Best Multivitamin for Women? What Daily Vitamins and Minerals Are Needed?

Posted on May 21, 2020 in health

Best multivitamin for women

By Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS

Eating a healthy diet is the No. 1 way to get all the essential nutrients you need. Still, even if your diet is filled with a variety of whole foods, it may still be difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals your body requires on a daily basis.

Low intakes of certain nutrients seem to be a common problem among women, regardless of their age. Wondering, “What vitamins should I take daily if I’m a woman?” 

Below you’ll find the vitamins I recommend most for adult women of different ages — plus my checklist on choosing a good-quality multivitamin supplement that you’ll actually be able to absorb and utilize.

Most Important Daily Vitamins for Women

There are 14 vitamins that all women require from their diets and/or supplements — including vitamins C, A, D, E, K and the B vitamins. In addition to vitamins, women also need a number of trace minerals, too, such as calcium, iron, magnesium and so on. 

Some vitamins are more likely to be lacking even in a healthy diet compared to others. This means that a multivitamin should include these to help fill in the gaps in a woman’s diet. 

The best multivitamins for women's health should include these nutrients: 

1. Antioxidant Vitamins (Including Vitamins C, E and A)

These are essential vitamins that also act as antioxidants, supporting healthy aging and healthy functioning of the heart, eyes, skin, brain and more.

These can help support vision/eye health, and help the skin defend against UV light redness.

2. Vitamin D3

    Vitamin D3 can be obtained from certain foods like eggs, some dairy products and certain mushrooms, but we get the overwhelming majority of our vitamin D from sun exposure. 

    Overall, vitamin D3 is important for bone/skeletal health, cognitive functions, and supporting a healthy immune response and healthy hormonal balance. Because many people may be lacking exposure to enough sunlight each day, supplementing is a wise way to keep levels in a healthy range.  

    3. Vitamin K

      Vitamin K is important for building and maintaining strong bones and for supporting cardiovascular functions, as well as already healthy insulin levels.

      Vitamin K1 is found in vegetables, while vitamin K2 is found in things like dairy products. The best way to keep vitamin K levels strong is to eat plenty of different veggies, including green leafy vegetables, broccoli, aged cheeses, fish and eggs, and/or to consider supplementing. 

      4. B Vitamins, Including B12 and Folate

        B vitamins, including vitamin B12 and folate, are important for a woman’s metabolism, for helping with digestion of other nutrients, and for maintaining adequate energy levels. B vitamins work with other vitamins like iron to make red blood cells and help break down the foods you eat.

        When taking a supplement containing folate, you may want to think twice about synthetic folic acid. Instead, stick to fermented folic acid, which is metabolized by the body similarly to naturally occurring folate.  

        5. Iron

          Iron, which is actually a mineral and not a vitamin (although still essential), helps your body to produce hemoglobin, a type of protein that transports oxygen via blood from the lungs to other tissues throughout the body. 

          B12 also helps to support energy levels, supports a healthy immune response and stress response, and can help support cognitive functions.

          6. Magnesium

          Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body but also one of the most common deficiencies. As an electrolyte, magnesium helps regulate calcium, potassium and sodium and is essential for over 300 different biochemical functions in the body, such as those with help with maintenance of nerve signals, muscle functions and quality sleep.

          There’s evidence suggesting that many adults don’t eat magnesium-rich foods to begin with, plus older age may make it harder to absorb the magnesium that is eaten.

          A supplement can be helpful for boosting your intake, but also be sure to get enough by consuming magnesium-rich foods, such as leafy green veggies, bananas, cocoa, avocado, sea vegetables/algae, beans and nuts.

          7. Calcium

            Getting enough calcium is important for bone strength, but it’s also crucial for supporting cardiovascular functions, muscle functions and more. Calcium, when consumed when other key nutrients like vitamin D and magnesium, has been shown to support skeletal health and beyond, making it an important vitamin for women at all stages of life.

            How Your Needs Change With Age 

            As mentioned above, all women require a number of “essential” nutrients regardless of their age. However, some vitamins and minerals become even more important with age, since they play a role in supporting healthy bone mass, healthy cognitive functioning and improving antioxidant intake.

            Here are some suggestions for choosing the best multivitamin based on your age:

            1. In Your 20s and 30s

            For women of “reproductive age” who are preparing to have children, proper nutritional status before, during and after pregnancy is an important element of overall reproductive health. 

            Requirements for many micronutrients increase during pregnancy — especially nutrients like folate, iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium and iodine. (By the way, if you don't plan on having a child or cannot conceive, these micronutrients remain important for your body.)

            Fetal growth and development are strongly linked with the mother’s supply of essential nutrients, so now’s the time to make sure a quality muti that includes these nutrients is a part of your routine. And if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consider taking a multivitamin with adequate vitamin D, zinc and iron.

            2. In Your 40s, 50s and 60s

            B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin K are all important for helping to maintain skeletal/bone strength. These nutrients also support cardiovascular health and healthy arteries.

            Consuming plenty of natural food sources of these nutrients — such as leafy greens, cage-free eggs, fish and organic dairy products — can help to boost your intake, too.

            Magnesium is another mineral that is commonly lacking in adults’ diets, so now’s the time to make sure you cover your needs with a healthy diet and/or supplement.

            3. In Your 70s and Beyond

            In addition to the vitamins and minerals listed above, focus on getting plenty of antioxidants like vitamin C, A and E, which can help to support vision and eye health, skin health, and healthy cognitive functioning. 

            Both men and women may need to focus on making sure their vitamin D levels are optimal, since more people spend a large majority of their time indoors. So vitamin D is a must for women of all ages, including those over 65.

            Multivitamin Benefits 

            Why should you take a multivitamin? Depending on the ingredients and approach in producing them, multivitamin benefits can include:

            • Supporting healthy immune system function
            • Helping to maintain health of cells that form the eyes and skin, plus supporting defenses against UV light effects and redness
            • Providing nutrients that are important for cognitive health and heart/arterial function
            • Supporting a healthy immune response and immune activation
            • Supporting energy levels and restful sleep
            • Helping to maintain strong bones
            • Supporting a healthy pregnancy, postpartum health and healthy fertility
            • Supporting maintenance of healthy homocysteine levels and already-healthy insulin levels

            Best Types of Multivitamins for Women

            If you’re looking for a highly-absorbable multivitamin that can contribute the most benefits, I highly recommend choosing a fermented option. You can think of fermentation generally like “predigestion” of nutrients; it’s a process that helps to partially break down nutrients so they are more absorbable once they reach your digestive system. 

            Another way to enhance the effects of a multivitamin is to choose one that features probiotics as well as additional herbs and superfood ingredients, all of which help to support absorption and digestion. 

            In addition to soil-based organism (SBO) probiotics that support general gut health, other ingredients that can help support healthy nutrient absorption and digestion include sprouted seeds, apple cider vinegar and ashwagandha.

            At Ancient Nutrition, we offer several options of potent, highly-absorbable multivitamins intended to support the overall health of adult women. 

            Our line of women’s multivitamins uses a combination of organic vitamins (whenever possible), fermented vitamins and minerals, enzyme-activated minerals, coenzymated vitamins, select vitamin forms and specially selected ingredients to create the most bio-accessible nutrients possible to meet your needs. 

            Ancient Multi - Women's

            • Formulated specifically for women under 40
            • Provides 100% or more Daily Value (DV) of 14 essential vitamins and minerals, split into three daily doses to help support absorption and retention
            • Contains iron, selenium, zinc and more to support prenatal health, postpartum health and healthy fertility
            • Includes vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K in fermented, methylated or coenzymated forms designed to support overall healthy absorption
            • Helps support healthy sleep, energy levels and thyroid health; also features multi-kingdom ingredients inspired by TCM (Traditional Chinese Method), such as Chinese yam root 

            Ancient Multi - Women's Once Daily

            • Also formulated specifically for women under 40, but intended for those looking for a once-daily multi (as opposed to 3 capsules per day)
            • Provides 100% or more Daily Value (DV) of 12 essential vitamins and minerals
            • Offers gentle, “body-ready” form of each ingredient, such as methylated vitamin B12 and other B vitamins, plus iron, folate and more
            • Features multi-kingdom ingredients inspired by TCM (Traditional Chinese Method), such as chaste tree berry and astragalus, to support thyroid health, healthy fertility, sleep and energy levels

            Ancient Multi - Women's 40+

            • Formulated specifically for women in their 40s and beyond
            • Provides 100% or more Daily Value (DV) of 12 essential vitamins and minerals
            • To help support absorption and retention, take in divided doses/3 capsules per day
            • Includes vitamin D3 to support bone health and healthy immune system function, Vitamin K to support cardiovascular function, and methylated vitamin B12 to support healthy energy levels and cognitive health
            • Includes antioxidant vitamins A, C and E to support healthy aging and healthy immune responses
            • Features multi-kingdom ingredients inspired by TCM (Traditional Chinese Method), such as lycium berry and fo-ti root to support healthy sleep, thyroid health and healthy energy levels

            Ancient Multi - Women's 40+ Once Daily

            • Same vitamins and minerals as our Ancient Multi - Women's 40+ (3 capsule per day formula) but intended for those who prefer the convenience of a once-a-daily multivitamin

            Ancient Multi - Prenatal

            • Multivitamin formulated specifically for women in their childbearing years, pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and throughout lactation or breastfeeding
            • Includes vitamins and minerals that are vital for women’s energy, immune system function, thyroid health and fertility in body-ready forms. 
            • Provides 100% or more Daily Value (DV) of 12 essential vitamins and minerals
            • Features multi-kingdom ingredients inspired by TCM (Traditional Chinese Method), including organic ginger root extract that is packed with antioxidants and therapeutic compounds
            • Take 3 capsules per day with 8 ounces of water or your favorite beverage

            Other Considerations

            How do you know if you could benefit from taking a daily multivitamin? Consider supplementing if any of these situations apply to you:

            • You eat a mostly or highly processed diet (one low in things like fresh vegetables and fruit that are top sources of vitamins)
            • You’re a vegetarian or vegan, which can limit diversity of certain nutrients in your diet 
            • You’re consuming too little calories in general
            • You’re a women of reproductive age, pregnant or planning to become pregnant
            • You’re currently breastfeeding, which increases your calorie and vitamin needs
            • You’re over the age of 65
            • You spend most of your time indoors, away from sunlight

            Final Thoughts 

            • What should be in a women's multivitamin? The best multivitamins for women should include: vitamins A, C, D, E, K and B vitamins, ideally with iron, magnesium, calcium and other essential nutrients.
            • Ancient Nutrition’s line of women’s multivitamins features a combination of organic and fermented vitamins and minerals, enzyme-activated minerals, coenzymated vitamins, and other complementary ingredients such as herbs to support overall absorption and healthy gut function.
            • You can choose from once-daily formulas, or those divided into three daily doses to help support retention of nutrients. We also offer formulas specifically intended for women under and over 40, providing adequate levels of nutrients that are needed during different stages of life. 

            Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet and Collagen Diet.