Get your daily dose of nutrients with our pick of the best women’s multivitamins
Feeling tired, cold and a little down in the dumps? It could be what you’re eating — or not eating — that’s causing you to feel off. Women tend to be more deficient than men in a range of vitamins — particularly during pregnancy — including vitamin D, calcium, iron, vitamin B and folate (to name a few).
Keeping yourself topped up with a women’s multivitamin could be all you need to keep your health on an even keel. So if you’re searching for the right supplement, you’ve come to the right place.
But there are some important things to bear in mind when choosing your multivitamins. Here’s everything you need to know.
What vitamins do women need?
Think you eat a healthy diet? Even if you do, you might not be getting all of the important nutrients you need. Particularly if you’re a woman. Things like having your period and pregnancy can make women deficient in some of the key nutrients we need to keep our bodies fighting fit and us pumped with energy.
Some of the key vitamins and nutrients women lack in are:
Women aged 20 to 39 tend to have lower iodine levels than women of other ages. We need iodine to make essential thyroid hormones, which are used for growth, energy, as well as brain and bone development during pregnancy and early childhood.
More than 50% of children and pregnant or breastfeeding women living in Australia have been shown to be iodine deficient, which makes you more at risk of developing thyroid disease.
A lot of prenatal vitamins will contain iodine, as it’s particularly dangerous for pregnant women and can cause disabilities in the foetus.
Calcium also helps with strengthening of the bones — in fact, it’s crucial for our bone health. It works together with vitamin D to keep bones healthy and strong, which is particularly important for older women as bones weaken with age. Women over 50 are therefore more prone to calcium deficiency, which can cause osteoporosis — a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle.
Women are more vulnerable to iron deficiency because we have periods and lose blood every month. Our bodies need to make up for that loss by producing more iron. Pregnant women also need more iron as the body makes more blood during pregnancy to allow for the growth of your baby.
The best way to up your iron intake is through diet — the best source of iron is red meat, with smaller amounts in chicken and fish, and plant foods such as legumes, leafy greens, nuts, wholegrain breads and cereals — but it can be difficult to get enough just through food alone. When you’re low in iron, you can become extremely tired, dizzy and short of breath, and in more serious cases, when iron is particularly low, there is a risk of developing anaemia — which is when your blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. If left untreated, this can make you more susceptible to illness and infection, as a lack of iron affects the body's natural defence system (the immune system). It can also
If you think you are iron deficient, you must visit your doctor to get a blood test. You should only take iron supplements if your blood test shows that you are deficient, and following advice from a health professional.
Folate (also known as vitamin B-9 or folic acid) is a B-group vitamin that your body needs to grow and develop. Everyone needs folate, but it's especially important for pregnant women because a lack of folate can lead to abnormalities in the development of the brain and spinal cord in babies (neural tube defects). It’s also essential for DNA production, and the development of red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body, and prevent anaemia. To prevent anaemia, you need it in conjunction with vitamin B-12 and iron, two other vitamins and minerals women tend to be deficient in.
Ok, now you know what vitamins you need, which multivitamins do you choose?
It’s important to bear in mind that not all women require the same multivitamin. It depends on what you are deficient in, what current medication you’re taking, and on your diet. While you should be getting the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need through your diet, it’s possible to miss out on getting enough of what your body needs, which is when supplements can help. Although there are things to bear in mind, as with taking any health supplements.
Our advice? You should always check with your doctor before starting any supplement regimen. Supplements can interfere with medications you're taking, you could have an allergy or intolerance to an unlisted ingredient or you could even have an underlying condition that’s causing your nutrient deficiency. Your doctor will either recommend taking the appropriate supplements or have recommendations on how to adjust your diet.
What are the benefits of multivitamins?
- Multivitamins are a great way to ‘fill the gaps’ in your nutritional intake.
- Multivitamins are a great way to gain extra nutrition if you eat a restricted diet and cannot get certain nutrients from food — i.e. if you’re a vegan or iron deficient.
- Specific multivitamins are also recommended for women trying to get pregnant or women that are pregnant. Here’s our advice on the best prenatal vitamins.
What are the risks of taking multivitamins?
There are always risks associated with taking vitamins. However, multivitamins are often a low-dose supplement, meaning that the chances of over-ingesting is low when following the instructions.
It’s worth getting a blood test from your doctor, and taking note of any gaps in your nutritional intake before you start taking a daily multivitamin.
Which are the best women’s multivitamins?
Here are some of our favourite women’s multivitamins:
Elevit Women's Daily Multivitamin 100 Tablets
A stress-buster and immune-booster filled with essential vitamins and minerals including iron, B Group Vitamins, Vitamin C and Zinc and Vitamin D, which boosts energy, strengthens your body during times of stress and supports your immunity.
Blackmores Womens Vitality Multi 60 Tablets
Take this nutritional powerhouse daily for increased energy, a healthy stress response, and to keep your moods healthy and balanced.
Swisse Women’s Ultivite Multivitamin 120 Tablets
Packed with 50 vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and herbs to boost energy, stamina and vitality, and to help provide support during stress.
BioCeuticals Women's Essentials 120 Capsules
A women’s all-rounder specially designed to promote healthy blood, thyroid function, healthy glucose metabolism and bone health.
Centrum for Women 60 tablets
This hard-working multivitamin formula contains calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamins A & C and Biotin, to target bone health and healthy skin and nails.
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