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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best women’s multivitamins

    Last Updated July 2018

    Women have unique nutritional needs that change throughout their lifetimes, and women’s multivitamins are a good way to get the extra nutrients you may need. With a multivitamin that’s targeted to your sex and age, you’ll be sure to get the vitamins and minerals you need in the right amounts.

    However, there are so many women’s multivitamins on the market, it can be hard to narrow down the best option for you. You’ll need to find a multivitamin with the ingredients that fit your age and health concerns.

    At BestReviews, we bring you the information you need to make informed purchasing decisions. If you’re ready to buy a new multivitamin, check out our top picks in the matrix above. For all you need to know about finding the right women’s multivitamin for you, keep reading our shopping guide.

    Nutrients are listed on the label of women’s multivitamins in their percentage of the FDA’s Daily Value. The average daily value is 2,000 calories, and the percentage is based on this number. Your needs may be different depending on your height, weight, and medical condition.

    Types of women’s multivitamins

    Multivitamins differ in their ingredients and the way the vitamins and minerals are administered. There are three general ways to take multivitamins: pills, chewables or gummies, and liquid or drinkable vitamins.

    People who have trouble swallowing pills may like a chewable or liquid multivitamin. Liquid multivitamins are absorbed more quickly into your body because there’s no chewing or dissolving necessary before the ingredients are absorbed.

    Whole foods for extra nutrition

    This vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free women’s multivitamin skips extra fillers and binders and offers nutrition that’s closer to food. It also contains probiotics and enzymes that boost digestive health.

    Ingredients in women’s multivitamins

    Before choosing a multivitamin, consider your age and diet. In general, women need a multivitamin with the following ingredients.

    Vitamin B9 (folic acid)

    Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid or folate, helps your body make new blood cells and DNA for new cells. Folic acid is particularly important for pregnant women or women who may become pregnant because it helps prevent birth defects like cleft palates that can occur before you even know you’re pregnant. It also helps prevent premature and low-weight births. Pregnant women or women who could get pregnant need 400 to 800 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily.

    Vitamin B12

    Vitamin B12 is key to the proper functioning of neurons in the brain. Certain age groups and populations may not get enough vitamin B12 on their own.

    Pregnant women need extra vitamin B12 for the healthy development of their babies. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, which makes a multivitamin essential for vegetarians or others who limit their consumption of animal products. The body begins to absorb less vitamin B12 as it ages. Women over 50 will need a supplement to absorb the amount of vitamin B12 necessary for good nutrition.

    Vitamin D

    Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is absorbed in the intestines. Along with calcium, vitamin D strengthens bones, preventing osteoporosis. It also performs important immune system functions like fighting off germs and reducing inflammation in your cells.

    Certain populations need extra vitamin D: postmenopausal women; those who are obese; women of African-American, Hispanic, or Asian-American descent; those with an inflammatory bowel disease; or anyone who’s had gastric bypass surgery. You may also need extra vitamin D if you do not get enough natural light exposure, as the body naturally makes vitamin D from sunlight.

    All prenatal vitamins include iron and folic acid, but not all regular women’s multivitamins do. You’ll have to check the vitamins listed on the label to be sure.

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    Calcium

    Calcium is essential for women because they are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis than men. Calcium is stored in your bones. If you are calcium-deficient, your body will take calcium from your bones, weakening them. Over time, calcium deficiency can put you at a greater risk for breaks and osteoporosis. Calcium also helps the body send messages between the brain and your muscles. The amount of calcium you need changes throughout your life.

    • Girls age 9 to 18: The calcium absorbed at this developmental stage will affect bone health into adulthood and old age. Girls this age need 1,300 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day.

    • Adult women: While adult women don’t have the same needs as growing girls, they still need 1,000 mg of calcium per day.

    • Postmenopausal women: The body starts to lose bone mass with age. At this stage of life, women need 1,200 mg of calcium each day to prevent bone loss.

    Iron

    Iron helps build blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body. It’s also used to make certain hormones and connective tissues. The body loses iron through blood, which means menstruating women lose iron every month. Iron deficiency, called anemia, can lead to fatigue and exhaustion. Pregnant women also need iron to provide enough blood for a developing fetus. Like calcium, the amount of iron you need changes throughout your life.

    Women age 19 to 50 need 18 mg of iron per day. Pregnant women need 27 mg of iron per day. Women older than 50 need 8 mg of iron per day.

    Other important vitamins and minerals

    While these vitamins and minerals are helpful to fill in gaps in your diet, they are not necessarily specific to women.

    • Vitamin A: Vitamin A includes retinol, beta-carotene, and carotenoids. These vitamins help maintain your eyesight, soft tissue, and skin.

    • Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C helps your body make red blood cells, noradrenalin in the brain, helps heal wounds, and aids concentration.

    • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is also called tocopherol. This vitamin helps slow the signs of aging.

    • Vitamin K: Vitamin K helps keep your bones strong and helps blood clot, which is especially important for older people.
    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some women’s multivitamins include fermented probiotics and/or organic ingredients. Probiotics help with digestion but also come at a higher price. If organic and non-GMO ingredients are important to you, the extra money might be worth it.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some women’s multivitamins need to be taken with food to prevent an upset stomach, while others should not be taken within 30 to 60 minutes of eating or consuming dairy products, as this can interfere with absorption of the vitamins.

    Women’s multivitamin prices

    A higher price doesn’t always mean better quality with women’s multivitamins. Some generic brands have the same nutritional value as name brands. We’ve broken down the price per unit to help compare products.

    • Budget-friendly

    For less than $.10 per unit, you’ll find generic and some name brand pills and chewable multivitamins that include all the important vitamins and minerals in the appropriate amounts.

    • Mid-range

    In the $.10 to $.30 per unit range are generic and name brand pills and gummy multivitamins with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals. Many multivitamins in this range are designed for a specific group, such as kids, petite women, or women over 40 or 55+.

    • Expensive

    At $.30 to $.60 per unit are multivitamins that often include fermented probiotics as an add-in and/or have organic ingredients.

    • Premium

    Multivitamins that are over $.60 per unit may have fermented probiotics and/or organic ingredients and be targeted to certain age groups.

    Great taste, simple to take

    A gummy multivitamin for women that tastes good and goes down without a problem. The formula works well for building strong, healthy hair and nails. And it’s flavor is free from artificial sweeteners.

    Tips

    • Ignore multivitamins in megadoses. Vitamins and minerals should, in general, equal no more than 100% of the Federal Drug Administration’s Daily Value (DV). Usually, any extra is flushed out in urine, but there are some cases where too much can cause damage. For example, 200% of the DV of the retinol form of vitamin A (sometimes labeled “vitamin A acetate” or “palmitate”) can increase the risk of birth defects and liver damage.

    • Don’t be fooled by special claims. Multivitamin formulas that claim they can help you lose weight or boost your energy are usually not substantiated by scientific research.

    • While multivitamins are a great way to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need, it’s important to still eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods. Getting your vitamins and minerals from food is always better for the body. There are unique substances and interactions that can only come from food itself.

    When choosing a women’s multivitamin, try comparing the price per unit to see how much you’re paying per pill or gummy. A large bottle may cost more, but you could end up paying less per unit and saving yourself some money.

    FAQ

    Q. What do multivitamins for women 55+ have that regular women’s multivitamins don’t?

    A. Multivitamins for women 55 and over have all the same vitamins and minerals as other multivitamins but in different amounts. For example, those who are 55 and older need more calcium but less iron than women of childbearing age.

    Q. Does every woman need to take a multivitamin?

    A. The average woman who eats a well-balanced diet probably gets enough nutrients from the food she eats and doesn’t need a multivitamin. However, there are some groups who may not get the nutrition they need from their food, including women who:

    • Are pregnant

    • Are breastfeeding

    • Are trying to get pregnant

    • Are eating a restricted diet

    • Have a medical condition that limits their absorption of nutrients or depletes nutrients more quickly
       

    Q. What’s the difference between a vitamin and a mineral?

    A. Vitamins convert food into energy and tissue through chemical reactions. They are either water- or fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins must be consumed every day because they are not stored in the body. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in body fat. Minerals like calcium, potassium, and sodium are inorganic, more stable than vitamins, and essential for hormone production.

    The team that worked on this review
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