Opti-Women is a multivitamin specifically for active women. Created by the sports-supplement brand Optimum Nutrition, this multi is meant to meet the unique needs of active women who want the best for their health and body. Opti-Women packs 40 active ingredients (that’s a lot!) including botanicals, antioxidants, minerals, and what they call “gender-specific herbs”. The product claims to offer “a comprehensive multivitamin for the active woman” in a single, convenient, and all-in-one pill.
Here’s a closer look.
Opti-Women has over 40 active ingredients (that’s a lot!) including botanicals, antioxidants, minerals, and gender-specific herbs. Below, we highlight some of the ingredients in Opti-Women, including the ones we deemed as particularly unusual or noteworthy ingredients for a women’s multi.
[Check out our list of the best women’s multivitamins HERE.]
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.
Thiamin 20 Mg
Get this, 20 Mg of Thiamin is 1333% of your percent daily values. Also known as B1, thiamin helps breakdown our food into energy. (Basically how it works is that it’s necessary for the release of hydrochloric acid, which we need to digest of protein and fat and convert of carbs into energy).
Biotin 250 Mcg
Take a look at your nails and hair. Discolored? Spilt? It could be a sign of a biotin deficiency. Biotin is good for luscious locks and it has been shown to potentially boost nail health. While good dietary sources of biotin include swiss chard, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, carrots, onions, cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower, and mushrooms, getting enough may be tough especially for picky eaters.
Folic Acid 600 McG
Whether you’re growing out your nails or looking to fight inflammation, you may want this ingredient in your multi. As athletes you know that some inflammation is good, but too much isn’t. So keeping inflammation from slowing down your gains with the help of folic acid may be a plus. And if you’re trying to cut pounds (shoutout cutting season), 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.
Iron 18 Mg
If you crave burgers or steak during that time of month, it may be because you’re low in iron. Being low in iron is especially common in women who are PMSing, vegans, vegetarians or premenopausal. For optimal absorption, it’s best to get iron with Vitamin C, which Opti-Women also includes.
[See our full list of the best women’s multi-vitamins here.]
Copper 2 Mg
You don’t need much copper. In fact, 2Mg is 100% of your daily values. But because it aids in bone, nerve, and skeletal health, being deficient can contribute to things such as fatigue, arthritis, always feeling cold, muscle soreness, joint pain, and stunted growth. Don’t panic, if you eat enough calories a day, you’re probably getting adequate copper.
Zinc 15 Mg
The mineral tends to be low in older people and anyone under a lot of stress. And because as good as exercise makes us feel, it’s still a stressor, athletes in particular tend to be deficient. Not enough zinc may dull your taste buds, which ups the chances that you’ll add sugar or salt to your food. Plus, the mineral isn’t super easy to find (though it’s in some animal sources like oysters, crab, liver, and dark chicken meat), so getting 15 Mg (or 100% daily values) is a total pro.
Magnesium 75 Mg
Low levels of calcium and magnesium (which often go hand in hand) are notorious for sparking sugar and salt cravings. Low magnesium levels in particular are known for upping those chocolate cravings. And while a serving of chocolate protein powder is really NBD, a chocolate bar a day may not be.
Alpha Lipoic Acid 20 Mg
We naturally produce ALA in our body, but our levels of it decrease as we age. But it can be found in every cell in our body, alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that may help with inflammation.
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Riboflavin 20 Mg
Also known as B2, Riboflavin reportedly helps athletes recovery faster. And 1176% of your daily value — which Opti-Women contains — is pretty high amount. We also need riboflavin to use the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the foods we eat for energy.
Lycopene 250 Mcg
Some athletes are turning towards tomato juice as pre-workout. That’s because one study found that drinking 5 ounces of tomato juice for five weeks reduced free-radical damage from an intense cycling ride. Researchers credit that to lycopene, which is an antioxidant (sensing a trend?) that soaks up tissue-damaging compounds. The result? The women in the study recovered more quickly.
[Check out Optimum Nutrition’s Opti-Women on Amazon.]
Garcinia Cambogia Extract 50 Mg
If you’ve ever researched quick weight loss methods, you’ve probably heard of garcinia cambogia extract pills. Here’s the thing: these weight loss pills can be pretty dangerous due to other ingredients. In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration warned people that one weight-loss supplement featuring garcinia cambogia extract also contains sibutramine, an appetite suppressant that was removed from the market in 2010 because it has been shown to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and trigger seizures. But on it’s own, in small doses garcinia extract may offer some benefits such as increased energy and reduced stress.
[This is a really common ingredient in weight loss supplements — see if it works in our list of the best women’s fat burner supplements.]
Grape Seed Extract 10 Mg
Grape seed extract is an adaptogenic herb that is rich in polyphenols, which may enhance brain function. 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. However, the belief is that grape seed extract improves the connections between our neurotransmitters.
Other Opti-Women ingredients include:
- Vitamin A 5,000 IU
- Vitamin C 250 Mg
- Vitamin D 600 IU
- Vitamin E 100 IU
- Niacin 20 Mg
- Vitamin B6 20 Mg
- Vitamin B12 100 Mcg
- Pantothenic Acid 250 Mg
- Calcium 150 Mg
- Iodine 200 Mcg
- Magnesium 75 Mg
- Selenium 70 Mcg
- Manganese 5 Mg
- Chromium 120 Mcg
- Molybdenum 70 Mcg
- Dong quai root extract 80 Mg
- Chasteberry 50 Mg
- Uva Ursi, Powdered Leaf 50 Mg
- Horse Chestnut Extract 25 Mg
- Butchers Broom Powder 15 Mg
- Deodorized Garlic 10Mg
- Citrus Bioflavonoid 10 Mg
- Soy Isoflavones 2 Mg
- Lutein 250 Mcg
- Alpha-Carotene 94 Mcg
- Cryptoxanthin 23 Mcg
- Zeaxanthin 19 Mg
What’s Missing in Opti-Women?
You may be surprised to see that a few common ingredients like omega 3’s and boron are missing from this multi. The Opti-Women website did not explain why those common ingredients were not included. However, you can get Omega 3’s from foods like avocados and salmon, and boron can be found in foods such as prunes, almonds, and raisins.
Opti-Women Benefits and Effectiveness
As a two-a-day CrossFitter, I’m always looking for something to boost my workout performance and recovery. I’m married to my foam roller, drink golden milk because I’ve heard turmeric can help fight inflammation, and am currently loving on collagen protein powder. So when I read that Opti-Women is made for active women, I decided to give it a try.
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When I unscrewed the cap for the first time, I immediately noticed that the pills are large (about ¾ of an inch in length). Think the size of your fingertip, pinkie toe, or length of a bottle cap. But I wasn’t overwhelmed by the smell of fish or seaweed, the way I usually am for multivitamins. That’s because Opti doesn’t contain any Omega 3’s or Omega 6’s which typically have a oceanic scent (I eat a ton of avocados, salmon, and almonds which all contain omega 3’s, so the absence was NBD for me). Instead, the pill smells like play-do… but more mild. Which, to be honest, I prefer.
What stands out to me the most about Opti-Women is that they didn’t taste like anything and they didn’t give me any weird post-pill burps. Which meant I could take them with water instead of trying to drown the flavor in orange juice or coffee.
After reading the reviews of the products, I expected Opti-Women to give me a jolt of energy because many women claimed an increase in energy levels. But, it’s a daily multivitamin, not a pre-workout or cup of coffee, so I didn’t feel much of an effect. According to the website, if prior to taking the pill you were deficient in any of the ingredients, you may feel a increase in energy while others won’t notice much difference. But while I don’t feel better-than-ever before, I certainly don’t feel worse.
Here was the biggest downside, however: Because Opti thinks you shouldn’t need to consume dozens of pills or juggle multiple bottles and packs to get your daily nutrients, they pack it all into a single pill that you can take in the morning night. But when it comes to vitamins, bioavailability (or how well you’re able to absorb nutrients) matters a lot. If we can’t absorb the nutrients, we end up flushing them down in a puddle of bright yellow or orange urine.
Because my body was likely not able to absorb as many vitamins as Opti-Women contains, I noticed that my pee was brighter than usual even when I was definitely not dehydrated. One friend of mine suggested that I break the dosage up into 1 pill in the morning and another at night to avoid “expensive urine syndrome”, but remembering to take the pill two times a day was a hassle, even though it returned my pee back to normal.
A second potential downside of this product is that it includes a lot of ingredients (such as Molybdenum, Dong quai root extract, Chasteberry, Uva Ursi, Powdered Leaf, Horse Chestnut Extract, Butchers Broom Powder, Citrus Bioflavonoid, Soy Isoflavones, Lutein, Alpha-Carotene, Cryptoxanthin, and Zeaxanthin) which are not especially well researched. However, some adaptogens, collagen, and buttered coffee are not especially well researched either, and that hasn’t stopped me from giving them a try.
When I ordered the product, I was surprised by how inexpensive the it is in comparison to so some of the other athlete-focused multi’s on the market. A 2-month 120 capsule bottle was only $16.29, which comes out to 14 cents per pill or 28 cents a day.
I enjoyed this product. It has over 40 ingredients, some of which may offer some health benefits, it’s basically tasteless, and didn’t upset my stomach or cause diarrhea. Plus, it costs less than 50 cents a day, which means I can take it without dipping into my rainy day fund.
If you have a hard time swallowing pills, are looking to see benefits ASAP, or will be freaked out if your pee looks especially yellow, this may not be the multi for you. And if you’re all about strictly science-backed products, this multi may not be a good fit for you either because most of the botanicals and herbs in the product have not been as well-researched as some other ingredients.
I didnt’ see many drawbacks in incorporating this multi into my recovery routine.
Featured image: @optimumnutrition on Instagram