First things first: The best way to ensure you're getting all the vitamins and minerals you need is by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, and most women in their 30s probably don't need to be taking any extra vitamins or supplements at all.
"In general, it's not appropriate to start taking a supplement without a definitive reason to," says Anthea Levi, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and founder of the virtual private practice ALIVE+WELL Nutrition. "Supplementation of certain nutrients has even been shown to be harmful to our health."
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The good news is that most women in their fourth decade can check all of their nutrient boxes by eating a wide variety of good-for-you foods, including vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy products and protein sources.
"A woman in their 30s, or any other age, should [first] try and meet their nutritional needs from the food they eat," says Keri Gans, RD, a registered dietitian in New York City.
Still, some women may benefit from supplementation, especially those with nutritional deficiencies or those who don't eat certain foods. Read on for some of the best vitamins for women in their 30s, according to experts.
A Note on Language
These supplements are marketed to women because people assigned female at birth (AFAB) need these specific nutrients during their reproductive years and for overall wellbeing. LIVESTRONG.com aims to use more inclusive language whenever possible, but we use the term "women" in this article to match the marketers' language.
How We Chose
1. Expert input: For help choosing the best vitamins for women in their 30s, we consulted two registered dietitians about the nutrients women in this age group may benefit from — keeping in mind that most won't necessarily need additional supplementation at all.
2. Research: Next, we reviewed nutrition recommendations from leading expert groups, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
3. Certification: The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate vitamins and supplements the same way it regulates drugs. In other words, these products aren't reviewed or approved by the FDA for safety and effectiveness before they're sold.
With that in mind, we made sure all of the products featured below adhere to the FDA's Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) and have a third-party certification from a group such as USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia), NSF or Consumer Lab, which test supplements for quality and purity.
4. Reviews: Finally, we scoured online reviews to make sure the products featured below also received mostly positive reviews for ease of use, taste and efficacy.
Learn more about how we cover products here.
1. Ritual Essential for Women Multivitamin 18+
• USP Verified• Subscription option with free shipping• Subtle mint flavor• Vegan and gluten-free• Contains omega-3 DHAs
• Does not contain calcium or vitamin C, if those are nutrients your doctor has specifically recommended
Who it's for: Women in their 30s who want some nutritional insurance, especially those with dietary restrictions
A multivitamin isn't necessary for everyone, but many people do like reassurance that they're covering all of their nutritional bases, particularly those who don't eat major food groups such as dairy, grains, fish or meat.
"I generally think of a multivitamin as an insurance policy," says Levi. "For women who are limited in what they can eat (say, due to following a vegan diet or avoiding grains due to a confirmed celiac disease diagnosis), a multivitamin can be a helpful way to ensure they're getting all of the nutrients they need for optimal health."
This multivitamin from Ritual is an excellent way to do just that. It has nine ingredients women can often benefit from, including folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D, magnesium and iron ("A multivitamin for a woman in their 30s should definitely include iron," says Gans). It also contains omega-3 DHA fatty acids from microalgae.
2. Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA
• USP Verified• Contains the omega-3 fatty acid DHA• Affordable• One softgel per serving
• Softgels are on the larger side
Who it's for: People of childbearing age
All women of childbearing age, but particularly those planning to get pregnant, should increase their intake of the B vitamin folate, known as folic acid in its synthetic form.
"Folate is necessary for all women of childbearing age to prevent neural tube defects," says Gans.
This popular prenatal vitamin from Nature Made is a great choice. Not only is it affordable and USP-verified with 800 micrograms of folic acid, but it has the added bonus of containing DHA, a beneficial omega-3 fatty acid.
3. Kirkland Signature Sustainably Sourced Fish Oil
• USP Verified• Affordable• Contains both DHA and EPA• One softgel per serving
• DHA and EPA levels aren't as high as some other fish oil supplements
Who it's for: People who don't eat fish or whose doctors have recommended they take a fish oil supplement
If you don't eat fish or seafood or if your doctor has recommended it, a daily fish oil supplement may be right for you.
"The omega-3 fatty acids in fish are essential, meaning our bodies cannot produce them on their own and therefore must obtain the healthy fats from the diet," Levi says. "While plant-based foods like chia seeds and walnuts contain a form of omega-3s, they're not as potent as those found in fatty fish, so it's tough to meet your needs with nuts and seeds alone."
(Note that if you're already taking a multi or prenatal vitamin that contains DHA like the ones above, you're already getting some omega-3s.)
These Kirkland softgels are an excellent value: There are 400 servings in a container, making the price per capsule significantly lower than others on the market. They contain 250 milligrams of DHA and EPA, two types of omega-3 fatty acids, and are one of a small number of fish oil supplements to have USP verification.
4. Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 Gummies Sport
• NSF Certified for Sport• Non-GMO verified• Vegetarian• Easy-to-take gummy format
• Contains some sugar (2 grams per serving)• Not the most affordable option
Who it's for: People who live in places that don't get much sunlight or whose doctors have told them they have a vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is an important nutrient for bone health, as well as muscle and immune system function. It's found naturally in some foods, such as fatty fish, fish liver oils and beef liver, as well as fortified foods like breakfast cereal, milk and plant-based milk. And your body can also make some vitamin D when your bare skin is exposed to the sun.
But some people in the U.S. aren't getting enough: Almost 1 in 4 have vitamin D blood levels that are too low, according to the NIH.
"The majority of people living in the Northeast would benefit from supplementing with vitamin D, as it's difficult to maintain adequate serum levels with diet and sun exposure alone, particularly during the winter months," says Levi.
The NIH recommends adults 19 to 70 years old get 15 micrograms (600 IU) of vitamin D a day.
This supplement from Nordic Naturals contains 25 micrograms of D3 (cholecalciferol), which is more than you need, though still within the NIH's recommended limits (100 micrograms). It's also NSF-certified for sport.
Like many gummy vitamins, it does contain a small amount of sugar (2 grams per serving), which is something to keep in mind if you're watching how much you consume.
It is possible to get too much vitamin D from a supplement, so talk to your doctor about the right dosage for you.
Vitamin D can also interact with a number of medications, including some steroids, weight-loss drugs and cholesterol-lowering statins.
5. Thorne Iron Bisglycinate
• NSF Certified for Sport• Dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free• One capsule per serving
• On the more expensive side
Who it's for: People who have an iron deficiency, a heavy menstrual flow or who follow a vegetarian diet
Another especially important mineral for women in their 30s is iron.
Although most people in the U.S. get enough of this mineral, iron deficiency isn't uncommon, the NIH says, especially among pregnant people and women under 50. An iron deficiency can cause you to feel tired, increase your chance of infection and keep you from maintaining a comfortable body temperature.
"For women who have a heavy menstrual flow, they may consider supplementing with iron, especially if they follow a vegetarian or vegan diet," says Gans. "Iron is needed for our red blood cell production and is more easily absorbed through animal-based foods."
Aim for at least 18 milligrams of iron per day or 27 milligrams if you're pregnant (though if you're nursing, the recommendation actually drops to 9 milligrams per day).
You can get iron from a variety of foods, including lean meat, seafood, fortified breakfast cereals, fortified breads, white beans and spinach, but your doctor may recommend a supplement if they think you're at risk for a deficiency, per the NIH.
Thorne Iron Bisglycinate is a high-quality iron supplement that contains 25 milligrams of elemental iron per capsule. This form of iron won't irritate your stomach, reviewers say.
As with the other supplements on this list, don't overdo it, and make sure you have a true deficiency before starting to take an iron supplement. Too much can be detrimental for your health. Iron supplements can also interact with a variety of medications, including levodopa (which is used to treat Parkinson's disease) and levothyroxine (treats hypothyroidism, goiter and thyroid cancer).
What to Know Before You Buy a Supplement
They may market themselves as being health and wellness cure-alls, but dietary supplements aren't necessarily beneficial — or harmless.
While the FDA monitors these products for adverse events or complaints once they're on the market, it doesn't review or approve them before their sold. This means the responsibility mostly falls on the consumer to make sure a product is safe, effective and the right choice for them.
Before purchasing a supplement or vitamin, keep the following in mind:
1. Check With Your Doctor First
Speak to your practitioner or a registered dietitian before starting a new vitamin or supplement routine, especially if you're taking other medicines. "Supplements can come with real risks if taken unnecessarily or in combination with certain medications," Levi says.
For example, the Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women's Health (OWH) notes St. John's wort can make medications (including birth control pills) less effective.
2. Look for Third-Party Testing
"Quality supplements will be third-party tested and have a seal or stamp that tells you so, either on the product's label or website," Levi says. "This demonstrates that the company is doing its due diligence to vet their product and its contents."
Look for supplements that adhere to the FDA's Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) and have certifications from USP, NSF or Consumer Lab, which independently test supplements for quality and purity.
3. Review the Ingredient List
This is especially important for people with allergies to soy or other ingredients that might be included in a supplement, though everyone should do their research.
For example, Levi recommends avoiding supplements that include "a thousand different ingredients," such as powdered supplements, noting that many could do more harm than good, depending on your specific health concerns.
4. Don't Overdo It
Too much of any one nutrient can be detrimental. For example, very high levels of vitamin A could cause birth defects, bone loss or liver damage, the OWH notes.
We have included supplements in a range of categories that may be right for some women in their 30s, but remember to check with your doctor first and avoid mixing different products. If you're taking a multivitamin or prenatal, for example, you likely do not need any additional supplements unless your practitioner has specifically recommended it.
Other Important Nutrients for Your 30s
In addition to the vitamins and nutrients above, women in their 30s should make sure to fill their plates with foods that contain the following:
- Vitamin C: Many people like the idea of supplementing with vitamin C for immune system support, but Levi points out that hitting your vitamin C goals is not difficult to do with food. "Just one bell pepper provides more than 100% of our vitamin C needs for the day," she says. Other C-packed foods include citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes and tomatoes, according to the NIH.
- Calcium: "Women have achieved peak bone mineral density by around age 30, so eating calcium-rich foods is particularly important from this stage of life and onwards," Levi says. Good sources include dairy products, canned fish with bones, kale, broccoli and calcium-fortified tofu, fruit juices and plant-based milks. "It's not necessary to take a calcium supplement unless one is not able to meet their calcium needs through the diet," Levi says. If you have lactose intolerance, ask your doctor if a calcium supplement is right for you.
- Vitamin B12: This vitamin plays an important role in the health of your body's blood and nerve cells. You can find it naturally in foods like eggs, low-fat or fat-free milk, poultry, clams, sardines, flounder, herring, blue cheese and nutritional yeast, as well as foods fortified with vitamin B12, according to the OWH. "This nutrient is found mostly in animal-based foods and is needed to keep your nervous system healthy," says Gans. Most women can get enough B12 through diet alone, but talk to your doctor if you're a vegan or vegetarian and think you might not be getting enough.
- Food & Drug Administration (FDA): "Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) for Dietary Supplements"
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women's Health: "Folate"
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements: "Calcium"
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin B12"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Dietary Supplements and Women's Health"
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements: "Iron"
- National Institutes of Health: "Iron: Health Professional Fact Sheet"
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