In a perfect world, we would sleep eight hours every night, foam roll after every workout, and eat seven servings of vegetables every day.
But this isn't a perfect world. And for many of us, consuming the suggested 5-7 daily servings of fruits and veggies just isn't happening. Fortunately, that's where multivitamins can help us out.
In the simplest terms, multivitamins are supplements designed to fill in nutritional gaps. They offer numerous micronutrients (e.g., vitamins and minerals) that — ideally — we should get from whole foods, but sometimes miss.
Whether you travel for work, have a hectic career, or are a working mom, eating a balanced diet isn't always realistic. Below, we explain how to find the best multivitamin for women, including desirable (and undesirable) ingredients, why you should take a multivitamin, and what to look for on the label.
Please note: This post is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Before taking a daily multivitamin, please speak to your physician or a registered dietitian (RD or RDN).
As described by an article from News in Health, more than half of all Americans take one or more dietary supplements. From probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, vegan multivitamins, and even turmeric, dietary supplements like these products help fill in nutritional gaps in our diets.
While it's true you don't need to take a dietary supplement to get your daily dose of vitamins, it can certainly make life easier. When looking for the best multivitamin for women, look for supplements that contain the following key nutrients:
According to Mercy Medical Center, nearly half the American population — 42%, to be exact — are deficient in vitamin D. Some people, including premenopausal women, have an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Unless you spend a great deal of your time outside, it's important to take a women's multivitamin with vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to your teeth, skin, muscle, and bone health.
As described by Hopkins Medicine, those with low vitamin D levels have a great risk of suffering from a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Vitamin D3, in particular, has been shown to improve heart health, decrease obesity risks, and protect against high blood pressure.
In addition, in pregnant women, low vitamin D levels are tied to pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and other complications.
There are a number of B vitamins, including niacin, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin B5, vitamin B8 (biotin), vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and others — all of which come with various health benefits. A B complex vitamin generally provides a combination of B vitamins to support energy, boost metabolism, produce red blood cells, and regulate hormone production.
If you are a woman who balances work, family, and her own personal life, yet always feels drained of energy, you may want to increase your intake of vitamin B1 (i.e., thiamine). Vitamin B1 helps metabolize fatty acids and gives your body energy.
In addition, the best multivitamins for women will contain vitamin B12, which helps make red blood cells. Red blood cells, in turn, carry oxygen to the rest of your body. A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, which impacts 9-12% of white women, and 20% of Black and Hispanic women (compared to just 2% of men), according to American Family Physician.
As a woman, your daily dose of vitamin C is extremely important. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body, protecting against damage caused by free radicals.
Vitamin A is essential for vision, reproduction, and immune health. Found in green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, fish, organ meats, and some dairy products, vitamin A is linked to a decreased risk in some cancers and macular degeneration.
While vitamin A deficiency is rare, some people need more vitamin A than others. For example, pregnant and breastfeeding women need more vitamin A than the average population. Vitamin A is almost always included in prenatal vitamins, as it helps promote the baby grow and form healthy skin and eyesight, as described by Pharmacy Times.
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that helps produce ATP, the compound that provides energy to cells. While magnesium is important for both men and women, it plays a few extra roles in women's bodies.
Magnesium is essential for women who are pregnant because it helps build and repair body tissues. It also helps postmenopausal women build healthy bones. Lastly, in a double-blind trial in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, supplementing with magnesium helped reduce symptoms of PMS.
Your body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones, which help control your metabolism and, by extension, energy levels and body temperature.
Unlike the previous vitamins and minerals, which can be found in a number of superfoods, most Americans consume iodine through regular table salt. Unfortunately, for specific groups of people, this isn't enough.
Pregnant women, women who don't use iodized salt, and those who follow a vegan diet have trouble getting enough iodine. In fact, pregnant women need 50% more iodine than other women.
Because supplements are not strictly regulated by any governing body like the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), finding the best multivitamin for women can be rather difficult. While organizations, like United States Pharmacopeia (USP), offer a third-party stamp of approval, they're not government regulated.
Here's where that poses a problem: While one daily multivitamin can benefit your health, no governing body rigorously monitors all of these products. This results in plenty of gummy vitamins advertised as a high-quality product when they're really loaded with sugar, fillers, and food coloring. Worse yet, they may not even contain what’s on the label.
While they taste great, no dietitian would approve.
When looking for the best multivitamin for women, look for a product free of artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives, allergens, and artificial food coloring. In addition, look for a product that has a fully transparent label so you know exactly what goes into the product.
Be sure to check the percent daily value for each vitamin listed. For example, you could purchase a multivitamin that contains 20 mg of vitamin E (which doesn't sound like much), thinking it's not enough. However, the daily recommended dosage of vitamin E is just 15 mg.
Multivitamins can help fill in nutritional gaps by providing essential vitamins and minerals. However, before buying any product at a local store or on Amazon, it's important to know what to look for.
The best multivitamin for women should provide at least vitamins A, D, B, K, and C, plus bioavailable minerals such as chelated magnesium and zinc. In addition, a high-quality vitamin will be gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of fillers and preservatives.The Transparent Labs Multivitamin is made with bioavailable forms of key vitamins and minerals, allowing your body to properly absorb these nutrients. With no artificial sweeteners, colorings, fillers, or preservatives, it's easy on the stomach and promotes your overall health. Take four capsules daily for a well-rounded approach to wellness.