Chances are you've been taking multivitamins for as long as you can remember. And there's a good reason for it: Taking a high-quality multiple vitamin and mineral supplement is essentially nutritional insurance, says Michael Murray, ND, chief scientific advisor for iHerb. Translation: You don't necessarily depend on multivitamins to give you all the nutrients you need—you depend on them to fill any gaps. Supplements are, well, supplemental to the real food you're eating.
"We should aim to get the majority of our vitamins and minerals by eating a varied, healthy balanced diet with minimal processed foods and an abundance of fresh colorful vegetables," says Harry Clements, a rep for Vitaminology, a search engine to help you find the right multivitamin. "However, we rarely get 100% of the recommended daily intake of essential nutrients from our diet alone." This can be due to many factors, such as food processing, health conditions that affect digestion and absorption, mineral depletion of soil, medications that interfere with absorption, and even mental and physical stress, he explains.
But how do you know what gaps we may have, and what supplements will best fill them? Your age and sex can both affect the types of nutrients you need, says Clements. Overarchingly, women may benefit from supplementing with the following nutrients:
Magnesium and Calcium: These two minerals are essential for bone support and work together with vitamin D to support bone health, says Clements.
Iron: This is the most common nutrient deficiency in women, says Murray. "Anemia, lack of red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, is the end stage of this deficiency but low energy, depression, and cold hands and feet often appear as the first symptoms," he explains.
Folate: This vitamin helps our bodies make healthy red blood cells, says Stokes. It's also vital for the healthy development of a baby, which is why Stokes recommends this for anyone of childbearing age, even if they don't intend to get pregnant.
But of course, ingredient labels are notoriously lengthy and hard to read. So to help you hone in on the best multivitamin for you, we're giving you a leg up on the research.
In general, make sure your multivitamin contains at least 100% of the RDA of the above nutrients, depending on what stage of life you're at. (Folate, for example, is much more important during your menstruating years.)
You may also want to look for an organic supplement since these are generally food-based and are more easily absorbed and used by the body, says Clements. What's more, many supplements contain genetically modified ingredients (GMO), so finding non-GMO products is also a nice bonus. Another nice-to-have is a vitamin manufactured by a certified B corp, which is a marker of a very high-quality and trustworthy brand, says Stokes.
Even still, finding the right vitamin can feel like a real chore. So why not skip ahead to these expert-approved picks? All you have to do is hit "add to cart." (Oh, and be sure to take your supplements each day.)
For women, Murray recommends this high-quality formula that provides a full range of vitamins, including K2 and active vitamin B12. It's also fortified with coenzyme Q10, enzymes, and various plant compounds. Also nice: Each capsule is individually sealed in a foil blister pack to ensure maximum freshness and stability.
This high-potency multivitamin is doctor-formulated, so you know it has exactly what you need—iron, a full spectrum of B vitamins (including folate), vitamin D, and choline. The formula is great for anyone prone to nausea, too, since it can be taken any time of day, even on an empty stomach.
In addition to the usual good-for-you vitamins and minerals, this multivitamin has a nice bonus: live probiotics and enzymes that aid in digestion and gut health. It's a raw whole-food formula, too, so your body will have an easier time absorbing what it needs.
Support bone, brain, and immune health with this high-potency multivitamin. It contains all of the vitamins and minerals the experts say you need to thrive plus superfoods like organic chlorella, pomegranate, grape extract, and lutein to help you feel more energized every day.
Always forget to restock your vitamins? Opt for this subscription-based service, which makes sure quality multis show up on your doorstep exactly when you need them. The two-capsule serving is entirely vegan and contains the most important components: iron, vitamin D, folate, B12, omega-3, and more.
Another subscription-based supplement you won't have to worry about missing out on, but this one puts an emphasis on iron—especially important for menstruating women. Like other great supplements, it's non-GMO, vegetarian, and even gluten-free for anyone with dietary concerns
Though this vitamin comes up a little bit short in terms of iron, it's a great choice for plant-based eaters, since it's entirely vegetarian. It's also one of the only multis that's guaranteed glyphosate-free (a form of weed killer), plus over 125 other pesticides and herbicides.
This 30-day supplement program, made by cult-favorite Sakara, is plant-based, doctor-formulated, and free from GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, and even gluten. The serving size is a whopping six pills per day, but you'll get everything you need (and then some) through two superfood multivitamins, one macro-mineral (a calcium-and-magnesium combo), one algae omega (a source of omega-3), one adaptogenic B complex (a blend of B vitamins and ashwagandha), and one probiotic.
This female-specific supplement is fit for the most active individuals since it contains 23 vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, iron, and manganese as well as specialty ingredients you won't readily find in other capsules. Think dong quai, chasteberry, and garcinia extract.
You don't readily find multivitamins in liquid form, but it's a great option for anyone who struggles to take a pill—especially since this one comes in deliciously drinkable flavors like raspberry, strawberry, and fruit. Overall, daily values greatly exceed the recommendations, too.
This food-based multivitamin for women includes 22 vitamins and minerals, 12 digestive enzymes, 14 greens, and 12 organically grown mushrooms that not only promote overall vitality but also promise to leave you feeling more energized every day.
Have a hard time choking down capsules? There's no need to struggle, says Stokes. Though gummies tend to be less potent than their pill counterparts, "The best multivitamin is one you're going to take," she says. And there's plenty to love about this one, which includes 19 essential vitamins and nutrients in a refreshing tangerine flavor.
It's important to remember that more comprehensive formulas generally require multiple tablets or capsules. "One-a-days provide convenience and better compliance in taking a supplement every day, but they do not provide adequate levels of many nutrients, especially minerals," says Murray. That said, if you know you'll only take one capsule per day, this is a good-quality multivitamin that will cover the majority of your vitamin and mineral needs.