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When it comes to nourishing your body with the right nutrients, you might lean into all of the natural goodness that comes from fruits, veggies, and other whole foods. At the same time, some women lose out on vitamins for various reasons, so it doesn't hurt to lean on multivitamins, if your doctor agrees, for a little extra boost.
If you walk past the vitamin section of any supermarket, chances are you might get overwhelmed by how many options are available—totally understandable. Nowadays, it seems like new multivitamins are constantly entering the market, making it difficult to determine which ones are worth the investment and safe to take.
You can always talk with your primary care physician about their general recommendations and what kind of multivitamins are right for you based on your needs. But if you're hoping for some quick-hit suggestions that are PCP-approved, you're in luck. Read on to see 10 must-try multivitamins, along with insight on how to choose the best one for you.
Meet the experts: Shilpa P. Saxena, MD, is a board-certified family physician who has been practicing medicine for over 15 years. Navya Mysore, MD, is a primary care physician and women’s health expert based in New York.
How We Chose The Best Multivitamins For Women
Given the large range of multivitamins on the market, Women's Health spoke with two primary care physicians about how to find the most trustworthy brands. Shilpa P. Saxena, MD, is a board-certified family physician who has been practicing medicine for over 15 years. Navya Mysore, MD, is a primary care physician and women’s health expert based in New York. With their expertise, they pointed out these main points they considered when choosing a multivitamin:
Ingredients: Ideally, you want the ingredients to mostly come from plants and natural sources. When manmade or chemical ingredients are at the base of what's being digested, it can trigger immune responses and extra detoxification, says Dr. Saxena.
Specific needs: Every person has different needs, so some multivitamins can be more beneficial to some than others if there's something specific that needs to be addressed.
Testing: Multivitamins that are non-GMO tested and tested for purity are a good indicator that it's a safe buy.
Health additives: Dr. Saxena points out that a good multivitamin will have mineral and phytonutrients. These additions will complete everything that is needed in a well-rounded diet.
Preservatives: In short, the less preservatives the better. If the pills look thick, there's a good chance the nutrients won't be absorbed, and it'll be harder to break down, says Dr. Saxena.
10 Best Multivitamins For Women
Alpha Base Capsules Without Iron
Some people prefer a multivitamin that has some sort of flavoring to them, while other prefer something flavorless. If the later sounds like you, you'll love these Alpha Base tablets. "It's a pretty clean blend of the things I think are essential. It has the methylated vitamins, and it's been through third party testing and is certified GMP," says Dr. Saxena.
Multivitamin for Women 18+
You've probably heard of Ritual before, and there's a good reason for that. "They are very specific about what's in the actual supplement. If you look at their list, there's not a bunch of different ingredients, so it's well-digested," says Dr. Mysore. She adds you'll only have to take two pills a day which is "much more reasonable" that having to take four.
Rave review: "These smell and taste amazing. I've never experienced that with a vitamin before. The technology of how they release and absorb is awesome. Worth every penny."
Any doctor will tell you that the brand of your multi is important because it reveals a lot about its ability to make a quality product. Each ingredient in these multivitamins will help you meet the recommended dietary allowance for adults."It's a little less comprehensive. It still has the methylated vitamins, it's manufactured well, and the company understands nutrition well," says Dr. Saxena.
Rave review: "I switched to these vitamins recently. They are great. I actually feel better taking these. I have more energy and an overall general feeling of well being."
PhytoMulti Daily Multivitamin Supplement
This multivitamin is a great option for colder months when people are more likely to get sick since it covers all the foundational nutrients you need. "It has those plant-based nutrients, for people who don't like to eat their fruits and veggies or maybe have poor gut function," says Dr. Saxena. "They'll get a little bit more of the nutrients that they were meant to get from eating a diet rich in plant-based foods."
Rave review: "My greatest concerns with vitamins are superior ingredients and packaging. This product meets and exceeds the phytonutrient criteria. The packaging was perfect to ensure consumer safety concerns. I'm sold!!"
As previously mentioned, Ritual is great for it's transparency on the ingredients. The prenatal version also has extra nutrients that are especially helpful for those looking to become pregnant. "Their prenatal has a small dose of DHA included in it, which is needed for when you're pregnant for fetal development," says Dr. Mysore.
Rave review: "I’ve never been able to take a prenatal until I found this one. It doesn’t cause me to immediately become nauseous, and it provides all the necessary vitamins."
Vitamin Code Raw One Once Daily Multivitamin
Taking a multivitamin can have an extra layer of complication if you have a sensitive gut. Luckily, you there are options like this one that won't cause discomfort."It has a long list of [ingredients], but I find that for the patient who has gut issues, in terms of constipation or any kind of IBS-related symptoms, they tend to do well," says Dr. Mysore.
Rave review: "I cannot go without these multivitamins! I prefer capsules over tablets and these are the best I have ever tried. Highly recommend!"
Prenatal One Multivitamin
If you're on a vegetarian diet, you probably want your multivitamin that compliments that. Enter: Rainbow Light. "I think it's really good for someone who wants to have everything in one pill," says Dr. Mysore. She adds that you don't have to be pregnant to take a prenatal multi, but you will notice that there are more of some ingredients in these than what you'd find in a non-prenatal one.
Rave review: "I have taken these pills for almost a year and definitely notice a difference in how much energy I have since I am getting more of the nutrients. The flavor isn't the best, but it's not bad for what's in it—same with the size. I don't love swallowing a large pill, but it's worth it for the health benefits!"
Basic Nutrients 2/Day
Many vitamins on the market have gluten, but there are some out there that are great for people who need them without it. "This is easily available online, and it's from a great company with high standards of manufacturing and sourcing of ingredients," says Dr. Saxena. She adds that taking two capsules a day will also make it easy to get a lot of nutrients.
Rave review: "I started taking this three months ago. It's easy to digest, although it has a strong smell. This is a good way to supplement a healthy diet for busy people."
Women's Multivitamin Gummies
For some people (myself included), swallowing pills can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are gummy options on the market that still deliver on nutrients. "[This one] has fewer nutrients if you compare it to the tablet version. Having said that, if swallowing capsules is hard, this might be okay as an alternative because something is better than nothing," says Dr. Saxena.
Rave review: "These are soft gummies that are easy to chew. The mixed berry taste is really sweet like a gummy bear, which makes it so much easier to eat. I’ve had no stomach issues or adverse effects from these gummies, It feels good to get the proper amount of vitamins."
If you're looking for a multivitamin that can improve your daily function, consider this one from Inwell. "It's wonderful for people who have brain fog, fatigue, pain, and feel a little fizzled out because it's specifically designed to [support] your mitochondria," says Dr. Saxena. ICYDK, the mitochondria is basically the source of your energy, so these pills will give you an extra boost.
Do you actually need to take a multivitamin supplement?
Some doctors are at odds over whether not a multivitamin is necessary. However, Dr. Saxena believes it is necessary for the average woman living in the United States who doesn't get their daily intake of five to nine servings of fruits and veggies a day. She also notes that the majority of people would get some benefit out of a multivitamin.
What daily vitamins do women need–and why?
This varies from person to person, especially if you're lacking specific vitamins. For women in menopause or perimenopause, Dr. Mysore suggests 600 milligrams of calcium twice a day. She also suggests women aim for 2000 international units of vitamin D and 400 milligrams of magnesium. In the winter, she advises taking 50 milligrams of zinc and calcium.
What’s the best time to take your multivitamin?
Some people prefer to take their multivitamins first thing in the morning. But if you're doing it on an empty stomach, Dr. Mysore notes that you. might experience nausea as a side effect.
Additionally, it's important to be mindful of how it may mix with other medications that you're on. "You really don't want to be taking supplements around the time you take thyroid medication," says Dr. Mysore. "Thyroid medication should be taken on its own, and supplements can sometimes inhibit its absorption. This is the same for a few other medications."
If you're unsure if your multivitamins will clash with any medications, speak with your doctor for proper direction.
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