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Best Multivitamins for Women of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Written by Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD 

Published on October 11, 2021

Multivitamins can support your health goals and provide assurance that you’re meeting your nutrition needs. But how do you know which one is best for you?

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Best Multivitamins for Women of 2021, According to a Dietitian
Photo Credit: istock.com/Drazen

Multivitamins are one of the most popular supplements used worldwide.

It is estimated that about 1/3 of the population takes at least one multivitamin supplement, and out of those people, women are more likely.

Many people may choose to take a multivitamin to ensure they’re meeting their nutrient requirements.

Depending on your diet choices, schedule, and family life, it may not always be easy to meet your vitamin and mineral needs through diet alone.

If you’re looking to take a women’s daily multivitamin, here are some key things to look for in a supplement.

Summary of Our Picks

What Are Multivitamins?

Multivitamins are supplements that provide a combination of vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients such as probiotics or herbs intended to provide additional health benefits.

There is no set standard on what constitutes a multivitamin, so the ingredients can vary significantly.

A multivitamin typically contains between 10–20 ingredients in varying amounts. They can be found in several forms, such as a capsule, chewable, gummy, or liquid.

The top 3 most common reasons people take multivitamins are:

  • To fill nutrition gaps in the diet
  • To promote health and wellness
  • For chronic disease prevention

Even though multivitamin use is widespread, the research on their benefits without a true nutrient deficiency is unclear. However, in terms of a poor diet or deficiency, the benefits may be more significant.

Either way, many multivitamin users still report improvements in their health.

For example, a 2020 study revealed that those taking a multivitamin supplement did not experience any clinical benefits from taking them. However, the participants still self-reported better overall health.

With the hundreds of different multivitamin supplements out there, it may feel difficult to know what to look for.

Here we break down the most important criteria to look for and our top picks for multivitamins.

What We Look for in a Women’s Multivitamin

When looking for the best multivitamin, the options can feel overwhelming. In addition, the number of ingredients can vary, and not all of them will contain exactly what they say they do.

For this review, I selected the best multivitamins based on the following three criteria:

1. It is a reputable brand with testing for purity, accuracy, and potency.

This assures the ingredients are of high quality and are accurately listed on the nutrition label.

2. It is free of harmful ingredients such as fillers or heavy metals.

Many supplements that are not third-party tested may contain inexpensive fillers or heavy metals that can harm your health.

We look for statements that the product does not include these ingredients or a reputable third-party seal that indicates it’s been tested independently for purity and quality.

3. What form of vitamins it contains.

Some vitamin forms are absorbed more effectively than others, which is essential when taking a supplement.

Even if a particular vitamin is present in a high dose, it will not be appropriately utilized by the body if it is not in the proper form.

An excellent example of this is Vitamin D. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the most bioavailable form, as it is the active form in your body.

Suppose your supplement contains a different form of Vitamin D than D3, such as vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). In that case, your body has to work harder to convert that vitamin to a form that can actually be used.

Considering all these aspects, we pulled together a list of top women’s multivitamins you may want to consider adding to your routine.

Best Overall Multivitamin for Women

New Chapter Women’s Multivitamin + Immune Support

Best Overall Multivitamin for Women
Rating Breakdown
  • Support for Claims:3.0
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:5.0
  • Brand Transparency:4.0

Overall Rating:

4.0

Pros

  • Reputable brand
  • Contains other beneficial superfoods
  • 60-day return policy

Cons

  • Low in iron
  • No official third-party seal

New Chapter is a well-respected, whole foods supplement company. It is one of the top-selling vitamin brands and has multiple seals of approval for its products.

According to the manufacturer, this product is specifically crafted for women to help with stress relief, energy, hair, skin, nails, heart, immunity, and bone support.

As a Registered Dietitian, I appreciate that this product is derived from whole foods.

While more research is needed to confirm that whole food supplements are superior, the research is evident on the health benefits of whole foods in general. Therefore, a whole foods vitamin may be the next best thing.

It is made with certified organic vegetables and herbs and is 100% vegetarian-based.

It also contains several superfoods in addition to the vitamins and minerals present, which help set it apart.

This product is not officially third-party tested for purity, quality, and safety, but it has these four seals of approval:

  1. GMO-free
  2. 100% kosher
  3. ICS (International Certification Services): This verifies that every step in the manufacturing process meets organic standards, including no chemical pesticides, herbicides, or genetic engineering.
  4. NSF-Certified Gluten-Free: This designation assures a product meets FDA (Food & Drug Administration) standards for being truly gluten-free and identifying this on the label.

Many of the product’s ingredients are in highly absorbable forms and contain higher amounts of certain nutrients beneficial for women’s health, such as vitamin D3, folate, and B12.

Price: $35.18 for 72 tablets (Serving size: 1 tablet per day)

The Bottom Line: New Chapter Women’s Multivitamin is a quality choice for someone seeking a general women’s multivitamin. You may need a separate iron supplement if you are anemic, as this product is low in iron.

Always consult with your doctor before starting a new supplement to determine your individual needs.

Best Vegan Women’s Multivitamin

Future Kind Essential for Vegans

Best Vegan Women’s Multivitamin
Rating Breakdown
  • Support for Claims:3.0
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:4.0
  • Brand Transparency:4.0

Overall Rating:

3.8

Pros

  • Created by Dietitians
  • Easy to swallow capsules
  • Free of most major allergens

Cons

  • Not a complete multivitamin
  • No official third-party testing seal

Those who follow a strictly vegan or vegetarian diet may find it more challenging to get enough of certain nutrients in their diet, so a supplement can be beneficial.

This product is 100% vegan and provides only the specific vital nutrients often lacking in vegan diets. This is a good thing because if your diet is balanced otherwise, it is likely not necessary to take a complete multivitamin without any actual deficiencies.

Nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega-3s are present in higher amounts in this product, and it is challenging to obtain enough of these from a vegan diet.

Future Kind products are designed based on the expertise of medical and health professionals, including Registered Dietitians with knowledge of vegan nutrition.

With the purchase of this product, you also gain free access to a vegan nutritionist.

The company claims that this product supports energy, clear thinking, and mood.

They also state that it is third-party tested; however, I could not find an official seal of approval to confirm this.

The product is produced in a GMP-certified facility which assures good manufacturing practices.

Price: $29.95 for a 1-month supply (Serving size: 2 capsules per day)

The Bottom Line: Future Kind Multivitamins are a solid choice for someone following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle seeking a high-quality supplement. If you have a deficiency for a nutrient not present in this product, you may need to take additional supplements.

Always consult with your medical provider before starting a new supplement regimen.

Best Gummy Women’s Multivitamin

SmartyPants Women’s Formula Gummies

Best Gummy Women’s Multivitamin
Rating Breakdown
  • Support for Claims:3.0
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:5.0
  • Brand Transparency:5.0

Overall Rating:

4.3

Pros

  • Bears a reputable third-party seal of approval
  • Free of the top 8 allergens
  • Users report good taste

Cons

  • Contains added sugar
  • Have to take 6 gummies per day

If you hate swallowing pills, a gummy multivitamin may be the best choice for you.

SmartyPants is a reputable brand that is third-party tested by NSF International, an independent testing body that certifies supplements for high quality and purity standards.

They also contain many highly absorbable forms of the vitamins present.

Gummy vitamin brands are sometimes not as potent as capsules. However, this product contains more than 100% of the RDA of nutrients that many are most commonly deficient in, such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fats.

They also contain at least 100% of the RDA for both iodine and biotin, two nutrients essential for women in terms of thyroid health and the health of hair, skin, and nails.

The company claims are that this product supports immunity, energy, and bone health.

While gummy supplements often taste good, they typically contain more calories and sugar than capsules or powders.

This gummy contains 7 grams of sugar per serving; however, it is natural sugar from the fruit, which is preferable.

If you have diabetes or are trying to watch your overall sugar intake, this is something to keep in mind.

Price: $30.95 for a 30-day supply (Serving size: 6 gummies)

The Bottom Line: SmartyPants Multivitamins are a smart choice if you’re seeking a women’s gummy vitamin.

Always consult with your doctor before starting a new supplement to determine your individual needs.

Best Subscription Multivitamin for Women

Ritual Essential for Women

Best Subscription Multivitamin for Women
Rating Breakdown
  • Support for Claims:3.0
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:5.0
  • Brand Transparency:5.0

Overall Rating:

4.3

Pros

  • Third-party seal of approval
  • Personalized for various life stages

Cons

  • No access to dietitian or health professional
  • Degree of personalization is limited (no lab testing or lifestyle quiz available)

Vitamin subscriptions are becoming increasingly popular for those looking for more personalization and consistency in their supplement regimen.

If you find you often forget to buy more vitamins when you run out, a subscription-based vitamin service like Ritual may be the choice for you.

Ritual is a vitamin subscription service that personalizes supplements for women based on life stage.

For example, a different product is formulated for women between 18 and 49 years old than those 50 years old and over.

This helps to more precisely target the nutritional requirements at different times in a woman’s life.

All Ritual products are non-GMO, vegan, third-party tested and sustainably sourced.

Ritual also employs a scientific advisory board comprised of medical doctors, nutritionists, and scientists to guide product development with up-to-date research.

The claimed benefits of Ritual multivitamins include improved mood and energy.

Price: $30–$35 for a 30-day supply, depending on the formulation (Serving size: 2 capsules)

The Bottom Line: Ritual multivitamins are a good choice if you’re seeking the enhanced personalization and convenience of a subscription-based supplement.

Always consult with your doctor before starting a new supplement to determine your individual needs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Multivitamins

  • What are the benefits of taking a multivitamin?

    Possible benefits include improved nutritional intake in those that are deficient. However, for a person without a true vitamin deficiency, the benefits in the research are still not clear.

    If you have a true nutrient deficiency or do not have enough variety in your diet, taking a multivitamin can help fill the gaps.

    If you consume a balanced diet and don’t have any deficiencies, it’s unclear if a multivitamin would offer any additional benefits.

  • Are there any side effects from taking multivitamins?

    General multivitamin supplements have a strong safety profile, and side effects are rare.

    The concern more often lies with single nutrient supplements such as vitamin A or E, which can cause stomach upset or become toxic in very high doses.

  • Can multivitamins improve heart health?

    There are some claims that multivitamins may improve heart health. However, most of the limited research done on this topic is on men.

    Therefore, I would not suggest taking multivitamins to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • Can multivitamins reduce cancer risk?

    A 2012 study called the Physicians’ Health Study II investigated the role of multivitamins on cancer risk.

    The results showed a reduced risk of cancer in those taking multivitamins; however, all participants were doctors leading healthy lifestyles.

    The results concluded that multiple factors likely led to this reduced risk, such as a family history of cancer, a healthy diet, exercise, and was unlikely the multivitamins alone.

    Another large 2009 study in over 160,000 women showed convincing evidence that multivitamin use has little or no effect on the risk of common cancers.

    Therefore, I would not recommend taking a multivitamin to prevent or treat cancer.

The Bottom Line

Multivitamins are a good insurance policy with an overall strong safety profile.

They can help replace shortfall nutrients or nutrients your diet is lacking. However, they do not replace a balanced diet.

A multivitamin is most beneficial if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, lack variety in your diet, or have any specific nutrient deficiencies that warrant a supplement.

Otherwise, eating a well-balanced, healthy diet with plenty of whole foods will be your best bet for optimal health and well-being.

Always consult with a medical doctor or dietitian first to determine your needs if you are concerned about your nutrition.

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