Best Multivitamins for Women
Many nutritionists state that it’s a good idea for everyone to take a multivitamin, even if you don’t consider your diet unhealthy, for extra nutritional insurance. It is extra important for women, whose nutritional needs may change throughout their lives in ways they aren’t always aware of.
How do they work?
Multivitamins for women work to make women healthier at different stages of life by treating and preventing vitamin deficiencies. Depending on the type of multivitamin and the different nutrients included, the multivitamin may affect different processes within the body. Iron, for instance, is used in the body’s production of hemoglobin, myoglobin, and some hormones, which makes it an important part of most women’s multivitamins. It is critical for the transport of oxygen to the lungs, muscles, and all other tissues. Folate, another important ingredient in multivitamins for women, also helps with the production of red blood cells and a healthy cardiovascular system. There are many other nutrients, as well, which may play different roles in the body and be important for women at different points in their lives.
Conditions Treated by Multivitamins for Women
Multivitamins can be taken as prevention, but they can also be used to treat vitamin deficiencies. There are some nutrients that women are more likely to be deficient in than men. Iodine deficiency is common, particularly in young women between 20 and 40 years old. It can be dangerous, especially for pregnant women, as it can cause hypothyroidism in women and intellectual disabilities in developing fetuses. Vitamin D deficiency is also common, especially in colder months when we may spend less time outside and getting help with vitamin D production from the sun. This deficiency can cause an increased risk of depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and, in pregnant women, bone density problems for the baby.
Conditions Prevented by them
Conditions that occur as a result of vitamin deficiencies may not be noticed until treatment is too late, which is why prevention with multivitamins is so important. For example, women are at a higher risk for osteoporosis than men, especially after age 50, so vitamins that contain nutrients like calcium can help to prevent this. Iron deficiency anemia is another big risk for women, especially young women. Because they lose blood every month as part of their menstrual cycle, young women are more likely to develop iron deficiency anemia than pretty much any other group. By taking multivitamins that contain iron (which most women’s multivitamins do), you can reduce your risk of iron deficiency anemia. Other forms of anemia can be caused by other deficiencies, such as folate (vitamin B9) deficiency. Since folate helps the body form red blood cells, consuming enough folate can help prevent the development of anemia.
Types of Multivitamins for Women
Women may have different nutritional needs at different points in their lives. As a result, there are different types of multivitamins available for women, depending on their needs. This may include:
- Multivitamins for young women - These general multivitamins are designed for the nutritional needs of women between 18 and 50 years old. They aim to prevent iron and folate deficiency, while also promoting brain, bone, and immune health.
- Multivitamins for older women - A woman’s nutritional needs change after menopause, so multivitamins targeted towards women over age 50 will be different from those for younger women. These multivitamins don’t contain iron, as the risk of iron deficiency is lowered once a woman no longer menstruates, and they focus more on bone health and osteoporosis prevention.
- Prenatal multivitamins - Pregnant women need enough nutrients to support both their health and the health of their baby. They are also at a higher risk for certain deficiencies, so prenatal vitamins prevent these common issues and promote the healthy development of the fetus.
- Postnatal multivitamins - Women who have given birth within the last six months, especially when they are also breastfeeding, have different nutritional needs, too. Postnatal vitamins support the health of women in the postpartum period, and they also keep the baby healthy by providing enough nutrients for the production of healthy breast milk.
The type of multivitamin that is right for you will depend on your age and whether or not you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Take a look at our list of the top ten women’s multivitamins to find the best multivitamin of the type that is right for you.
The critical vitamins for women’s nutrition can be found in food sources, although a multivitamin is still recommended, especially during pregnancy.
- Folate - Folate can be found in foods like lentils, avocados, and oranges.
- Iron - Beans, peas, and vegetables like chard are all good sources of iron.
- Omega 3 - Seafood is usually a good source of omega 3; for instance, shellfish, salmon, and tuna all contain lots of omega 3.
By preventing or treating nutritional deficiencies, multivitamins can offer lots of health benefits. Many people report improvements in their energy levels and their mood after they start taking multivitamins. Multivitamins can also give you a stronger immune system and better cardiovascular health. Women often report that their hair, nails, and skin feel healthier and look better when they take multivitamins. Brain function and muscular strength may also be increased with the use of multivitamins, and there is evidence that eye health is improved, too.
Side Effects of Multivitamins for Women
When multivitamins are taken as directed, they are generally not likely to cause side effects. The side effects that do occur are almost always minor and go away after a short amount of time. The most common side effect of taking multivitamins is stomach problems. Some people experience constipation, diarrhea, or other digestive issues when they start to take multivitamins. This is generally just the body’s response to a new supplement, and as the body adjusts, these side effects should disappear. More serious side effects tend to occur only in individuals with allergies to ingredients in the multivitamin. This is why it is important to make sure that your doctor is aware of any allergies you have and any supplements you are considering, including multivitamins, to minimize your risk of a serious reaction. If you do experience an allergic reaction or side effects that do not go away, you should bring them up with your doctor.
Precautions and Warnings
Make your doctor aware of your known allergies, medical conditions, and current medications, so that they can best advise you on how to safely take a multivitamin. When taken as directed, multivitamins are almost always safe. Be cautious of taking a multivitamin with folate if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, as this can interfere with test results and potentially hinder your treatment. If you have a history of substance abuse, intestinal disease, or liver disease, discuss the safety of multivitamins with your doctor. Do not take a type of multivitamin that is not designed for you; women who are not pregnant should not take prenatal vitamins, and post-menopausal women should not take multivitamins intended for your women, for example.
How long do I take multivitamins?
For most people, it is safe to take a daily multivitamin for your entire life. However, most women will need to change the type of multivitamin they take at some point during their life. You may want to take a general multivitamin from the time you are eighteen onward, but if you decide to have a family, you should switch to prenatal and then postnatal vitamins when you start trying to get pregnant and then after giving birth. Eventually, after going through menopause, you should switch to a multivitamin designed for women over age 50. Your doctor will be able to advise you on how long to take multivitamins and at what point you should change the type of multivitamin you take, so that your vitamins work best for you and your life.
It can sometimes be dangerous to take multivitamins along with other supplements, as it may cause you to double up on some nutrients unnecessarily. Don’t forget to mention anything you are taking, even vitamins and other dietary supplements, to your doctor. Prescription medications are not the only things that can interact with multivitamins! Most women’s multivitamins, except for those meant for women over age 50, contain iron. These multivitamins should not be taken at the same time as antacids, thyroid medications, some antibiotics, bisphosphonates, and some other medications. Discuss the potential of medication interactions with your doctor and bring up any medication you are currently taking. Multivitamins containing folate, which many women’s multivitamins do, should not be taken at the same time as an anti-seizure medication. Multivitamins for women can also interfere with certain types of lab test results, so make any medical personnel aware of your supplements when they are treating or testing you.
Multivitamins are valuable for women, as nutritional needs change at different points in a woman’s life. By taking the age- and life-stage-appropriate multivitamin, a woman can improve her bone, immune, cardiovascular, and brain health. If taken as directed, multivitamins should be very safe and cause no long-term or serious side effects. Ask your doctor about what kind of multivitamins would be valid for you at this point in your life, and then check out our recommendations to find the highest-rated products that meet the requirements you’re looking for.
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