The 7 Best Supplements for Women, According to a Dietitian

Plus, how to choose based on your goals and needs

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Many adults in the United States take at least one supplement. A dietary supplement may include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, or other health-promoting ingredients. While a healthy, balanced diet can help you to get adequate amounts of essential nutrients, some women require dietary supplements such as calcium or vitamin D to ensure they're meeting their needs.

Particularly for women, it's important to keep in mind that not all supplements are regulated by the FDA. Many supplements have questionable ingredients, or make false promises of weight loss or energy boosts. These may cause more harm than good. Selecting a high-quality supplement that is appropriate for your individual nutrition needs is key. Always speak with your health care provider about your individual needs before adding a supplement to your routine.

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

Here, the best supplements for women.

Best Probiotic Supplement: Culturelle Daily Probiotic

Culturelle Daily Probiotic

Courtesy of Amazon

The excitement in probiotic research has exploded in recent years, with scientists investigating possible connections between gut bacteria and everything from mental health to skin health, and even immune function. Probiotics, or "good" bacteria, are a particularly helpful supplement for overall wellness for women. Plus, evidence shows that probiotics may also help prevent and treat urinary tract infections, a common issue for women.

For an effective, widely available, and affordable probiotic, consider Culturelle's Daily Digestive Probiotic. Each easy-to-swallow, once-daily capsule provides 10 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a well-studied probiotic. The gelatin-free capsules are excellent for vegetarians and also contain inulin, a prebiotic that acts as food for the healthy bacteria. While probiotics are fantastic for women who experience occasional digestive issues, they're also great for women who travel frequently. Culturelle recommends taking one capsule twice daily while traveling to avoid any digestive issues.

Best Iron Supplement: Slow Fe Slow Release Iron Supplement Tablets

Slow Fe Slow Release Iron Supplement Tablets

Courtesy of Amazon

Iron is one of the minerals that women need to pay more attention to than men. According to the NIH recommendations, men ages 19 to 50 years are recommended to consume 8 mg of iron a day, while women the same age are encouraged to consume more than double that amount—approximately 18 mg per day—as a result of iron lost during menstruation. Iron is a necessary component in normal cellular growth, development, and functioning. Low iron levels and anemia are common in women, so if you are concerned, it is best to speak with your physician about your individual iron levels.

Most women can get enough iron from the food they eat, but if your doctor recommends supplementing, try this option from Slow FE. Slow FE's high-potency, slow-release tablets replenish iron levels without common gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and abdominal discomfort. The controlled release system delivers iron to the body slowly, which is gentler on the stomach.

Each easy-to-swallow pill provides 45 mg of elemental iron, which is equivalent to 142 mg of ferrous sulfate, a common form of iron.

Best Calcium Supplement: Bluebonnet Calcium Citrate, Magnesium, and Vitamin D3


 Courtesy of Amazon

Calcium is an essential mineral that is needed to maintain healthy bones, especially in women. According to the National Institutes of Health, calcium is considered a nutrient of concern for most Americans, and older women need to consume even more than men of the same age. Women ages 19 to 50 are advised to get 1,000 milligrams per day, while women above the age of 50 should aim for 1,200 milligrams per day.

Bluebonnet's Calcium Citrate supplement provides a mix of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D3 to support optimal bone health. Magnesium is needed to activate vitamin D, and vitamin D helps to regulate calcium balance and improve absorption of the bone-building mineral. Each serving of four caplets provides 1,000 milligrams of calcium citrate, 800 IU of highly absorbable vitamin D3, and 400 milligrams of magnesium aspartate. Calcium citrate has been shown to cause less gastrointestinal side effects than calcium carbonate and is absorbed equally well when taken with a meal or alone.

These calcium caplets are an excellent option for those who have dietary restrictions or allergies, as it is free of milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans, yeast, gluten, barley, and sugar. 

Best Magnesium Supplement: Natural Vitality CALM Gummies

 Natural Vitality CALM

Magnesium is found in a lot of foods—from bananas to dairy, to nuts and grains, and even potatoes—and it’s a key player in blood pressure regulation, bone formation, hormone secretion, and normal heart rhythm. While it's abundant in a healthy, balanced diet, some women don't get enough of the important nutrient and may benefit from a supplement. Plus, evidence shows that magnesium supplementation may reduce feelings of anxiety.

Each serving of raspberry-lemon-flavored Natural Vitality Calm Gummies provides 330 milligrams of magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate. According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily allowance of magnesium for females is generally about 320 milligrams per day, with an upper limit of 350 milligrams. One serving of these tasty gummies provides all that you may need, and they're also vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO Project Verified.

Best Vitamin D Supplement: Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3-25 mcg

Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3-25 mcg

Courtesy of Amazon

Vitamin D is an important vitamin that supports mood, bone health, and immune function. Although the body naturally makes vitamin D with sun exposure, it can be a challenge to meet the recommendation of at least 600 IUs of vitamin D per day. Many physicians suggest taking a supplement such as Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3. Each once-daily soft gel provides 1000 IU of D3, a form of vitamin D which has been shown to improve mood status in women with anxiety and vitamin D deficiency.

Nordic Natural's non-GMO product is third-party tested and NSF-Certified to ensure you're getting the highest quality vitamin possible that complies with strict manufacturing standards. Nordic Naturals recommends taking the supplement with food, as vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which is best absorbed with healthy sources of fat in the diet.

Best Fish Oil Supplement: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega

Omega-3 fatty acids are recommended as part of a healthy diet for women because they are believed to play a role in cancer prevention and also support the health of the heart, eyes, and brain. The National Institutes of Health recommends women ages 14 and older consume 1.1 grams of omega-3s per day. The best sources of omega-3 are foods like fatty fish and some nuts and seeds, but fish oil supplements can also play a role.

When looking for the best fish oil supplement, consider Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega. It's made from the highest quality ingredients, contains potent omega-3s, and is easy to take with no fishy aftertaste. The soft gels have a fresh lemon taste and are made from 100% wild-caught sardines and anchovies.

Each two soft gel serving contains 1280 milligrams of total omega-3s with 650 milligrams EPA, 450 milligrams DHA, and 180 milligrams of other omega-3s. The non-GMO verified supplement comes in a highly absorbable form of omega-3s, is Friend of the Sea certified, and is third-party purity tested. If you're not a fan of swallowing pills, Nordic Naturals offers the same product in liquid form.

Best Vitamin B Supplement: Country Life Coenzyme B-Complex with Methylfolate

Country Life Coenzyme B Complex

To make sure you’re getting enough of all eight B vitamins—thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folate, and cobalamin—in your diet, add Country Life's Coenzyme B-Complex Caps to your routine. Each two-capsule serving contains over 100% of the recommended daily value of nearly every B vitamin in its most active form (It only has 67% of the daily value for biotin.). B vitamins, especially folate and B12, are incredibly important for women, particularly during pregnancy.

Two particular types of B vitamins stand out: vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin and folate as L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate. Research suggests that methylcobalamin, the naturally-occurring form of B12, is more readily absorbed than synthetic cyanocobalamin. The supplement also contains Quatrefolic, a metabolized form of folate, that bypasses many conversion steps in the body to deliver folate the body can immediately use.

Plus, these gluten-free, vegan caps rank at the top of the list among comparable B-complex supplements on the third-party testing site, Manufactured using renewable energy and packaged in a recyclable container, these capsules are a smart choice for you and the planet.

Final Verdict

A probiotic, like Culturelle (view at Amazon), is an excellent supplement for most women.

What to Look for in a Supplement for Women

Nutritional Needs

Many women decide to take supplements because they have (or want to avoid) a nutritional deficiency in their diet. For instance, if you know you don’t get enough vitamin D in your diet, or you have limited sun exposure, you may decide to take a vitamin D supplement. However, it’s essential to ensure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients because taking too much of certain ingredients can lead to health problems. Always speak with your doctor to create a supplement regimen tailored to your needs.

Health Goals

Similarly, you’ll want to think about your health and wellness goals when choosing a supplement. If you wish to support bone health, a mix of vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium might be a good option. If you want to improve your mood, there are supplements formulated for that. It all depends on what you’re hoping to achieve and what is appropriate considering your individual nutrition needs.

Supplement Form

If you prefer not to take a pill every day, look for supplements that come in gummy, lozenge, powder, or liquid form. Always check the ingredient list to ensure that the product is low in added sugar and contains adequate levels of the vitamin, mineral, or supplement you're trying to add to your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I know what supplements I need?

    Talk to your healthcare provider to find out what supplements you need. Your specific nutrient needs depend on many factors, including your age, medical history, and usual diet. 

    However, you may benefit from taking nutritional supplements if you’re pregnant or could get pregnant, you are postmenopausal, or you follow a vegetarian diet.

    Women of childbearing age need 400 micrograms of folic acid to prevent birth defects in the event you become pregnant. After menopause, your rate of bone loss increases, putting you at risk of developing osteoporosis, and you may benefit from supplementing with calcium and vitamin D. If you follow a vegetarian diet, you may need to supplement with vitamin B12, which is only found in animal products.

  • What are the benefits of supplements?

    Nutritional supplements can help you get the essential nutrients your body needs if you’re unable to get them from your diet. Some supplements may also reduce your risk of developing a chronic disease.

    However, you shouldn’t use supplements as a replacement for a healthy, balanced diet. Supplements can complement your diet, but they may not provide all the health-promoting nutrients you get from eating healthy food.

  • Why are supplements important for women?

    Supplements are important for women because they provide essential nutrients that you may not get from your diet. Your nutritional needs change as you go through each life stage, including the start of your period, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.

    Taking the right nutritional supplements at the right stage of life may prevent health problems like anemia, birth defects, and osteoporosis.

What Experts Say

"To avoid nausea or gastrointestinal distress, avoid taking supplements on an empty stomach or taking multiple supplements at once. Instead, take supplements with a little bit of food. If a supplement contains fat-soluble vitamins—vitamins A, E, D, or K—you need fat to absorb them properly. If you take multiple supplements, spread them out over the day to ensure maximum absorption. Taking them all at once can overwhelm the gut and cause you to pee out some of the nutrients you'd otherwise absorb."
Allison Koch, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

A personal note on my recommendations: As a dietitian, I am careful to recommend supplements. In writing this article, I spent time reviewing the most current clinical research on various popular supplements, looking at multiple products and brands, and consulting with trusted peers in dietetics. I believe the supplements in the round-up are made by trusted brands and are composed of high-quality ingredients that will benefit most women.
Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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16 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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