The 9 Best Multivitamins for Women, According to a Dietitian

How to choose a women's multivitamin that is right for you

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Best Multivitamins for Women

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Approximately 50 percent of Americans take a supplement, one of the most common being a multivitamin. Research has even shown that adults and children who take multivitamins have increased intake of important micronutrients than those who don’t. While you can technically get all the nutrients that you need from food, not everyone eats a perfectly balanced diet all the time, so a multivitamin is a great supplement to back you up. It's interesting to note that women are more likely than males to take a multivitamin, especially as they age. While more research is still needed, evidence from large studies and randomized trials has suggested that multivitamins may potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

Registered Dietitian, Sydney Greene, MS RDN, notes, "Vitamins and minerals depend on one another for their absorption and activation. For example, research looking at the health effect of Vitamin D and K on bone health shows the best outcomes when the vitamins are taken together rather than alone." Additionally, Adelaide Hearst McClintock, M.D of Women's Health Care Center at UWMC-Roosevelt says, "For women of reproductive age, a vitamin with 400-800 micrograms of folate is ideal. This helps prevent neural tube defects in the event you become pregnant."

Whether you're looking to boost your overall health, prevent a deficiency, support a healthy pregnancy, or fill a gap in your diet, there are many women-specific multivitamin options to choose from, based on everything from your age and activity level to specific nutrients of concern and budget.

What to Look for in a Multivitamin for Women

Iron and Calcium:

Iron and calcium are both vital nutrients in a woman’s diet, with iron recommendations being higher for women over the age of 19, and calcium recommendations being highest for women under the age of 19. 

Calcium and iron compete for absorption, so it’s not optimal to take them together. If taking both as a supplement rather than getting them from food, it’s best to take them a few hours apart. Also of note, these vitamins may be more important for menstruating women. It's important to note that iron supplementation may cause constipation, so consult your physician on what dosage is right for you and monitor your symptoms to prevent GI complications.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a form of folate, which is an important B vitamin for neurological and genetic development. For that reason, folic acid supplements are recommended for those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

There are also a number of women with a common genetic mutation that inhibits the conversion of synthetic folic acid to its active form called 5-MTHF. That’s why opting for a multivitamin that contains natural folate or 5-MTHF may be optimal. While folate is a nutrient of concern for pregnant women because of neural tube defects, it’s also critical for healthy cell growth and can support hair, skin, and nail health in those who are not pregnant.

Form

Consider the physical form of a vitamin, meaning capsule, gummy, or chewable when choosing a multivitamin. Consider which form you will tolerate best and can easily incorporate into your daily routine. For example, some of them come in very large capsules or pills that are difficult to swallow, which may make it less likely that the user will take them.

Certification

Because nutrition supplements are not closely regulated or broadly tested in the United States, selecting a third-party tested product is a great way to ensure that you’re choosing a safe, effective product. Third-party testing is a control process where an independent lab assesses a product to see if it meets certain criteria and standards for purity, potency and safety. There are many third-party organizations you can look for on the label including: NSF, USP, LabDoor, and ConsumerLab.

Women's Multivitamin Dosage

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

There is no specific regulatory definition or standard of what nutrients a multivitamin must contain and at what levels. Therefore there are no RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) guidelines established for multivitamins. However, there are RDAs and ULs (Tolerable Upper Intake Level) for the individual vitamins and minerals they contain, outlined by the National Institutes of Health.

You may notice that some supplements have vitamin and mineral contents that exceed the RDAs, but it's important to remember that many factors influence nutrient bioavailability, meaning your body's ability to absorb and utilize the nutrient, so your body might not actually be absorbing the amount listed on the bottle. For that reason, supplement companies often add more than the RDA.

Excess consumption of water-soluble vitamins is filtered through the kidneys and excreted, but fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) can be stored in your body (primarily in fatty tissue and the liver). Be sure not to exceed the UL (Tolerable Upper Intake Level) for vitamins and minerals, particularly for supplemental fat-soluble vitamins.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do multivitamins work?

    Yes, multivitamins can be effective in filling in the nutritional gaps in your diet, meaning they can help you meet the recommended intake of vitamins and minerals when you cannot meet these needs from food alone.

    Nutritional needs vary from person to person and are dependent on many factors including age, gender, lifestyle, and overall health status. For the average healthy individual who has a varied diet, multivitamin supplementation may not be necessary. However, for women of reproductive age, older individuals, or vegans and vegetarians, taking a multivitamin daily may be best to ensure they are meeting their specific, daily nutrient needs. Whether or not a multivitamin will work for you depends on the product and level of compliance in taking it. Additionally, some vitamins are best absorbed through whole foods rather than supplement form.

  • What is the best time to take a multivitamin?

    There is not enough research to give a definitive answer to the best time of day, but many individuals have success when taking a multivitamin in the morning with breakfast. Taking your multivitamin with a meal may enhance absorption of some vitamins, increase compliance, and reduce stomach upset and nausea in comparison to taking them on an empty stomach. For example, fat-soluble vitamins, including A,D,E,K, are best absorbed with a meal incorporating dietary fat.

  • Do I need to take a multivitamin every day for it to be effective?

    In general, if you are taking a multivitamin, you want to be consistent with your regimen. However, whether or not you need to take a multivitamin daily depends on your individual nutrient needs, goals, and diet. If you have a diagnosed deficiency, you may require increased dosage and daily maintenance of certain vitamins and minerals to build your levels to within normal range, so it's important to discuss your specific needs with your physician. It's important to note that a multivitamin shouldn't be relied on for disease prevention or used as a substitute for a balanced diet and important lifestyle choices.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science, as well as clinically tested and approved for use in humans. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. These attributes include non-GMO, Organic, and allergy-friendly products that are free of most artificial ingredients including colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners. When possible, we recommend products that are third-party tested and certified.

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

Here, the best multivitamins for women:

Best Overall: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Women's Raw Whole Food Vitamin Supplement

Box of vitamin code for women vitamins
Pros
  • Made with whole foods

  • Includes probiotics and digestive enzymes

  • Extra antioxidant support

Cons
  • Dose is four capsules daily

  • Expensive

A high-quality multivitamin known for its purity, Garden Of Life Vitamin Code For Women is specifically formulated for women to support breast, reproductive, bone, skin, and heart health. It’s made from nutritious and raw whole foods, so more of the vitamins and minerals may be absorbed into your bloodstream in comparison to synthetic-made multivitamins. Unlike other multivitamins, you can take them on an empty stomach with a simple glass of water.

Vitamin Code contains both vitamins and minerals, including folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins A, C, D3, E, and B-complex, that support women’s specific nutritional needs. With live enzymes and antioxidants, they may help keep your digestion and immune systems running strong. Each 4 capsule serving (2 capsules twice daily) contains a mix of gut-healthy lactobacillus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae bacteria. The supplement is also third-party verified so you can rest assured about the quality.

Key nutrients: Folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D3, B-complex, probiotics | Vegan: No | Vegetarian: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: None

Best Whole-Food Based: New Chapter Every Woman's One Daily Multivitamin

Pros
  • Includes anti-inflammatory ingredients

  • No artificial colors or flavors

Cons
  • Soy allergens

New Chapter's Every Woman's One Daily Multi is a non-GMO, certified organic multivitamin that contains key nutrients in a highly absorbable fermented form. The vitamins are made from whole food ingredients, which are thought to be better absorbed than synthetic (laboratory-made) nutrients, although more research is needed.

Note that the vitamin contains fermented soy, so it is not suitable for those with soy allergies. However, the vitamin is certified gluten-free by NSF, is 100 percent vegetarian, and contains no artificial colors or flavors. The blend also contains superfood anti-inflammatory ingredients such as ginger, turmeric, and chamomile to promote optimal overall health.

Key nutrients: B12, D3, ginger, turmeric, chamomile, maca | Vegan: No | Vegetarian: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: Yes | Additives: None

Best Budget: Nature Made Women's Multivitamin Tablets

Nature Made Women's Multivitamin Tablets
Pros
  • One tablet per day

  • Includes 300 tablets for great value

  • Includes essential vitamins and minerals for bone health

Cons
  • Gelatin isn't vegan friendly

With 300 once-daily tablets per bottle, the Nature Made Multi for Her is a great budget-friendly option. They're packed with 23 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D3 for muscle, bone, and immune health. These vitamins also contain iron and calcium, which are essential for women's blood and bone health respectively.

The USP-Verified mark ensures that the multi is made up of ingredients that are consistent with the ingredients listed on the label and that they do not contain harmful contaminants. They're also gluten-free and void of added colors and artificial flavors.

Key nutrients: Vitamin D3, iron, calcium | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: No | Organic: No | Additives: None

Best without Iron (Ages 55+): New Chapter Multivitamin for Women 50 plus

New Chapter Multivitamin for Women 50 plus
Pros
  • One tablet per day

  • Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices

  • Less iron for women post menopause

Cons
  • Expensive

Nutrition needs for women change as they age. Iron supplementation is not typically recommended for postmenopausal women, as their need for iron goes down with the cessation of menstruation. New Chapter's Every Woman's One Daily Multi 55+ is free of iron but is specifically formulated with vitamin D to help support strong bones and a blend of B vitamins to promote optimal energy.

The fermented, whole food, once-daily multivitamin is easy on digestion and promotes optimal absorption. The certified organic multi provides additional holistic support through herbs and spices such as turmeric, which may reduce inflammation and be helpful for those with arthritis.

Key nutrients: Vitamin D, B vitamins, turmeric, selenium | Vegan: No | Vegetarian: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: Yes | Additives: None

Best Allergy-Friendly: MegaFood Women's One Daily

Women's One Daily
Pros
  • Free of most common allergens

  • Vegetarian friendly

  • Better choice for pre-menopausal women

Cons
  • Lacks calcium for post-menopausal women

MegaFood multivitamins are great for those with allergies, as they are gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. The vegetarian, non-GMO tablets are easy to swallow and can be taken on an empty stomach. The antioxidant-rich ingredients support a strong immune system and encourage healthy hair, skin, and nails.

Additionally, the formula is calcium-free and provides 9 milligrams of iron. The lack of calcium promotes optimal absorption of iron, which can be helpful for those who lose blood monthly while menstruating. The multi also provides immune-boosting vitamin C and bone-building vitamin D3.

Key nutrients: Vitamin C, D3, folic acid, iron | Vegan: No | Vegetarian: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: None

Best Gummies: Garden of Life mykind Organics Women's Gummy Vitamins

Garden of Life mykind Organics Women's Gummy Vitamins
Pros
  • Vegan-friendly gummies

  • Easy to chew and swallow

  • High source of vitamins D3 and B12

Cons
  • Added sugar

The delicious, berry-flavored mykind Organics Women's Multi Gummies check many boxes. They are certified organic and non-GMO Project Verified to ensure the cleanest possible ingredients. The chews are made with pectin from non-GMO apples and organic orange peel (instead of pig gelatin), so they are vegan-friendly.

Each serving of 4 gummies provides a wide range of whole food, plant-based vitamins, and minerals with only 5 grams of sugar. Of note is the 800 IU of vegan vitamin D3 sourced from lichen, which helps to promote healthy bones. Each serving also offers 150 percent daily value of vitamin B12 to help keep blood and nerve cells healthy.

Key nutrients: Vitamin D3 and B12 | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: Yes | Additives: 4 grams added sugar from organic fruit

Best with Omega-3s: SmartyPants PHD Women's Formula

SmartyPants PHD Women's Formula
Pros
  • Vegan-friendly tablets

  • Free of most common allergens

  • Includes omega-3 oils

Cons
  • Does not include iron

SmartyPants PHD Women's Formula capsules are AVA-Certified Vegan. The non-GMO, gelatin-free pills are also free of the top nine most common allergens, including milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat, sesame, peanuts, and tree nuts.

These naturally-flavored berry mint multivitamins go above and beyond, as they contain plant-based omega-3 DHA from algal oil to promote heart and brain health. The easy-to-swallow capsules also include an antioxidant blend of 29 fruit, vegetable, and herb extracts and concentrates.

Key nutrients: Omega-3 from DHA, CoQ10, vitamin D3, lutein, zeaxanthin | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: None

Best Prenatal: Thorne Research Basic Prenatal

Thorne Basic Prenatal
Pros
  • High amounts of folic acid for pregnancy

  • Formulated to reduce nausea

  • Free of major allergens

  • No additives or artificial flavors and colors

Cons
  • Not vegan friendly

When looking for a prenatal vitamin, it's important to select a product with adequate folic acid in a form you can absorb. The CDC recommends that women of reproductive age take 400 micrograms of folic acid—the synthetic version of folate—to protect against neural tube defects.

While taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid and eating a balanced diet can help meet your folate needs, many people have a common genetic mutation, also known as an MTHFR variation, that may affect how the body processes folic acid. It's unnecessary to test for this genetic mutation unless recommended by your health care provider, but if you're concerned, you can take a prenatal vitamin with methylated folate (L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate).

Thorne Research's Basic Prenatal is an excellent option for women trying to conceive, are pregnant, or breastfeeding. Each serving of three capsules provides over 100 percent of the daily value of methylated folate, iron, and vitamin D. The supplement is specifically formulated to reduce nausea and is free of additives and the top eight allergens.

Key nutrients: Folic acid, iron, vitamin D | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: No | Organic: No | Additives: None

Best Subscription: Ritual Essential for Women

ritual
Pros
  • Vegan sources of omega-3 oils

  • Get easy refills to your door

Cons
  • Does not include vitamin C

A subscription-based multivitamin is perfect for women who take multivitamins consistently but forget—or lack the time—to pick up new bottles when they run out. Ritual offers a multivitamin formulated for women ages 18 to 49 that is conveniently delivered every month, so you never miss a day.

Each two-capsule serving contains key nutrients that women typically lack in their diet, including vitamins D, E, and B12. The super clean ingredients also include folate, iron, and DHA. Like all Ritual products, each ingredient is traceable, so you know exactly where each nutrient came from.

The delayed-release capsule design and mint flavor help to reduce nausea associated with taking supplements. The multivitamin is also Non-GMO Project Verified, USP Verified, and free of major allergens, artificial colors, and synthetic fillers.

Key nutrients: Vitamin D, E, B12, folate, iron, DHA | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: None

Final Verdict

For a whole-food-based, third-party verified multivitamin that's formulated for women, try Garden of Life's Vitamin Code Women Whole Food Multivitamin (view at Amazon).

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