The best multivitamin for women may be a useful addition to your daily routine if you know there are areas where you are falling short of your nutritional requirements. Compared with men, women have slightly different nutritional needs and may be more prone to certain nutritional deficiencies. This is why multivitamins tailored specifically to women can be beneficial.
A good multivitamin should contain adequate amounts of the 13 essential vitamins that the human body needs for proper functioning, and one specifically designed for women should take into account the slightly higher requirements women have for certain minerals such as iron.
It is worth noting, however, that most women can get all of the vitamins and minerals they need from a healthy and balanced diet. But women’s bodies have different needs at different periods of their lives, and there may be times when a multivitamin could be beneficial. For example, you may be on a restrictive diet due to a food intolerance, or you may be perimenopausal, pregnant or searching how to get pregnant. You may even have a pre-existing medical condition like Crohn’s disease that decreases how many nutrients you can absorb from food.
With this in mind, we’ve tried and tested the best multivitamins for young women, women over 50 and women looking to support their fertility. We’ve also included multivitamins that come in different sizes, formats and prices, with a liquid option and an option designed for vegans.
It is always best to speak to your doctor or a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine, especially if you are taking other medication.
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Roxana Ehsani is a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics and a National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Pittsburgh. Below, she gives her advice on what to look for in a multivitamin for women.
The best multivitamin for women
The NOW Foods, EVE, Superior Women's Multivitamin is designed for easy digestion and NOW recommends that it is taken with food to help with GI tolerability. They are meant to be an easier format to swallow than capsules and tablets — and in some ways they are, as they are soft and have a slippery coating. However, they are also almost double the size of the other multivitamins that we tested, which made them harder to swallow in comparison. In addition to their size, you have to take three to consume the recommended dosage, which is quite difficult to do in quick succession or all together due to the size of the softgels. However, it’s worth noting that the EVE range is also available as a capsule and a tablet if the softgel isn’t for you.
Price-wise, you are getting more for your money with the Eve Softgels, as even with the recommended dosage of three supplements a day, you still have enough for two months. Other supplements we’ve tested only offer a months’ supply. With this in mind, the EVE Softgel offers better value for money than many of the other multivitamins in this guide.
The EVE softgels have a rating of 4.8 out of five stars on iherb, with close to 7,000 reviewers giving it the full five stars. Users with deficiencies and problems with fatigue state that it helped them feel more energized. One user said: "I am a female who lifts weights regularly. I really like these multivitamins because they are MCT oil based, so are good for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. The pill size is quite big, around 2.5cm/1 inch long, but they are smooth so they go down easily."
This women’s multivitamin contains 33% of the RDA of iron, making it good for women in their reproductive years who are more prone to iron deficiency. It also contains 11% of the RDA of calcium, which is quite low, but should be enough when combined with a healthy, balanced diet. Calcium overdose is possible and can cause health problems such as kidney stones, so it’s better to be cautious. They also contain high amounts of B vitamins — over 100% of the RDA for each B vitamin, and 125% of the RDA for vitamin D3, which offers good support for common deficiencies.
The softgels are made with beef gelatin so are not suitable for vegetarians or vegans, and they also contain soy. They are, however, free of shellfish, fish, egg, milk, gluten, wheat or fish, but note that they are produced in a facility that handles these ingredients. They also contain herbal supplements that might help women’s health such as evening primrose oil and horsetail.
The Nature's Way, Alive! Women's Premium Gummy Multivitamin offers a pleasant tasting alternative to capsules and tablets for those who may struggle to swallow large pills. They are sweet and palatable, but this is probably due to the 4g of sugar per serving, which seems a lot for a supplement, but does enhance the flavor.
The Nature's Way, Alive! Women's Premium Gummy Multivitamin has a 4.6 out of five star average review on iherb, with over 12,500 users giving it five stars. Users love the taste and texture, with one reviewer saying: "These taste great. The bottle upon opening smells the way tablets usually smell, but the taste and texture is awesome."
The gummies contain 100% of your daily requirement of folate, so would be a good option to support pregnant women or those trying to conceive. They are also rich in B vitamins, including 150% of the recommended daily amount of B12, making them good for vegetarians (although they are not listed as suitable for vegans). It is also an iron-free multivitamin, which may be a positive for those who are sensitive to iron supplements or post-menopausal, but is a mineral you would expect to see in a women’s supplement as women are more prone to iron deficiency. In addition to the missing iron, one dose only contains 8% of the recommended daily amount of calcium, which also seems a little low as osteoporosis and other conditions related to bone density are more common in older women.
The gummies are free from gluten, gelatin, dairy, yeast-based ingredients, wheat, peanuts and eggs, making them suitable for those who may have allergies and intolerances. They contain a good blend of vitamins, with 25% to 200% of the recommended daily amount of each vitamin. This is enough to support any shortfalls from a healthy and balanced diet. Common vitamin deficiencies such as B6, B9 (folate), B12, D3 are more than covered by this women’s multivitamin. They also contain biotin to support healthy skin, hair and nails.
This Essential for Teens Multivitamin for Her by Ritual is designed to fill the specific dietary needs of younger women, aged 13-17. It is peppermint flavored, a standard size for a multivitamin capsule and easy to swallow. It comes in an attractive, clear container and you can see the contents of each capsule, which contain little white balls floating in yellow liquid, adding a degree of novelty.
The capsules are at the pricier end of the spectrum, but they are offered as part of a subscription service that Ritual runs themselves, so you don’t have to re-order and can take care of the supplement needs for your whole family in one delivery.
User reviews for the Ritual Essential for Teens Multivitamin for Her are mostly positive, with a 4.7 out of five star rating on Ritual's website. One mother who buys these multivitamins for her daughter said: "My teenage daughter takes these without complaint, which has been the case with other multivitamins. They are full of good quality ingredients and support her active lifestyle at this stage. The minty flavor is very mild."
The multivitamin provides 44% of the recommended daily amount of iron, which is particularly helpful for young women going through puberty and starting their periods, as iron deficiency commonly occurs during this time. It also contains omega-3 from a plant-based source, to support healthy brain function, and contains at least 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamins D3, B9 (folate) and B12, which many of us are often deficient in.
This multivitamin is suitable for vegans, gluten-free, and free from other major allergens. Ritual also lists the source of each vitamin and mineral, which can be helpful for the ethically conscious, as they know exactly where each element comes from. The multivitamin is also advertised as GMO free.
The only downside of this premium multivitamin is that there is a slight aftertaste — and not the sort you’d expect from something peppermint flavored. Possibly due to the marine algae that Ritual uses as a source of omega-3, for at least 12 hours after eating there is an unpleasant fishy aftertaste that seems to withstand eating and drinking anything strongly flavored. These capsules need to be taken with food.
These Thorne Women's Multi 50+ are iron and copper-free, as postmenopausal women are at less risk of iron deficiency than women of reproductive age. They are easy to swallow and a standard size for a capsule-style multivitamin. They are, however, slightly sour smelling and if you take the recommended dose of six capsules a day, you only have a month’s supply in one bottle. Considering the price of these supplements, only getting 30 days’ worth doesn’t seem great value for money.
The Thorne Women's Multi 50+ have positive reviews on iherb, with a rating of 4.7 out of five stars over 364 ratings. Women using the multivitamin say they see an improvement in their energy levels and overall health. One user mentioned the smell but said it did not bother them. One reviewer said: " I found with Thorne's Multi 50+ an improvement in my energy levels and general wellbeing. I did a trial by ceasing and my energy levels decreased, but improved once I recommenced the product."
The recommended dosage for these multivitamins is 3-6 capsules daily, with the nutritional breakdown based on a serving of six capsules. This gives you a huge amount more than the RDA of most vitamins and minerals it contains, with some tens of thousands of percent more in some cases. If you do take the recommended dosage of six capsules a day, you will be getting 18,850% of your daily requirement of B12, which seems like overkill, but is a common deficiency, particularly for vegetarians.
Two notable exceptions to the overshot RDA are vitamin D3 and Calcium, with six capsules offering 125% of the RDA of vitamin D3 (which is something those in cold climate countries are encouraged to supplement throughout the year) and 18% of the RDA of calcium. If you were to halve the recommended dosage and take three capsules, as Thorne indicates you can, then you would be getting less than the RDA of vitamin D3, and less total calcium. Due to the reduction of reproductive hormones in women’s bodies post-menopause, calcium is particularly important as it is needed to maintain bone mass, so it’s important to ensure you are getting enough.
These Solgar Female Multiple Advanced Multivitamin and Mineral Formula for Women are a great choice if you’re looking to conceive, as a single dose of these multivitamins offers 200% of the RDA of Folic Acid. This more than covers the amount needed to support conception. Please note that it is advised that you do not take these while pregnant or breastfeeding, or to consult your doctor if you wish to.
These are another great option for vegans, as they contain abundant B12 and offer a plant-based source of easily absorbable iron, which are micronutrients a plant-based diet often misses.
The label is double sided and pasted down, so if you think there might be some vitamins and minerals missing, double check that you’ve read the ingredients list in its entirety. The tablet is a nice violet color but is relatively large and not the easiest to swallow; you have to make sure that it is facing the right way when you swallow in order to prevent it getting stuck. With this in mind, you also have to take three tablets as the recommended dosage, which is a lot considering the size of the supplements. Additionally, if you follow the dosage recommendations, a 60 pack is only enough for 20 days, which means you’d have to buy more than one bottle or a larger bottle to cover your needs for the month. This makes the $22.49 price tag slightly less value for money overall.
The bottle is made from recycled and recyclable glass, making it a fairly environmentally friendly option. However, this does mean it is breakable. Solgar claims that the amber color protects against heat, light and moisture, but you still need to be careful how you store these multivitamins. The cap is also a little harder to get off than other alternatives due to the child lock.
These Utzy Naturals Essentially-U Multi Nutrient supplements come in a capsule form and smell and taste quite herbal, with a pleasant hint of ginger. This might be due to the extras that Utzy packs in, including ginger, green tea, turmeric, apple and broccoli, which are rich in antioxidants. The glass bottle is recyclable and packed to the brim with capsules, so you aren’t wasting valuable energy shipping something half-empty.
Although this multivitamin isn’t sold as a multivitamin specifically for women, it offers 170% of the RDA for folate, making it another good multivitamin to support conception. However it does not contain iron, so if you chose this as your supplement as a woman with a menstrual cycle, you would need to supplement this separately if you’re not getting enough from your diet. It also has a low dosage of calcium, with the full six-a-day only giving you 6% of your RDA of calcium. This is something to be aware of if you have a known deficiency.
The dosage is on the higher end of the spectrum, with a recommended dose of six-a-day that should be split between morning and evening. This is more hassle than others we have tested, as you need to integrate taking the supplements into your routine twice instead of the standard once with a meal. This also means that one bottle contains a two months’ supply, which makes the price a little more standard than at first glance. However, it still comes in at over $35 a month, which is at the pricier end of the spectrum.
Utzy uses chelated minerals, which it claims are the most bioavailable form of minerals available. This might be the reason for the high price tag. Chelated Minerals are supposed to travel easily through the gut wall and have a low molecular weight making them easy to absorb.
What multivitamin should I take?
When choosing a multivitamin for women, you may want to consider specific nutritional deficiencies that women are more prone to, such as iron deficiency. Women’s menstrual cycles mean that they have higher requirements for iron than men do, as they lose five to 12 teaspoons of blood in an average cycle. The body needs iron to replenish lost red blood cells.
"Iron is an important nutrient and one females are more susceptible to being low in due to menstruation," says Roxana Ehsani (opens in new tab), registered dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "When your body doesn’t have enough iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body, you can feel fatigued and tired."
Women between the ages of 20-39 often have lower iodine levels than other groups, according to the CDC (opens in new tab), although they still fall within the ‘adequate levels’ range. Iodine is important for thyroid health as it contributes to the production of the hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Women are five to eight times more likely to develop a thyroid problem than men, due to interactions between the thyroid and the hormone estrogen.
Folate (vitamin B9) is particularly important for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, as a folate deficiency can lead to developmental complications for the baby. Alcohol also inhibits the absorption of folate and increases the amount of folate the body excretes, so alcohol abuse increases your risk of folate deficiency.
Ehsani explains further: "Folate needs are higher for pregnant women as folate supports healthy growth and development of the fetus’s brain and spine.
"Folate can be found in dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, and also in beans and nuts. Folate is an important B vitamin that helps your body make new red blood cells and DNA."
Around 67% of vegetarians are women, according to a 2022 NHANES Data Report (opens in new tab), so common deficiencies for those who don’t eat meat, such as vitamin B12 and vitamin D, should be taken into consideration for women who fall into both groups. Women who cover most of their skin for religious reasons may also be prone to vitamin D deficiency and may require a multivitamin that contains vitamin D.
"Vitamin D plays a role in bone health, muscle health, heart health, immune system, and nervous system," says Ehsani. "It is actually found naturally in very few foods, therefore some people may need to supplement with it or get more sunshine time. It's said that 1 billion people in the world have low vitamin D levels, therefore a very common vitamin more people need to pay attention to. Low levels can make one feel fatigued or even depressed. Vitamin D also is essential for calcium absorption and formation."
Calcium is another mineral for which women are at a higher risk of deficiency, due to hormonal changes during the menopause. Falling estrogen levels impact bone density in menopausal women, making a calcium supplement a good idea for this group. The depo Provera injection, a common contraceptive, is also known to lower bone density, so women using this method may want to ensure that their multivitamin contains adequate calcium to mitigate their risk of developing osteoporosis.
"Calcium is a major component of our bones, teeth, skeletal muscles and organs," adds Ehsani. "Females have higher needs for calcium when pregnant and lactating and when in menopause."
All of the multivitamin supplements in this guide have been approved by at least one of the following bodies, so what you’re promised is what you’re getting:
- NSF (opens in new tab)
- Consumer Lab (opens in new tab)
- United States Pharmacopeial Convention (opens in new tab)
When is the best time to take multivitamins?
If you're thinking of taking a multivitamin, you might be wondering when the best time to take it is. Generally speaking, there is no wrong or right time to take a multivitamin. However, it can be a good idea to take it with a meal to reduce the chances of it causing any digestive issues or stomach upset.
Most of the best multivitamins for women also contain a number of fat soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K. So it can be a good idea to take your supplement alongside a meal containing healthy fat, to increase how well it is absorbed by the body. This could be breakfast or dinner.
Some people also find it easy to get into the habit of taking a multivitamin if they consume it at the same time each day, such as in the morning with breakfast. However, some multivitamins like Solgar's Female Multiple are designed to be taken at intervals throughout the day, so it's a good idea to check the label first.
How do we test multivitamins for women at Live Science?
All of these multivitamins for women have been personally tested by the Live Science health and fitness team. While supplements affect everyone in slightly different ways, we’ve taken into account areas that might be of concern to customers, such as taste and easiness to swallow, ingredients and value for money.
Ingredients: We note exactly what ingredients are in each multivitamin for women. We then compare the nutritional breakdown to your recommended daily amounts for each vitamin and mineral, so you can tell how much of each you’re getting, and if you may need to consider an additional supplement.
Cost and value for money: We’ve compared the prices of these multivitamins for women, bearing in mind the cost per unit, as well as the overall value of each pack.
Dosage: In all of our reviews, we note how much of each supplement you are required to take and how often.
Suitability: We have tested some multivitamins that may be more suitable for certain groups or ages than others: for instance, the best vegan option or the best multivitamin for women 50+. We also note if it is gluten free or suitable for people with particular allergies.
Easiness to swallow and taste: Because we test every multivitamin ourselves, we make sure to disclose whether the supplements are easy to swallow. While taste is subjective, we do make note of this too, including any unpleasant aftertastes.
Additional features: When we test multivitamins for women, we note if one thing makes it stand out over the other. This could be the bioavailability of the ingredient or the manufacturing methods.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice.