Let’s be real — despite plenty of Insta wellness gurus suggesting that a healthy, balanced diet is easy to achieve, that’s not always the case for everyone. Especially when it comes to the complexities of women’s needs.
Dietary imbalances and nutritional deficiencies are rife. And if your body’s deprived of the vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients it needs to maintain optimal tissue and organ function, your health can be negatively affected.
Enter the multivitamin. These blended formulas can help fill any nutritional gaps and ensure your body has precisely what it needs to keep you well. And they’re particularly important during pregnancy and for women with certain health conditions.
But which multivitamin should you choose? Well, let’s have a look.
To save you the trouble of sorting through the millions of multivitamins on the market, we’ve brought you the best by using criteria like:
- Nutrients. We prioritized formulas with a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals.
- Certification. For the best bang for your buck, we chose vitamins that had third-party testing and certification.
- Reviews. We scoured reviews to make sure these vitamins are legit and that people lurve them.
- Price. There’s something to suit everyone with products at a range of price points.
We plucked these beauties from the multitudes.
- 60 doses
- once-daily multivitamin with antioxidant complex metafolin, CoQ10, and lutein
Pure Encapsulations is our best overall choice because it contains absorbable forms of vitamins and minerals. Plus, you only need one capsule daily, so it’s easy to remember. There’s also no artificial coloring, harmful additives, or gluten. And it’s non-GMO and hypoallergenic.
These capsules are packed with tons of good stuff, including all the recommended daily intake of folate, vitamins A, C, D, E, B group, zinc, selenium, and more. Vitamins are designed to support cognitive and cellular function and healthy eyesight.
Two drawbacks, though. Firstly, these capsules don’t contain iron, so if you eat a vegan diet, are pregnant, or otherwise need iron, you might need to look elsewhere. And secondly, reviewers comment that the capsules have a funky taste and scent.
- 150 doses
- once-daily multivitamin with high potency vitamin C, D, and zinc for immune support
Rainbow Light is our best immune-boosting vitamin thanks to its high-potency zinc and absorbable forms of vitamins B2, B5, folate, calcium, and iron. These tablets also boast vitamin D and calcium to support bone health and vitamins B6, B12, and choline to boost energy and help protect your nerves.
The formula is gluten-free, vegetarian and verified by the non-GMO project. You’ll only need one tablet per day to fulfill your vitamin needs and you’ll also meet around a third of your iron requirements.
Overall, reviews are outstanding, but some are disappointed that the tablets are not vegan, and they cause your pee to turn a luminous yellow color. Plus, there’s a couple of reports of tablets becoming moldy at the bottom of the bottle. Don’t forget that vitamins expire!
- 90 doses
- once-daily multivitamin with B complex vitamins to support optimal health and well-being
These once-a-day multivitamins contain ingredients that may help balance your mood and improve your stress response, making them our best for stress pick.
If you’re following specific dietary guidelines, these vitamins are an excellent choice as they are kosher, vegan, and gluten, dairy, and soy-free. And yes, they’re non-GMO. However, they don’t provide your entire recommended daily amount of many of the vitamins and minerals.
- 60 doses
- once-daily multivitamin with tailored nutritional support
This women’s once-daily vitamin is our top choice for vegans as Innate Response tests all its ingredients for over 125 nasty pesticides and herbicides. If you follow a plant-based diet, you may be particularly concerned about pesticides and environmental chemicals entering the food chain. Innate Response understands this concern, so they guarantee that its products contain zero glyphosate residues, a toxin used to kill weeds.
This vitamin formula is tailored for women, containing iron to replenish levels lost during menstruation, vitamin D3 for bone health, and B vitamins to support cellular energy and nervous system health.
- 90 doses
- multivitamin with chelated iron and active folate
Klaire Labs Prenatal and Nursing Formula Supplement is our top prenatal choice. It’s specially formulated to provide all the essential vitamins and minerals in a well-absorbed and tolerated form. We’re talking extra vitamin D to meet your increased needs, active folate, and bioavailable choline necessary for healthy brain and spinal cord development.
It’s also free of common allergens like casein, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, wheat, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. One possible drawback is the dosage is three tablets daily.
- 60 doses
- once-daily multivitamin with iron, and biotin for women’s health and energy
If you prefer to avoid GMO ingredients, pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful chemicals, and are looking for a USDA organic-certified product, check out our best organic choice from Garden of Life.
These tablets boast 15 vitamins and minerals formulated from organic whole foods that fulfill your full daily recommended values or more. You also benefit from activated forms of vitamin B-12 that boosts energy levels and metabolism.
One negative is that the tablets only contain 14 percent of your recommended iron intake, so you may need other forms of supplementation to meet that goal.
- 45 doses
- multivitamin with overall health and immune support
As gummy vitamins go, Olly’s are low in sugar at 2 grams per serving and reviewers rave about the flavor, so they’re our best gummy choice.
These vitamins are affordable, but you’ll need to take 2 daily to get the recommended amounts of 18 essential nutrients. Unfortunately though you’ll need to look elsewhere for iron.
They don’t contain artificial ingredients or gluten, but they’re not suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and we don’t know about GMO status.
- 72 doses
- once-daily multivitamin with immune support, and probiotics
If you believe that optimal digestion is essential for health, check out our top pick for digestive health from New Chapter. This multivitamin contains critical nutrients in a fermented form that’s easier to digest and increases their absorption. Plus, they’re made from whole food ingredients, rather than lab-made synthetics.
New Chapter boasts that these vitamins can ease digestion, sooth stress, boost energy, and support immune function while being gentle on your stomach. They’re also a caring company with values that include waste reduction, climate friendly farming, sustainable sourcing, and that follows a code of conduct that cares for human rights.
One thing to note for peeps with soy allergies is that these multivitamins do contain fermented soy products.
- 80 doses
- multivitamin with immune support, biotin and folic acid
Bayer are our best budget option, as these multivitamins are priced at less than $0.10 each. Although you need two tablets per dose, this still represents incredible value.
These Petite multivitamins are formulated to support bone, immune, skin, and heart health and contain calcium, iron, and folic acid. If you’re not sold on the price alone, they’re also free of gluten, wheat, and artificial flavors and sweeteners.
- 60 doses
- multivitamin with vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D for immune support
If you enjoy working out regularly then get your hands on our best active multivitamin choice, Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women.
Not only do these multivitamins help support your gym habit, they contain an impressive 23 vitamins and minerals, like folic acid, calcium, and manganese. And they provide for all your iron needs.
You’ll also find some intriguing sounding ingredients listed like Butcher’s Broom and Dong Quai. Although these seem to work wonders for some reviewers, others reported allergic reactions like skin rashes, so beware.
- 30 doses
- multivitamin with vitamins, iron, folate, and vitamin C
Made from high quality raw, whole foods, Garden Of Life Vitamin Code For Women supports breast, reproductive, bone, skin, and heart health, and yes. Our top gluten-free choice is an excellent option for women’s specific nutritional needs with vitamins A, C, D3, E, and B-complex and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Although you need four of these antioxidant and enzyme packed capsules daily, they’re clean, organic, and non-GMO. Plus, they contain gut-friendly lactobacillus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae bacteria to boost digestive health.
Eating a balanced diet consisting of vegetables, whole grains, and a wide variety of nutrients usually means you’ll have all the vitamins and minerals you need. But, for some peeps — we’re talking vegans, pregnant people, and those who don’t enjoy eating their greens — a multivitamin is worth considering.
Basically multivitamins can bridge any nutritional gaps in your diet. Many of these dietary gaps can occur in the instance you:
- avoid certain food groups
- don’t have time to cook a balanced meal because of your hectic schedule
- find your wallet’s too skinny for top quality foods
- you have increased nutritional needs in the case of pregnancy
Additionally, if you have a health condition that reduces nutrient absorption, like celiac disease or ulcerative colitis, or have had gastric bypass surgery, a multivitamin can help support your nutritional needs.
That said, people with a complete, balanced diet are unlikely to get any additional health benefits from supplemental vitamins. Case in point, the researchers in a 2013 review of 26 clinical studies concluded there’s pretty much zero evidence to support any benefits of multivitamins to prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer among healthy adults.
Got more questions? You’re not alone. Here are some other common questions about taking multivitamins and our best answers.
Do pregnant women need multivitamins?
Choosing a multivitamin explicitly tailored to pregnant women that focuses on the essential nutrients may help support your health and your baby as they develop. It’s important because some vitamin and mineral deficiencies in early pregnancy can harm the fetus. For example, folic acid reduces the risk of certain congenital abnormalities. So taking a high quality prenatal vitamin supplement can help keep you and your baby healthy.
But definitely speak with your doc to make the best decision for you.
How many multivitamins should I take every day?
There isn’t a stock answer to this question, as it depends on the brand you’re using and the multivitamin formula. You may find taking one pill a day meets your needs, or you may require multiple pills with every meal. Don’t dive in before reading the label on your multivitamin to confirm the directions — this isn’t the time for guesswork.
Are gummy vitamins less effective?
Gummy vitamins may taste and look like candy, but if you’ve got your hands on a reputable brand, they shouldn’t be any less effective than pills or capsules. However, one thing to keep an eye out for is sugar. Although it doesn’t alter the effectiveness, some gummy vitamins contain quite a bit of sugar which you may prefer to avoid.
How are vitamins and supplements regulated?
Don’t believe the hype that vitamins are harmless, and it doesn’t matter that the FDA doesn’t regulate them in the same way as pharmaceuticals. Although often marketed as “natural,” this isn’t necessarily the case, and some ingredients can have harmful effects when taken at high doses.
However, the FDA categorizes vitamins as dietary supplements, and they keep track of any side effects that people report and monitor any health claims that the manufacturers publish. If the FDA finds a product is making false health claims or is unsafe, they can issue a warning or demand it’s removed from sale.
How can I safely choose a multivitamin supplement?
A 2015 study reported that dietary supplements cause around 20,000 visits to the emergency room each year. Yes, seriously!
Because supplements can interact with medications and there’s a lack of safety information in some instances, certain peeps must chat with a healthcare professional before taking supplements. This applies if you’re currently taking medications, have a health condition, are awaiting surgery, or if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant.
The ideal multivitamin for you depends on your lifestyle and general health. For example, a pregnant person requires different nutrients than a vegan. But here are some general things to look out for:
- Certification. Before you throw away your hard-earned cash on the multivitamin of your choice, understand that nutritional supplements, including vitamins, are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So, your best bet is to choose a third-party tested product to ensure your vitamins are safe and effective. Independent labs to look out for include Consumer Lab, Lab Door, NSF, and USP.
- Form. Capsules, gummies, chewables, oh my! Think about the form of vitamin you prefer. If the idea of trying to swallow a big old capsule fills you with dread, perhaps choosing a delicious chewable gummy would fit better into your daily routine and mean you’re more likely to take them.
- Appropriate daily values. Look for a multivitamin with at least 100 percent of the daily value for most ingredients. You’ll likely not find this with calcium as the pill would be too large to swallow. Likewise, magnesium and potassium levels and often low in multivitamins to avoid interactions with any medications.
- Balance of ingredients. You’ll need vitamins, an appropriate balance for your age, gender, nutritional and reproductive status. For example, older peeps need more calcium, and vitamin D, whereas premenopausal and pregnant women need more iron.
Sure, a balanced diet might well provide all you need in the way of vitamins and minerals. But, if you’re pregnant, thinking about it, or your diet just looks a little different, a multivitamin can help fill nutritional gaps.
There are tons of different formulations to choose from at every price point. So, take the time to work out which multivitamin best suits your needs, and you may find that your hair, skin, and overall health reaps the benefits.