Many women use multivitamins like an insurance policy — that is, they take an all-in-one supplement each day to cover any deficiencies in their daily diet. It's a simple, convenient way to make sure you're getting nutrients you need. Women have special nutritional requirements: Their multivitamins should have adequate folic acid, calcium, iron, vitamin D, and magnesium.
Both "Women's Health" magazine and ConsumerLab.com picked One-A-Day Women's as their top multivitamin. It has extra calcium, vitamin D, iron, and folic acid, and just enough vitamin A, which has been linked to birth defects in higher-than-recommended quantities.
Centrum Ultra Women's
ConsumerLab also gave Centrum its seal of approval for quality, as did Consumer Reports. It contains 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for folic acid and iron, and has comparable levels of calcium and magnesium to One-A-Day. Centrum has slightly lower levels of vitamin D than One-A-Day, but still provides twice the RDA.
GNC Women's Ultra Mega
GNC Women's Ultra Mega is a bargain alternative to the mainstream brands. It carries slightly less vitamin D, but still more than the RDA. It's comparable in levels of iron, calcium, and folic acid — and has a higher dose of magnesium than its competitors.
Metabolic Maintenance FemOne
Metabolic Maintenance's FemOne formula is particularly rich in iron and folic acid. It does, however, lack calcium and magnesium, meaning you might want to take these supplements separately if FemOne is your multivitamin of choice.
Viactiv Multivitamin Chews
Viactiv offers its one-a-day multivitamin as a milk chocolate-flavored soft chew. The chew lacks a full daily dose of calcium, but provides folic acid and vitamin D. The chewable form and flavor makes this vitamin particularly easy to take.
Vitabase Active Women's Multi
Vitabase's women's daily capsule offers a full complement of vitamin D, iron, magnesium, and folic acid. It also contains the herbs dong quai and black cohosh, for menstrual regulation, plus extract of cranberry and Uva ursi berries to support bladder and kidney health.
Mother Nature Women's Basic Multi
Mother Nature's multivitamin offers a full daily dose of vitamin D, folic acid, and iron. It is also vegetarian-friendly, and inexpensive relative to the competition.
Nature Made Multi For Her
The just-for-women offering from the widely available Nature Made brand provides optimum doses of vitamin D and folic acid, plus calcium and iron.
Rainbow Light Just Once Natural Women's One
This once-daily multivitamins includes enhanced doses of vitamin D and folic acid, and uses a custom "women's nourishing blend" of herbs including dong quai and spirulina; it also includes probiotics to support digestion.
Puritan's Pride Woman's One Daily
The bargain-priced caplet from Puritan's Pride provides generous doses of vitamin D, folic acid, and iron — and is gluten-, yeast- and lactose-free.
- CNN.com: The Best Multivitamin For You—And 11 To Steer Clear Of
- IDEA Health AndfFitness Association: Multiple Answers About Multivitamins
- "Women's Health": The Truth About Multivitamins; Richard Laliberte; May 2007
- Consumer Reports: Multivitamins; February 2006
- The Daily Green: FDA Finds Lead In Vitamins