Few wellness tasks are as stupefying as shopping for a multivitamin. How do you know you’re not just peeing all your money away? Why do some of them upset our stomach (and which don’t)? And what’s the difference between multi’s for men and multi’s for women, anyway? Plus, with the different vitamin and mineral combos each of these multivitamin brands have, it can feel like you need an advanced degree in nutrition studies just to figure out which capsule to take with your morning OJ.
Women’s multivitamins come with the promises making you a healthier, shinier, newer, stronger you… but which supplements are best? We tried dozens of multivitamins for women from the biggest brands to the newest up and comers, to find out which brands are best based for young women, female athletes, and women over 50. We even narrowed down the list to the best women’s multivitamins in six categories overall.
Note: Multivitamins shouldn’t be seen as replacements for a healthy diet or medication. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary. The list below simply includes our favorite brands and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice.
Best Overall: Nature’s Way Alive!
Best User Experience: Ritual Essential
Best Ingredient Sourcing: Ritual Essential
Best for Women Over 50: Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin
Best for Young Women: Care/of
Best for Athletes: Optimum Nutrition OptiWomen
Keep reading for a detailed breakdown as to why we picked each of the winners, along with the runners-up in each category.
Best Multivitamin for Women
Alive! Women’s Energy was our favorite multivitamin overall. We thought Alive! iwass a good option for price-conscious shoppers. It still serves up over 100% daily values of vitamins C, D, E, K, and B vitamins. And for a vitamin with iron, they are remarkably easy on the stomach. The only downsides are the taste and smell, which are less-than-pleasant. Our recommendation: if you go for this multi, swallow it with a flavored beverage like OJ to keep the after-taste from overpowering your breathe.
Care/of came in second. Care/of is a vitamin delivery service that sends customers personalized packs of vitamins and supplements, based on their answers to a few easy questions about their goals, lifestyle, and values. Their aim is to simplify the process of getting your daily nutritional needs and make it more affordable than the local grocery store (monthly subscriptions start at $20 and go up depending on your particular blend). Because everyone’s mix is slightly different, we can’t say what vitamins are and are not in it. But it’s that customizability that make it great for young moms, working millennials, women headed towards retirement, and athletes alike.
GNC Women’s Ultra Mega is another great option for overall wellness. Packed with 20 vitamins and minerals at 100% daily value or more, Women’s Ultra Mega focuses on overall wellness (thanks to B vitamins, magnesium, folic acid, and iron, to name a few). But the supplement also places an emphasis on beauty with ingredients such as biotin for hair and nail growth, collagen for skin clarity, and silica for hair health. And thanks to it’s cool mint flavor, fishy-smelling omega-3 burps are a thing of the past.
Best User Experience
Ritual Essential was the favorite user experience. When you unscrew the cap the first time, you’ll immediately notice that the vitamins doesn’t smell the way you might expect a vitamin containing omega-3 to smell: like fish. Instead, the the vitamins smell and taste like mint. Each bottle contains a food-grade insert infused with pure peppermint to keep your vitamins smelling minty fresh. That means that even though they contain a heart-helping ingredients (algal oil) which usually has an oceanic aroma, the vitamins don’t smell like seaweed.
Plus, we don’t hate that it gets delivered right to our door every 30 days. The only downside is that take two pills, as opposed to one.
[Check out our review of Ritual Essential here!]
Care/of was our second favorite to take. The user experience starts before you even press “order” thanks to Care/of’s online quiz that helps you figure out what’s important to you when it comes to vitamins and supplements. Think of it like a mag personality quiz, only way more informative. From there, Care/of will recommend a few vitamins and you can customize as you want. So if you want to add in some adaptogens, you can. Or if you’re a vegetarian and want to add in an iron supplement, you can do that too. The only downside is that inside of them sending you a single multivitamin, they are sending you a few vitamins and supplements, which means more pills to swallow.
GNC Women’s Ultra Mega was our favorite for those who hate swallowing pills… because you only have to take one a day and the pill is no bigger than your average NSAID. Not only is the pill size tolerable, but it also tastes good. Say goodbye to fish-smelling omega-3 burps thanks to the cool minty smell and taste of Women’s Ultra Mega. However because some women reported stomach aches when they took it on an empty stomach, we recommend taking it either after breakfast or dinner. That minty taste and smell means you can take your pill after brushing your teeth without worrying about a funk after-taste.
Best Ingredient Sourcing
Ritual Essential is the brand that we found most transparent about their ingredients. According to Ritual’s research, most women are lacking in nine specific nutrients, but they wanted to deliver those nutrients in a single pill. The resulting pill is a lineup of vitamins K2, D3, B12, and E, plus boron, iron, magnesium, folate, and omega-3. On their website, Ritual provides where in the world each of the 9 ingredient is from, an explanation of ‘why’ the ingredient is essential, and the research that explains why each ingredient is in the form it’s in. So not only is the brand transparent about what’s in the tablets, for every ingredient there is a convincing why.
Care/of cares about quality and honesty, too. In an industry overrun with asterisks, Care/of’s goal is to give it to you straight. So they’re transparent about where the ingredients are coming from, what their supply chain is, and how much scientific proof they. If the research is mixed about the supplement, Care/of is going to let you know. And if you want to dig into the research yourself, Care/of gives you that option in their “Library tab” where they allow you to browse the research by ingredient. Adaptogen-users will be especially pleased to learn that they source their ingredients from the places in the world where they are cultivated best (that means that their Rhodiola comes from Siberia and their Ashwagandha comes right from India).
The only downside is that while Care/of does give you the info we want about ingredient sourcing, it takes some digging to find on the site. You’ll have to go through each product individually to learn where it’s from.
Hum Nutrition came in third. Hum takes the science behind their products seriously. They use clinical studies, double-blind trials, experiential research, and registered dietitians to deliver you the pure, non-GMO, gluten free, and easy-to-take products that their known for. However, like Care/of finding this information on the site takes a little work. And while the brand says “sustainable sourced”, they do not provide details as to the exact origin of the ingredients on the website. That said, when we emailed customer service for more information, they were able to provide us that information for the ingredients we asked about.
Best Multivitamin for Women Over 50
Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin was our number one pick for women over 50. Rainbow Light Vibrance offers two types of multivitamins: energy & balance, or stress relief. We think this certified organic supplement is good for women over the age of 50 because of it packs in vitamins and minerals that may supports estrogen metabolism, promote steady energy, and help bolster the immune system. Plus, the formula includes 25 million CFU of probiotics, plus prebiotics, and a full spectrum of plant-sourced digestive enzymes, so it could be especially beneficial for women with gut health issues.
One A Day Women’s was our second favorite. Perhaps the best known brand on the list, One A Day Women’s is a complete multivitamin formulated with the leading health concerns of women in mind such as key nutrients to support bone and hair and nail health (like biotin, zinc, vitamin D, Calcium, and vitamin K). The only downside is that the company cannot guarantee that the raw ingredients are 100% gluten-free and it contains gelatin that is sourced beef and pork, so vegetarians and those with gluten intolerances should proceed with caution. But the good news is this multi also comes in One a Day Women’s Gummy form, so horse-pill-fearers, be calm.
We think Nature Made Multi For Her is another solid choice for women 50+ looking for a generic multivitamin. The product is is specially formulated with 23 key nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, folic acid, and iron. And it has been made according to FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices using sanitary and well-controlled procedures. Winning? You bet. If you’re looking for great quality at a low price, this could be a great multi-option for you.
Best Multivitamin for Young Women
Care/of was our overall favorite multivitamin for women 18-34. Answer a few questions about your goals, lifestyle, and values, and get setup with a pack of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and probiotics. Care/of’s aim is to simplify the process of getting your daily nutritional needs and make it more affordable (and easier) than the bottles you’d pick at your local drug store. Monthly subscriptions start at $20 and go up depending on your particular blend- to keep the cost down, we recommend staying away from the speciality blends and herbs which add up quickly. Bonus, if you’re looking to become pregnant, pregnant, or nursing they also offer a prenatal regime that’s specifically designed to be soft on the stomach.
NOW Eve Women’s Multivitamin is one of our favorite overall multivitamin for vegans. In addition to serving up over 100% recommended daily values of vitamins A, C, D, E, and B vitamins, Eve Women’s Multivitamin also contains cranberry, alpha lipoic acid, and Coq10. The cranberry component is especially noteworthy for young women who are especially prone to UTI’s, and the lipoic acid which is an antioxidant that may promote kidney and liver health. It’s also worth noting that each serving over 1000% of your daily recommend values for B vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, B12, and B5, and while overdose is rare, it is possible, so it’s worth mentioning the multi to your healthcare provider.
Ritual Essential was our third favorite for young women. Ritual is vitamin supplement company that created a women’s daily vitamin called Essential for Women. The product claims to take the confusion and unknown ingredients out of women’s daily vitamins and replace it with traceability, affordability and simplicity. The pill packed with a lineup of 9 ingredients such as vitamins K2, D3, B12, and E, plus boron, iron, magnesium, folate, and omega-3. But the vitamin is missing ingredients like Vitamin C and calcium, which brings it down to third on the list. Ritual follows a pricing plan millennials are used to, and is currently offered only on a subscription basis. For $30 a month, you’ll receive a monthly shipment of the product delivered right to your door.
Garden of Life My Kind Organics Women’s Once Daily Multi rang in as our fourth favorite. Finally, a Whole Food Multi that’s certified organic, Non-GMO verified, vegan, and from real foods like 30 fruits, vegetable and herbs. And even betters: the real ingredients don’t come at the sacrifice of vitamin content. The only downfall of this multi is that it less than 5% of the recommended daily magnesium and calcium needs, especially important ingredients for athletes and women over 50.
Best Multivitamin for Women Athletes
Optimum Nutrition OptiWomen was our top pick for athletes. Optimum Nutrition developed Opti-Women to specifically to meet the unique needs of active women who want the best for their health and body. With over 40 active ingredients (that’s a lot!) including botanicals, antioxidants, minerals, and gender-specific herbs, Opti-Women is a high-potency supplement that goes beyond the scope of your everyday multivitamin.
The biggest drawback is that many of the botanical and herbs in the pill (like garcinia cambogia extract, butchers broom powder, and grape seed extract) are not particularly well-researched, so there’s no saying if they’re actually doing anything or not. Oh, and because your body can’t absorb that many vitamins all at once, it may turn your pee bright yellow.
NLA For Her Multivitamin came in second. Made for women in sports, NLA For Her has 23 vitamins and minerals, and is also loaded with a comprehensive fruit and veggie antioxidant blend, botanicals, and other components that could enhance energy and support overall health. Unique to NLA is that not only does it have collagen which may support bone, joint, and muscle health, it also contains Alpha Lipoic Acid for muscle growth and fat burning. And if the pink lettering didn’t tip you off, the capsules come in “Pink Lemonade” “Dragon Punch” or “Watermelon” flavor.
New Chapter Every Woman’s One Daily Multivitamin was our third pick. Designed for active women looking for a multi that supports her recovery, New Chapter Every Woman’s One Daily Multimvitamin is a solid choice. The tablets pack an adaptogen-punch with fermented ingredients such as: maca (to fight stress), red clover (to encourage longevity and health), turmeric (to fight inflammation), and elderberry extract (to support immune health). While some studies support the conclusion that adaptogens have promise and potential at reducing stress, improving attention, upping endurance, and fighting fatigue… more research needs to be done to determine whether or not they actually do much for your insides. And because you’re paying for these fermented ingredients, this multi is best for women who have used and found benefit in adaptogens previously.
Women’s Multivitamin Ingredients (and What Vitamins Should Women Take On a Daily Basis?)
Many multivitamins come in his & her varieties while others are sourced and made specifically for women, and a third category of supplements for women creates for-you-specifically vitamin packets that get delivered right to your door. While different companies take a different approach to gender-specific nutrition, many multi’s-for-her place an emphasis on ingredients like biotin, collagen, and copper that may help hair and nail health, a common concern among women. You can also expect to find more iron, vitamins C, E, and K, as well as calcium and magnesium in multis made for women.
Biotin: It’s not just for luscious locks (though research shows it helps with that too), biotin has been shown to boost nail health.
Zinc: Take a look at your nail? Discolored? Split? It could be a sign of zinc deficiency. Zinc plays a crucial role in healthy cell division, and because our nails grow so quickly, signs of deficiency make themselves known on your nails quicker than other areas. It may also help with protein synthesis, which means it may help athletes recovery faster.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is an antioxidant that has been shown to protect the body against free radicals.
Vitamin B Complex: Think of B complex like like a factory made up of 11 incredibly diligent workers who ban together to create and sustain the bodies energy supply by breaking down the micronutrients we consume (fats, proteins, carbs). So while there are many different kinds of B vitamins (thiamin (B1), riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate (called folic acid when included in supplements), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), they work together in your bodies operations. If you follow a gluten free, vegan, or vegetarian diet you may be missing some B’s.
Folic Acid: Whether you’re growing out your nails, promote mental health, or looking to fight inflammation, this ingredient has some serious potential benefits. And if you’re trying to cut pounds, here’s a bonus: one short study suggests that even a low-dose daily folic acid supplement could reduce inflammation in people who are overweight.
Vitamin C: Also known as Ascorbic Acid, this vitamin is best known for boosting the immune system (though despite popular belief, mega-doses probably won’t protect you against the common cold and other diseases). But it also helps in the production of collagen and wound healing. Because our bodies cannot store Vitamin C, we need to get it either through food or supplementation regularly.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is involved in many bodily processes, including building proteins and enzymes, boosting the immune system, and fighting inflammation. It’s also good for bone health, which is why we look out for it in supplements in the 50+ crowd. Because it’s tricky to get the right amount from food, you have to get the rest of your daily needs through sun exposure and supplementation.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that may help prevent damage to the body’s cells. Which is why it is essential for functional and structural maintenance of cardiac, skeletal and smooth muscle.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K can help reduce inflammatory markers; research shows that it may help protect against heart disease, as well as osteoporosis.
Iron: Some of the benefits of iron include increased energy, better brain function, and healthy red blood cells.
Collagen: Collagen is the buzzy wellness ingredient. It’s actually a protein found in the connective tissue in our bodies, which means it’s in our skin, hair, muscles, bones, and even blood vessels. This is an especially interesting ingredient for women looking to reduce the appearance of cellulite and improve skin hydration.
Magnesium: Magnesium is important for many processes in the body such as regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and even DNA.
Calcium: Vegans in particular should be on the lookout for this ingredient in their multi’s because they’re not getting it from it’s most common source: dairy.
Omega 3: You already try to seek out healthy fatty acids in your food (cue: avocado toast and salmon sushi)—but according to research, more than 70 percent of women don’t get enough omega-3s in their diet. Which is a problem because the may promote a stronger immune system, support cardiovascular, joint and vision health, strengthen skin, hair, and nails, and even enhance nutrient absorption and metabolic function.
Boron: Naturally found in prunes, almonds, and raisins, no one wants to drink that much prune juice. That’s why many multi’s include it for bone, heart, and joint health.
Coenzyme Q10: We consider CoQ10 a bonus ingredient anytime it shows up in a multi. It’s an antioxidant, which is a substance similar to a vitamin, and is found in every cell of the body. Your body makes CoQ10, and your cells use it to produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. Because levels of it decrease as we age, some seek supplementation.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Found in every cell in our body, alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that may help with inflammation. We naturally produce ALA in our body, but like collagen, our levels of it decrease as we age. So whenever we see it in a multivitamin, we’re especially amped for older woman.
Probiotics: It all started with yogurt. But now the buzz on probiotics are everywhere. These good bacteria help the body function more efficiently while bad bacteria do the opposite. If there are too many bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria, the balance of our microbiome get’s thrown off. And when our microbiome is off we’re left susceptible to disease-causing organisms and the runs. Probiotic supplements may help keep our gut happy, and they also have some potential health benefits like reduced blood pressure, improved cognitive function, better sleep quality, and weight loss.
What Are The Benefits Of A Multivitamin?
The question of supplements are confusing are confusing to many people. After all, shouldn’t eating a whole, fresh, unprocessed foods diet provide all the necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients we need?
The answer is yes and no. Even with a “perfect” diet, many things (like stress, sleep schedule, and even the storage and transportation of food) make it tough for you to get nutrients you need solely from the foods you eat. And some studies do show that incorporating nutritional supplements can improve certain health markers.
But the vitamin and minerals you should take and prioritize change with each stage of life. Just remember, whatever your age, a multivitamin can’t make up for a bad diet.
Making the Right Choice for You
We tried dozens of multivitamins to land on this list of the best on the market for you whether you’re a young woman, over the age of 50+, an athlete, or just want to bolster your overall health. We looked at the ingredients, price, taste, and quality for every one of these supplements and while plenty of people have different ideas as to what constitutes a “quality” multivitamin, we think we’ve put together the best darn guide to picking multivitamin on the interwebs.
And remember if you suspect that you have a vitamin deficiency, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider about getting work done to see if you’re low in any particular nutrient. Then from there, you and your doctor can work together to determine what particular foods you should be eating more of, or if a supplement makes sense for you.
Oh, and if you don’t go with one of the brands we mentioned above, note this: Vitamins and supplement claims do not have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. And the amount of studies done on any particular type of supplement (single vitamin capsules, multivitamin pills, or otherwise) are relatively few.