Shopping for a multivitamin can be overwhelming. There are formulas for men and women, multivitamins that claim fewer ingredients are better, some that contain herbs and probiotics, and brands that promise easier digestion. And even after you make your decision, you’re still hovering the mouse of the order button and thinking, “Am I just peeing my money away?” It’s a fair question.
What isn’t in question is the importance of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. The human body needs them to produce red blood cells, regulate brain and organ function, and repair wounds. It’s estimated that 90% of Americans don’t eat enough fruits and veggies — which are abundant in vitamins and minerals. As a result, about one-third of the U.S. population is at risk of being deficient in at least one vitamin.(1)
Taking a multivitamin can help fill the gaps of a less-than-ideal diet. You need to know what you’re getting and why. To help you find the right multivitamin, we tried dozens of brands for women — from the most popular to newer, lesser-known labels. In the end, we narrowed down the list to which brands are best for young women, female athletes, women over 50, and a few other categories.
Best Women’s Multivitamins
- Best Multivitamin for Women Overall: Ritual Essential
- Best for Multivitamin for Athletes: NutriGenesis Multi for Women
- Best for Women Over 50: Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin
- Best Personalized Multivitamin: Care/of
- Best Multivitamin with Transparent Ingredients: Ritual Essential
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. None of these supplements are meant to treat or cure any disease. If you feel you may be deficient in a particular nutrient or nutrients, please seek out a medical professional.
Best Multivitamin Overall
Sometimes more is less, especially when it comes down to what you put into your body. A good multivitamin gives you what you need without anything that you probably don’t.
Ritual Essential for Women
Ritual whittled down its formula to include the bare-bone essentials. One of their multivitamins contains nine — yes, just nine — ingredients that work in harmony to keep your body running optimally. They include: vitamin D, omega-3 DHA, folate, vitamin B12, magnesium, boron, iron, vitamin E, vitamin, K2, It’s also a subscription-based service, so once you order, you don’t have to worry about remembering to buy more.
That said, there’s a chance that you may need (or want) an ingredient not found in Ritual’s formula. Probiotics, herbs, and other vitamins can also aid in relaxation, focus, and sleep. While we laud Ritual for producing a pure product, the doses are lower to ensure there’s not too much nutrient crossover with your diet. But that doesn’t apply to everyone, which is something to keep in mind. You can check out our full review of Ritual Essential.
Who Should Buy Ritual Essential for Women
- Women who want just the essential vitamins and minerals.
- People who want to order and then not worry about re-ordering their vitamins.
- Folks who already eat a well-versed diet that’s decently high in nutrients.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Ritual Essential for Women
- Women who need (or possibly want) another nutrient, herb, or vitamin that isn’t included in Ritual’s nine-ingredient formula.
- Those who may benefit from first trying to eat more fruits and vegetables before resorting to a supplement, as Ritual’s formula is an aid, not a replacement.
Best Multivitamin for Athletes
Active women require a more thorough vitamin formula to assist in recovery and support overall health and wellness.
NutriGenesis® Multi for Women
From Performance Lab, NutriGenesis Multi for Women supplies 100%+ of 17+ essential vitamins and minerals and also contains whole-food co-factors to boost absorption. The capsules themselves are prebiotic-infused and vegan friendly. There are no synthetic nutrients, and the supplement is soy, caffeine, and wheat-free.
We like the emphasis on well-researched nutrients in effective dosages, including Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Selenium, and Zinc in addition to others you’d more commonly find in a multi-vitamin. We wish they’d included a higher dosage of magnesium, but that could also cause digestive discomfort for some.
Who Should Buy NutriGenesis Multi for Women
- Active women who want high-doses of certain vitamins.
- Women who lift, as this formula may better aid recovery.
- Those who want want something that could be easier to digestive due to prebiotic capsules.
Who Shouldn’t Buy NutriGenesis Multi for Women
- Folks who are cautious of ingesting too many ingredients at once.
- People who want a single capsule supplement; one serving size is 4 capsules.
- Women who may not need high doses of certain vitamins.
Best Multivitamin for Women Over 50
For women over 50, look for a multivitamin that increases energy, supports estrogen production, and promotes metabolic health. These are all things that younger women may not have to worry about yet.
Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin
Rainbow Light Vibrance offers two types of multivitamins: energy & balance, or stress relief. We think this certified organic supplement is suitable for women over the age of 50 because it with vitamins and minerals — such as vitamins A, B, C, E, and K — that may support estrogen metabolism, promote steady energy, and help bolster the immune system.
This vegetarian-friendly formula includes 25 million CFU of probiotics, plus prebiotics, and a full spectrum of plant-sourced digestive enzymes so that it could be especially beneficial for women with gut health issues.
Who Should Buy Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin
- Women over 50 who may benefit from an energy-boosting formula.
- Folks who want extras such as probiotics and prebiotics for improved gut health and digestive enzymes for better digestion.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Rainbow Light Vibrance Women’s Multivitamin
- Women under 50 who may not yet be dealing with the same biological hurdles such as low energy or reduced estrogen.
- Those who don’t want a multi with 20-plus ingredients.
Best Personalized Multivitamin
Some companies offer you the ability to make your own formula for a multivitamin that is completely customized to you and your needs.
Take five minutes to fill out their online quiz, which asks you a few questions about your goals, lifestyle, and values, and Care/of will set you up 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 specialty blends and herbs, which add up quickly. Bonus, if you’re looking to become pregnant, are pregnant, or nursing, they also offer a prenatal regime specifically designed to be easy on the stomach.
The one potential downside is that, similar to Ritual, you may miss certain minerals and vitamins. Everyone is different, and an online quiz isn’t the most thorough way to identify your nutrient needs. So, before you take any vitamin, definitely check in with your doctor to truly find out what your nutrient needs are.
Who Should Buy Care/of
- Folks who want a customized vitamin pack that’s tailored to them.
- People who want the freedom to tr different vitamins or minerals, as you can alter your order.
- Those who want to pay for a subscription service and have vitamins show up each month at their doorstep.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Care/of
- Women who may need a more comprehensive vitamin supplement.
- Forgetful people who may not remember to cancel their subscription.
Best Multivitamin with Transparent Ingredients
Figuring out which ingredients you need is one thing, but you should also know where those ingredients come from. After all, don’t you want to know what’s going into your body?
Ritual Essential for Women
Ritual Essential is the brand that we found to be the most transparent about their ingredients. One of their key missions is to provide the user with information about where each of the ingredients is sourced. On their website, Ritual provides a map that shows you exactly which state and country a specific ingredient is from. They also divulge the form the nutrient is in and the manufacturer of that specific product. And if you want to research why you may need a particular nutrient, they provide that information, too.
Our concerns with Ritual remain the same as above. While it’s great that they provide the user with complete transparency about where their nine ingredients are from, that doesn’t mean you only need those vitamins and minerals. Also, the doses are lower than what you’ll find in other multivitamins, and so you may need a heftier formula depending on your individual needs.
Who Should Buy Ritual Essential for Women
- People who value transparency from a company in regards to ingredient choice.
- Folks who want information, from the brand, about the granular details of the ingredients — including the form it’s in and why they may need it.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Ritual Essential for Women
- Women who need more of a specific nutrient, including the ones in Ritual’s formula.
Ingredients to Look for in a Women’s Multivitamin
While different companies take a different approach to gender-specific nutrition, many multivitamins for women emphasize ingredients like biotin and collagen, which 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. Below, we explain why.
Take a look at your nail? Is it discolored or split? It could be a sign of zinc deficiency, according to research in the Journal of Drugs & Dermatology.(4)(5) Zinc plays a crucial role in healthy cell division, and because our nails grow 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 recover faster.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant that has been shown to protect the body against free radicals.(6)
Whether you’re growing out your nails, promote mental health, or looking to fight inflammation, this B vitamin has some serious potential benefits. And if you’re trying to cut pounds, here’s a bonus: one short study from Clinical Nutrition suggests that even a low daily dose of folic acid could reduce inflammation in people who are overweight.(7)
Also known as Ascorbic Acid, this vitamin is best known for boosting the immune system.(8) But it also helps in the production of collagen and wound healing.(9) Because our bodies cannot store Vitamin C, we need to get it either through food or supplementation regularly.
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 folks over 50 may want to pay extra attention to this one. Because it’s tricky to get the right amount from food, most people have to get the rest of your daily needs through sun exposure and supplementation.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that may help prevent damage to the body’s cells. It’s also essential for functional and structural maintenance of cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscle tissue.
Vitamin K can help reduce inflammatory markers; research shows that it may help protect against heart disease, as well as osteoporosis.(10)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
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 more robust immune system, and support cardiovascular, joint, and vision health.
Some of the benefits of iron include increased energy, better brain function, and healthy red blood cells.
Collagen is 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 ingredient may help women reduce the appearance of cellulite and improve skin hydration.(11)
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.
Vegans in particular should be on the lookout for bone-boosting calcium in their multivitamins because they’re not getting it from the most common source: dairy.
We consider CoQ10 a bonus ingredient anytime it shows up in a multi. It’s an antioxidant that’s 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 is an antioxidant, found in every cell in the body, that may help manage inflammation. We naturally produce ALA in our body, but like collagen, our levels decrease as we age. So whenever we see it in a multivitamin, we’re especially amped for older women.
How We Decided on the Best Women’s Multivitamin
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 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.
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 number of studies done on any particular type of supplement (single vitamin capsules, multivitamin pills, or otherwise) are relatively few.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I even need to take a multivitamin?
Probably. 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 the nutrients you need solely from the foods you eat. By incorporating a vitamin supplement into your diet, you may be able to fill the gaps on your plate.
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.
Are some vitamins more important for women?
Generally, men and women have the same recommended intake of vitamins and minerals. However, men and women have different risks for certain ailments. That’s why it’s often emphasized that women should make sure they consume sufficient amounts of these vitamins:
- Calcium, Vitamin K, and Vitamin D: These nutrients all interact synergistically to improve bone strength, which is important because women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis.
- Folate: This B-vitamin is often recommended to reduce the risk of birth defects.
- Iron: Women lose more iron than men do because of menstruation, and are thus more likely to experience a deficiency. They also tend to consume less iron than men.
What vitamins should a woman take on a daily basis?
Ideally, we’d consume all of the vitamins and minerals we’re meant to in a day. The ones women should focus on, however, are the ones that they tend to not meet the recommended intake: magnesium, potassium, Vitamin D, calcium, Vitamin A. vitamin C, and Vitamin E.
What vitamins do postmenopausal women need more of?
Calcium needs appear to increase after menopause, as bone loss may accelerate. On a similar note, postmenopausal women should try to meet their needs for Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and magnesium, which all contribute to bone health. Folate, often associated with pregnancy, is also important as it’s cardioprotective.
- Bird JK, Murphy RA, Ciappio ED, McBurney MI. Risk of Deficiency in Multiple Concurrent Micronutrients in Children and Adults in the United States. Nutrients. 2017;9(7):655. Published 2017 Jun 24. doi:10.3390/nu9070655
Glynis A. A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012 Nov;5(11):28-34. PMID: 23198010; PMCID: PMC3509882.
- Hochman LG, et al. Brittle nails: response to daily biotin supplementation. Cutis. 1993 Apr;51(4):303-5.
Scheinfeld N, Dahdah MJ, Scher R. Vitamins and minerals: their role in nail health and disease. J Drugs Dermatol. 2007 Aug;6(8):782-7. PMID: 17763607.
- Cashman MW, et al. Nutrition and nail disease. Clin Dermatol. 2010 Jul-Aug;28(4):420-5. Palace VP, et al. Antioxidant potentials of vitamin A and carotenoids and their relevance to heart disease. Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Mar;26(5-6):746-61.
Palace VP, Khaper N, Qin Q, Singal PK. Antioxidant potentials of vitamin A and carotenoids and their relevance to heart disease. Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Mar;26(5-6):746-61. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5849(98)00266-4. PMID: 10218665.
Valentini L, Pinto A, Bourdel-Marchasson I, Ostan R, Brigidi P, Turroni S, Hrelia S, Hrelia P, Bereswill S, Fischer A, Leoncini E, Malaguti M, Blanc-Bisson C, Durrieu J, Spazzafumo L, Buccolini F, Pryen F, Donini LM, Franceschi C, Lochs H. Impact of personalized diet and probiotic supplementation on inflammation, nutritional parameters and intestinal microbiota – The “RISTOMED project”: Randomized controlled trial in healthy older people. Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;34(4):593-602. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.09.023. Epub 2014 Oct 8. PMID: 25453395.
- Douglas RM, et al. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004 Oct 18;(4):CD000980.
- Ringsdorf WM Jr, et al. Vitamin C and human wound healing. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1982 Mar;53(3):231-6.
- Pearson DA. Bone health and osteoporosis: the role of vitamin K and potential antagonism by anticoagulants. Nutr Clin Pract. 2007 Oct;22(5):517-44.
- Schunck M, et al. Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body Mass Index-Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology. J Med Food. 2015 Dec;18(12):134