What Every Woman Should Know Before Taking a Multivitamin

As a healthy lifestyle expert and consultant, avid athlete, wife and mother, I’m always on the hunt for practical and affordable health-promoting products that make it easier for women to live well by putting their wellbeing at the forefront of everything they do.

While I’m personally not a big fan of dietary supplements, I do occasionally include them on my shortlist of products to review. Indeed, multivitamins are the world’s most popular dietary supplements, used by 40-50% of American women on a daily basis.

Multivitamins generally contain at least 100% of most micronutrients at recommended daily intake levels, including nearly all the essential vitamins along with sizable amounts of key minerals.

Related Article: Micronutrients: The Nutritional Building Blocks for Good Health

Interestingly, nowadays, more and more of these vitamins are specifically aimed at women’s health. For instance, a women’s multivitamin may be specially formulated with more calcium and iron due to a woman’s relatively higher demands for these minerals throughout the lifespan.

Related Article: The Importance of Getting Enough Dietary Calcium

Multivitamins are the world’s most popular dietary supplements, used by 40-50% of American women on a daily basis.

Needless to say, a question that I’m often asked by female clients, readers, and followers is whether or not I’m a proponent of taking multivitamins.

Honestly, it’s pretty much impossible for me to give a simple “Yes” or “No” to that question.

On the one hand, you can greatly optimize your nutrition and achieve good health by eating a well-planned, balanced mix of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, good fats, and complete protein sources like meats, poultry, fish, dairy products and high-quality soy foods.

Collectively, these foods are some of the richest sources of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants, which inherently negates the necessity for supplementing.

But, on the other hand, if your diet severely lacks certain micronutrients, taking a multivitamin can definitely help pick up some of the slack.

And then there’s the question of which multivitamin is best?

Well, due to the generally chaotic nature of the global dietary supplements market, this is yet another question that’s especially difficult to answer.

Problem is, in spite of their widespread popularity and use, there’s actually no legal or regulatory definition of standardization for supplements. This includes multivitamins. Therefore, it’s difficult to say that one is better than the other.

I will say, however, that in accordance with current research, it’s better to stick with those comprised of at least 10 essential micronutrients at recommended daily intake levels as opposed to megadosing on single micronutrients.

Related Article: Do Antioxidant Supplements Really Work?

I also suggest scrutinizing food labels in order to choose a multivitamin derived from whole foods as opposed to synthetic ingredients. This way, you’re supplying your body with high-quality micronutrients that are as close to their “natural” form as possible.

Now, at the end of the day, I believe that most people can get all the micronutrients they need and a host of other valuable nutrients by simply consuming a balanced diet with healthy choices from all the different food groups.

No supplements necessary.

Most people can get all the micronutrients they need and a host of other valuable nutrients by simply consuming a balanced diet with healthy choices from all the different food groups.

My goal here is to provide the information you need to make a well-informed decision, whether you choose to buy or not. It’s also important to check with your health care provider before starting any supplement regimen.

Although research examining the overall effectiveness of different multivitamins is ongoing, daily supplementation may be particularly beneficial for younger women of child-bearing age, older women going through menopause, and those battling illness and chronic disease.

Just remember that multivitamins are supplements and, as the name implies, they should only be used to “supplement” and not substitute a balanced diet or any other healthy lifestyle habits.