research shows it helps with that too), biotin has been shown to boost nail health, according to a Swiss study published in Cutis.(1)(2)
Zinc: Take a look at your nail? Discolored? Split? It could be a sign of zinc deficiency, according to research in the Journal of Drugs & Dermatology.(3)(4) Zinc plays a crucial role in healthy cell division, and because our nails grow so quickly, signs of deficiency make themselves known on your nails quicker than other areas. It may also help with protein synthesis, which means it may help athletes recovery faster.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is an antioxidant that has been shown to protect the body against free radicals.(5)
Vitamin B Complex: Think of B complex like like a factory made up of 11 incredibly diligent workers who ban together to create and sustain the bodies energy supply by breaking down the micronutrients we consume (fats, proteins, carbs). So while there are many different kinds of B vitamins (thiamin (B1), riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate (called folic acid when included in supplements), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin or methylcobalamin), they work together in your bodies operations. If you follow a gluten free, vegan, or vegetarian diet you may be missing some B’s.
Folic Acid: Whether you’re growing out your nails, promote mental health, or looking to fight inflammation, this ingredient has some serious potential benefits. And if you’re trying to cut pounds, here’s a bonus: one short study from Clinical Nutrition suggests that even a low-dose daily folic acid supplement could reduce inflammation in people who are overweight.(6)
Vitamin C: Also known as Ascorbic Acid, this vitamin is best known for boosting the immune system (though despite popular belief, mega-doses probably won’t protect you against the common cold and other diseases).(7) But it also helps in the production of collagen and wound healing.(8) Because our bodies cannot store Vitamin C, we need to get it either through food or supplementation regularly.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is involved in many bodily processes, including building proteins and enzymes, boosting the immune system, and fighting inflammation. It’s also good for bone health, which is why we look out for it in supplements in the 50+ crowd. Because it’s tricky to get the right amount from food, most people have to get the rest of your daily needs through sun exposure and supplementation.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that may help prevent damage to the body’s cells. Which is why it is essential for functional and structural maintenance of cardiac, skeletal and smooth muscle.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K can help reduce inflammatory markers; research shows that it may help protect against heart disease, as well as osteoporosis.(9)
Iron: Some of the benefits of iron include increased energy, better brain function, and healthy red blood cells.
Collagen: Collagen is the buzzy wellness ingredient. It’s actually a protein found in the connective tissue in our bodies, which means it’s in our skin, hair, muscles, bones, and even blood vessels. This is an especially interesting ingredient for women looking to reduce the appearance of cellulite and improve skin hydration.(10)
Magnesium: Magnesium is important for many processes in the body such as regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and even DNA.
Calcium: Vegans in particular should be on the lookout for this ingredient in their multi’s because they’re not getting it from it’s most common source: dairy.
Omega 3: You already try to seek out healthy fatty acids in your food (cue: avocado toast and salmon sushi)—but according to research, more than 70 percent of women don’t get enough omega-3s in their diet. Which is a problem because the may promote a stronger immune system, support cardiovascular, joint and vision health, strengthen skin, hair, and nails, and even enhance nutrient absorption and metabolic function.
Boron: Naturally found in prunes, almonds, and raisins, no one wants to drink that much prune juice. That’s why many multi’s include it for bone, heart, and joint health.
Coenzyme Q10: We consider CoQ10 a bonus ingredient anytime it shows up in a multi. It’s an antioxidant, which is a substance similar to a vitamin, and is found in every cell of the body. Your body makes CoQ10, and your cells use it to produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. Because levels of it decrease as we age, some seek supplementation.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Found in every cell in our body, alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that may help with inflammation. We naturally produce ALA in our body, but like collagen, our levels of it decrease as we age. So whenever we see it in a multivitamin, we’re especially amped for older woman.
Probiotics: It all started with yogurt. But now the buzz on probiotics are everywhere. These good bacteria help the body function more efficiently while bad bacteria do the opposite. If there are too many bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria, the balance of our microbiome get’s thrown off. And when our microbiome is off we’re left susceptible to disease-causing organisms and the runs. Probiotic supplements may help keep our gut happy, and they also have some potential health benefits like reduced blood pressure, improved cognitive function, better sleep quality, and weight loss.
What Are The Health Benefits Of A Multivitamin?
The question of supplements are confusing are confusing to many people. After all, shouldn’t eating a whole, fresh, unprocessed foods diet provide all the necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients we need?
The answer is yes and no. Even with a “perfect” diet, many things (like stress, sleep schedule, and even the storage and transportation of food) make it tough for you to get nutrients you need solely from the foods you eat. And some studies do show that incorporating nutritional supplements can improve certain health markers.
But the vitamin and minerals you should take and prioritize change with each stage of life. Just remember, whatever your age, a multivitamin can’t make up for a bad diet.
Picking the Best Multivitamin for You
We tried dozens of multivitamins to land on this list of the best on the market for you whether you’re a young woman, over the age of 50+, an athlete, or just want to bolster your overall health. We looked at the ingredients, price, taste, and quality for every one of these supplements and while plenty of people have different ideas as to what constitutes a “quality” multivitamin, we think we’ve put together the best darn guide to picking multivitamin on the interwebs.
And remember if you suspect that you have a vitamin deficiency, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider about getting work done to see if you’re low in any particular nutrient. Then from there, you and your doctor can work together to determine what particular foods you should be eating more of, or if a supplement makes sense for you.
Oh, and if you don’t go with one of the brands we mentioned above, note this: Vitamins and supplement claims do not have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. And the amount of studies done on any particular type of supplement (single vitamin capsules, multivitamin pills, or otherwise) are relatively few.
1. Glynis A. A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012 Nov;5(11):28-34.
2. Hochman LG, et al. Brittle nails: response to daily biotin supplementation. Cutis. 1993 Apr;51(4):303-5.
3. Scheinfeld N, et al. Vitamins and minerals: their role in nail health and disease. J Drugs Dermatol. 2007 Aug;6(8):782-7.
4. Cashman MW, et al. Nutrition and nail disease. Clin Dermatol. 2010 Jul-Aug;28(4):420-5. Palace VP, et al. Antioxidant potentials of vitamin A and carotenoids and their relevance to heart disease. Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Mar;26(5-6):746-61.
6. Valentini L, et al. Impact of personalized diet and probiotic supplementation on inflammation, nutritional parameters and intestinal microbiota – The “RISTOMED project”: Randomized controlled trial in healthy older people. Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;34(4):593-602.
7. Douglas RM, et al. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004 Oct 18;(4):CD000980.
8. Ringsdorf WM Jr, et al. Vitamin C and human wound healing. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1982 Mar;53(3):231-6.
9. Pearson DA. Bone health and osteoporosis: the role of vitamin K and potential antagonism by anticoagulants. Nutr Clin Pract. 2007 Oct;22(5):517-44.
10. Schunck M, et al. Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body Mass Index-Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology. J Med Food. 2015 Dec;18(12):1340-8.
Magnesium, an important mineral for women, can be depleted by stress, soda, caffeine, and certain medications.
As women, we tend to be more aware of the need to take care of our bodies and consider the best vitamins for women’s health needs. Face it, we don’t have a choice. Mother Nature’s blueprint isn’t exactly high-tech, and no matter what sophisticated gadgets we use, certain age-old processes are going to continue, both monthly and over the course of a woman’s lifetime. Fortunately, we’ve evolved nutritionally and learned that along with a clean diet, rich in nonstarchy veggies and lean protein, the right supplements can help smooth out the bumpy road of life.
3 Crucial Vitamins for Women
“Women don’t realize how critical some of the key micronutrients are, things like the B vitamins, vitamin D, and magnesium,” says Taz Bhatia, MD, integrative physician and author of Super Woman Rx and The 21-Day Belly Fix. “They play such a strong role in the course of all sorts of diseases, everything from autoimmune disease to cancer to diabetes, heart disease-all of that.” And they help eliminate common issues such as lack of energy and the effects of stress.
Here is a closer look at these three important supplements and vitamins for women:
1. B Vitamins & Healthy Hormone Production
They’re essential for healthy metabolism of sugars and starches and for hormone production. They help turn hormones into active or inactive forms, make sure hormones reach the correct destination within a woman’s body, and help eliminate excess hormones to prevent toxicity.
B vitamins are vital for the production of neurotransmitters. “B vitamins also help combat sugar cravings and fatigue, common symptoms that tend to accompany and promote hormone imbalance,” says Serena Goldstein, ND, a naturopathic doctor in New York specializing in natural hormone balance.
What to do: Eat whole grains, lean meat, fish, and eggs for food sources, and take a B-complex supplement with 25-50 mg of vitamins B1, B2, and B5; 400-600 mcg of folic acid; and 1,000 mcg of B12. B vitamins are best taken in the morning for energy.
2. Vitamin D3 & PMS, Depression, & Breast Cancer
Low levels of vitamin D, quite prevalent among women, are linked to greater odds of PMS, death from breast cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, difficult pregnancies, uterine fibroids, rheumatoid arthritis, impaired sugar metabolism, gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, heart disease, postmenopausal loss of bone and muscle, and higher risk of falls and fractures later in life, says Bhatia. Kidney stones can also be caused by too little vitamin D, says Goldstein. “Generally speaking we don’t get enough, even those who live below the equator,” she says. Optimal liver health is necessary for vitamin D absorption, adds Goldstein. “This is one of the reasons why I recommend the active form, D3, over D2, the inactive form.”
What to do: Get your vitamin D levels tested and take supplements based on your personal needs. Failing that, 1,000 IU daily is a safe amount to take, but may not be enough. Up to 5,000 IU can be taken daily. Ideal ranges tend to fall between 50 and 70, says Goldstein.
3. Magnesium & Anxiety, Constipation, & Insomnia
Like B vitamins, magnesium is essential for many processes within a woman’s body. A shortfall-which is all too common-can result in cramps, anxiety, constipation, sore muscles, sleep difficulties, and other unpleasant symptoms. “Magnesium can be depleted by stress, soda, caffeine, certain medications, and unfortunately, it’s not as prevalent in soil as decades ago,” says Goldstein.
What to do: Best taken in the evening to enhance sleep; start with 100 mg daily and work up to 200-800 mg. Cut back if you experience loose stools. It’s important to keep in mind that there are more than 10 different forms of magnesium, points out Goldstein, who advises working with a knowledgeable professional to find an appropriate form for your particular health goals.
As an alternative to pills or magnesium powders mixed in water, take a bath in Epsom salts: 2 cups in a warm tub, and soak for at least 15 minutes, three times a week. Another option to improve elimination: Massage one tablespoon of magnesium oil into your tummy and the soles of your feet each night before bed.
Did you know?
There are more than 10 different forms of magnesium. Work with a knowledgeable professional to find an appropriate form for your particular health goals.
Supplements for Bloating, Digestion, & Weight Loss
All of these issues are related and can be improved by enhancing the digestive process, says Bhatia. Constipation can be corrected with magnesium. In addition to eating whole foods, especially lean proteins and vegetables, these supplements can help:
At least 20 billion colony forming units (CFUs) per serving of four or five strains of beneficial bacteria.
A combination of amylase to break down starches, lipase for fats, and protease for proteins. Take them after the heaviest meal of the day.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):
First thing in the morning, drink a mixture of 1 Tbs. ACV with 4 Tbs. water. Or try a betaine HCL supplement, starting with 10-15 mg, just before your heaviest meal.
Supplements for Hormonal Imbalances
Hormone fluctuations are normal. In a perfect world, they would rebalance themselves, but our world is far from perfect. “Toxins are hormone disruptors, and women can have hormone deficiencies simply based upon that fact,” says Steven Hotze, MD, founder and CEO of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center in Houston, and author of Hormones, Health, and Happiness. Toxic chemicals can be found in foods, skin care products, and indoor and outdoor air, as well as in all types of conventional medications. “All these things are hormone disruptors,” Hotze says, “and they will adversely affect the body’s ability to produce or utilize hormones.”
In particular, toxins can be xenoestrogens, meaning they mimic estrogen, and create estrogen dominance-inflated estrogen levels in relation to progesterone. In addition, in the years approaching menopause (perimenopause), progesterone production naturally drops, so there’s a double-whammy effect. Symptoms can include irregular or heavy periods, brain fog, mood swings, breast swelling, headaches, fibroids, and for many, a feeling of “losing myself.”
Low levels of the active thyroid hormone, called T3, can also cause issues in women. Unfortunately, conventional blood tests may appear normal in these cases, because many doctors measure only the inactive, T4 form of the hormone, but don’t pay attention to the active, T3 form. They may suggest antidepressants to treat the symptoms instead of addressing the actual problem. Or, prescriptions of synthetic thyroid medication may raise the inactive T4 form, but not the active T3 form, and the problem persists.
Low levels of active thyroid hormone can deplete energy and make metabolism sluggish, leading to inexplicable weight gain, cold hands and feet, brain fog and moodiness, and fertility problems. They can also contribute to hair loss and a puffy, pasty appearance.
Supplements That Enhance Detoxification
Eating organic foods, using natural skin care and household products, and taking medications only when truly necessary helps reduce exposure to toxins, but it’s impossible to avoid them all. Sometimes, hormonal balance can’t be fully restored without customized testing and natural hormone prescriptions, but the right supplements can also help.
“A good vitamin program is important to stimulate detoxification in the body,” says Hotze. He recommends a formula with several pills per daily serving, including 5,000 IU of vitamin A; 50 mg of vitamin B1, B2, and B5 ; 200 mcg of chromium; and 50-100 mcg of selenium. In addition, consider taking these daily: extra magnesium, fish oil (get about 500 mg of a combination of EPA and DHA), 1,000 mg of vitamin C, and about 60 mg of CoQ10. These are some other remedies:
Bioidentical Progesterone Benefits:
Low-dose forms of progesterone cream, available in health food stores, may resolve the situation, or it may require customized testing and natural (technically called “bioidentical”) progesterone, and sometimes other hormones by prescription. Use progesterone on days 15-28 of a monthly cycle.
There are also many herbs that help support progesterone production, says Goldstein, such as chasteberry (vitex).
Vitamins for Thyroid Health:
These nutrients are especially important for producing and activating thyroid hormone.
- Magnesium: 600-1,000 mg daily, and perhaps more if you do intense exercise, as magnesium is lost in sweat. (See magnesium section above for different forms.)
- Vitamin B12: 1,000 mcg daily.
- Zinc: 20 mg daily.
- Iodine: 75 mcg daily.
- Vitamin A: 5,000 IU daily.
- Vitamin D: 1,000-2,000 IU daily.
- Selenium: Up to 200 mcg daily.
- Vitamin C: Loose stools are a sign of too much, but because stress depletes vitamin C, you may need more than you think. Start with 1,000 mg daily, but higher doses-1,000 mg per 25 pounds of body weight-may be helpful.
If you try these supplements and continue to have problems, look for a physician who is knowledgeable in nutrition and natural (bioidentical) hormone testing and treatment. For more information, visit the Institute for Functional Medicine (functionalmedicine.org) or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (naturopathic.org).
More Remedies for Fatigue, PMS, & Sleep
Women who have a family history of depression, past history of postpartum depression, or a mood disorder are more likely to suffer from PMS.
According to New York-based doctor Serena Goldstein, ND, the best vitamins and supplements for women (listed here by chief health complaint) include:
- Fatigue: B vitamins.
- Sleep issues: Magnesium before bedtime. If that doesn’t work, try melatonin: 1-6 mg of a slow-release form, 30 minutes before bed. Taking melatonin for a long period of time (different for everyone) can make people groggy upon waking up.
- Anxiety: Theanine, 200 mg, three times a day.
- Depression: B vitamins, preferably methylated forms (which are easier to absorb), such as the 5-MTHF form of folic acid.
- PMS: Turmeric root (not an extract), 2-3 grams daily, especially during the last two weeks before a menstrual cycle.
- Urinary tract infections: As a natural treatment, 500 mg of cranberry extract, three times a day. For prevention, take probiotics to maintain healthy bacteria, which help prevent infections. Goldstein adds: “Homeopathic Cantharis, when taken during the onset of a bladder infection, can be very effective.” Use 3 pellets of a 30C potency every 15 minutes, or until pain subsides. If pain continues to worsen or extends to lower back, seek urgent care.
- Healthy aging: In addition to the three basic nutrients, take 1,000 mg daily of vitamin C and 100-300 mg of CoQ10. In the case of inflammatory conditions, joint pain, autoimmune diseases, or a family history of heart or neurological problems, take fish oil: 2-3 grams daily of a combination of EPA and DHA.
Meet the Experts
For more information on the experts interviewed in this article, visit their websites:
Taz Bhatia, MD:
Dr. Taz specializes in helping women find natural ways to improve their health. In addition to phone consultations, Taz has clinics in the Atlanta area.
Serena Goldstein, ND:
Dr. Goldstein is known for her natural approach to weight loss, which incorporates three key strategies. Her office is in New York City.
Steven Hotze, MD:
Dr. Hotze is a noted author, radio host and founder of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center in Houston.
There are a lot of reasons why you might want to add vitamins and supplements to your healthy lifestyle routine. We got through so many phases in our life that demand varying levels of nutrients. So many women are overcoming health issues. Some women are experiencing hormonal changes due to pregnancy or perimenopause. Some women have genetic variations and feel better when they supplement with certain methylated vitamins.
Then there’s the soil in which our crops are grown. Today’s soil is more depleted of vitamins and minerals than it was generations ago due to modern farming practices, even if it is certified organic.
That’s why I’ve chosen to focus on what supplements would be ideal for a woman in her 30s to take. This article is appropriate for most women in our child-bearing years.
Special Considerations for Women in Our Childbearing Years
Women are generally considered to be of childbearing age between our late teens to late 40s, so we need to factor in special considerations when deciding which vitamin supplements to take.
Some of the ways vitamins and supplements can benefit our health include:
- supporting hormonal and thyroid balance
- preventing anemia from menstruation or childbirth
- and replenishing vitamins and minerals that have been depleted due to birth control, other medications, life stressors, exercise, food choices, and more.
Here’s a basic overview of what I consider the best vitamins and minerals for a woman in her 30s, or any woman of childbearing age. I’ve done my best to pick products that are all gluten-free and dairy-free, with a minimal amount of fillers and excess nutrients.
1. B-Vitamin Supplementation for Energy & Mood
B-Vitamins: The various B-vitamins are important cofactors for many body processes. B-vitamins are most often associated with having energy, but they’re actually important for mood and preventing depression too!
It’s estimated that nearly 40% of the population has an MTHFR genetic mutation. Most people who have this genetic mutation don’t know they have it, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, it does compromise B-vitamin absorption and usage.
For this reason, I actually recommend that women consuming B-vitamins opt for the methylated kind. One way to spot a methylated B-complex is to turn the label over to the ingredients list and look for the form of B-12 that says methylcobalamin. Don’t use a B-complex that says cyanocobalamin. This form is not methylated and may do more harm than good if you’re one of the estimated 40% of women with the MTHFR gene mutation.
B-vitamins are water-soluble so what you don’t use will just get washed out of your body. That said, it’s important to find a quality B-vitamin brand that doesn’t have a ton of fillers or extra ingredients, in addition to having the most absorbable forms of B-vitamins.
Recommended B-Vitamins Brand:
- Pure Encapsulations B-Complex Plus
2. Iron Supplementation to Prevent Anemia & Low Iron Stores
Iron: Anemia is the most common nutritional disorder worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that 30% of non-pregnant women are anemic and 40% of pregnant women are anemic, meaning that people do not have enough iron in their diets.
Being anemic can cause tiredness, insomnia, restless leg, headaches, and overall loss of energy. Most women don’t know that even being low in iron stores and not technically anemic can result in symptoms, including hair loss and low energy.
It is likely that most menstruating, pregnant, or postnatal women are low in iron stores, so it’s vitally important to have your ferritin level checked on a blood test ordered by your doctor, and then to supplement with iron if your levels aren’t between 40-70 mcg/L. I recommend checking your ferritin levels at least once a year, if not more often, because there are health risks involved with both under- and over-supplementing with iron.
Be sure to take your iron supplement with food to prevent stomach upset, and it’s also a good idea to take it at a different time of day than when you take your calcium supplement, and any thyroid hormone replacement.
Recommended Iron Supplement Brand:
- Kirkman Iron Bio-Max Series — 5 mg
3. Vitamin D for Immune Health & So Much More
Vitamin D: There’s a vitamin D deficiency epidemic among all Americans, both men and women. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because we can generally make it from exposure to sunlight. However, many of us are covering up or lathering on the SPF to block UV rays. There are also many of us who work indoors quite a bit and don’t have access to enough sunshine daily. Heck, even where you live can determine how much exposure to sunlight you can get throughout the year.
Vitamin D actually acts more like a hormone than a nutrient in the body. It’s been called the key that unlocks so many important functions in the body. Not only is vitamin D important for absorbing calcium, but a deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to various disorders such as certain cancers, autoimmune disorders and mood disorders.
A simple blood test called a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test can tell you if you have a deficiency. If your score on this test shows vitamin D levels less than 40, it is best to supplement with extra vitamin D. Your doctor will have a recommendation for how much vitamin D you should take based on your current levels. Once you start supplementing with vitamin D, it’s a good idea to re-test your levels in about 6-8 weeks, and then every 6 months or so thereafter.
Recommended Vitamin D brand:
- NutriGold Vitamin D3 Gold — 1000 IU
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Mood and Inflammation
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: The fatty acids from omega-3s (DHA and EPA) are considered essential fatty acids. This means that our bodies cannot produce them on their own, so we need to get them from food or supplements. Salmon and other cold water fatty fish are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. However, supplementation is often recommended to ensure we’re getting enough of these essential fatty acids.
Several studies have shown omega 3 fatty acids to benefit us by fighting depression and anxiety, improving eye health, reducing risk factors of heart disease, controlling symptoms of ADHD in children, reducing symptoms of metabolic syndrome, and fighting chronic inflammation.
Krill oil is a more sustainable source of omega-3 fatty acids than regular fish oil, and is the type of omega-3 fatty acid I take myself.
Recommended Omega-3 Fatty Acid brand:
- NutriGold Krill Oil Gold
5. Magnesium Supplementation Can Improve PMS Symptoms & Anxiety
An estimated 70-90% of the US population is deficient in magnesium. The main reasons are not eating enough unprocessed foods, magnesium depletion in the soil, and the over-consumption of processed foods that block magnesium absorption.
This mineral is an important one because our bodies depend on it as a cofactor for over 300 bodily processes. People with magnesium deficiency may experience muscle cramps, unexplained fatigue, mood disorders, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, nausea, and muscle weakness. You can read another article on my site that talks about how magnesium supplementation can benefit anxiety, insomnia, migraines and PMS symptoms.
There are many forms of magnesium. I generally recommend magnesium glycinate as the overall best form since this is the one that most people can absorb and use best. For constipation and restlessness at night, magnesium citrate can be helpful.
Recommended brand of magnesium supplements:
- Pure Encapsulations Magnesium (glycinate)
6. Probiotics to Support Gut Health
Probiotics: Many women have taken at least several rounds of antibiotics by the time we reach our 30s. Antibiotic consumption can disrupt the gut microbiome and can lead to leaky gut and other serious conditions. Other factors can disrupt the gut microbiome include eating a diet too low in healthy fat, eating a diet high in processed foods, food sensitivities or allergies, and stress.
Probiotic supplementation is helpful because these “friendly” bacteria help to keep our guts healthy. Other benefits of probiotic consumption include reduced occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, infections of the digestive tract, and eczema. You might also like this article with the best foods for natural probiotics.
Recommended probiotic supplement:
- Just Thrive Probiotic Supplement
7. Calcium + K2 to Protect Bone Health
Calcium + K2: Calcium is important for bone health. Our muscles and nerves also need calcium to function optimally. Calcium has also been shown to protect against certain cancers, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Some women may require extra calcium supplementation if they avoid calcium rich foods (such as dairy products) or know they are at higher risk for osteoporosis.
Calcium supplementation is tricky. If not done properly, calcium supplementation can put you at risk for kidney stones, hardened blood vessels, and heart disease. For this reason, I generally recommend that women who are supplementing with calcium take an added K2 supplement along with it.
Vitamin K2 has been shown to help calcium go where it’s intended to go, such as the bones. Other K2 benefits are that it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and varicose veins, help regulate blood sugar, improve exercise performance, help with symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and prevent kidney stones.
Recommended Calcium & K2 brand (this one also has vitamin D3):
- Pure Encapsulations Calcium K-D
8. Start taking a Prenatal Before You Get Pregnant
Prenatal: Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins specifically formulated for women of childbearing age. Prenatals contain more folate and iron than a standard multivitamin since these are vitamins needed for better baby development. The iron boost will also help prevent anemia from blood loss during delivery. It’s important to look for a prenatal that contains good levels of zinc, copper, iodine and vitamin D as well. And, please don’t buy prenatals that contain folic acid, look for folate instead.
Some recommendations of quality prenatal vitamins include (don’t take additional iron unless advised by your doctor, since these prenatal vitamins contain iron too):
- Pure Encapsulations PreNatal Nutrients
- NutriGold Organic Prenatal Multi Gold
How to Manage Your Vitamin Supplements
Those are my top 8 vitamins for a women in her 30s, or any woman in her child-bearing years. Of course, we’re all individuals, so you might take fewer or more depending on a number of factors. I tried to include a good mix of brands that meet my standards for both quality and price. In many cases, you get what you pay for when it comes to supplements, so it’s a good idea to read the labels.
Also, since we’re talking about taking a minimum of eight different vitamins a day, I recommend buying a weekly supplement box that you refill at the beginning of each week. This makes it SO much easier to manage the various vitamin supplements. I like this weekly supplement box with pretty colored boxes for each day.
Here are some commonly-asked questions regarding vitamin supplements for women in their 30s.
How do I chose a vitamin brand?
You get what you pay for! This is especially true in the world of supplements. If you want higher quality supplements, you need to expect to pay a little bit more. I don’t usually recommend vitamins from big box stores or local drug stores. If you’re sensitive to gluten, soy, dairy, or any other allergens, be sure to read the label for those, as well.
What is the best natural supplement brand?
There are several brands that do things right. They use natural ingredients with very little or no fillers. See my list above for my favorite brand recommendations!
When should I take my vitamins?
Supplement companies put recommendations for usage on their product labels. It’s best to follow their guidelines. I generally recommend that most supplements be taken with meals unless stated otherwise.
Vitamins like A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble and are best absorbed when consumed with a meal that contains a bit of healthy fat. If you take these vitamins on an empty stomach, they are less likely to be absorbed.
If you’re taking a separate B-complex supplement, then this one is better to take on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. B-vitamins are water soluble. Some people can get an upset stomach when taking vitamins on an empty stomach. To avoid this, make sure you are taking these vitamins with at least 8 ounces of water, if not more. And then wait at least 30 minutes to consume anything else.
I also don’t recommend taking supplements with caffeinated beverages since caffeine is a diuretic. Caffeine may prevent the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Giving yourself a 60-minute buffer between supplementation and caffeine consumption can ensure better absorption.
If I eat a healthy diet, do I really need to take vitamins?
Vitamin and mineral supplementation is highly individualized. A very limited number of people may not require extra supplementation if they’re eating a very healthy diet full of whole, unprocessed foods.
Gut health status also determines what vitamins supplementation you might need. If someone has optimal stomach acid levels and no risk of leaky gut, then supplementation may not be necessary. However, the majority of women in their 30s do not have optimal digestion due to medications, caffeine consumption, low stomach acid, genetic mutations, past diet choices, hormonal status, and/or stress.
Modern farming practices have also depleted soil of the amount of vitamins and minerals it once contained. So even if you’re eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, these crops may not be as nutritionally dense as they once were generations ago.
When should I start taking a prenatal vitamin?
It’s best to start prenatal supplementation before you conceive. It’s a good idea for any woman of reproductive age to take a prenatal, even if she isn’t planning to conceive anytime soon. It’s safe to take prenatals during your entire pregnancy and beyond.
Because prenatals contain higher doses of certain vitamins, some women may experience queasiness after taking them. If you experience this, make sure you are taking your prenatal with meals and plenty of water. It’s not safe to double up on prenatal consumption because of the higher doses of certain vitamins. Too much vitamin A can cause liver toxicity.
The Eight Vitamin Supplements for a 30-Year Old Woman
- Methylated B-vitamins
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Calcium + K2
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READ NEXT: WOULD YOU BENEFIT FROM GOING DAIRY-FREE?
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