As we age, our bodies and their nutritional needs change. When we're younger, we may need more iron from our diet or supplements to offset what we lose during menstruation. Postmenopause, our bodies don't need the same amount of iron to stay healthy. Aging also affects how our bodies absorb nutrients from our food, like in the case of vitamin B12. Even if you haven't needed a supplement up until now, you might find that you now may benefit from one.
While you can combat any possible nutrient deficiencies with a well-balanced diet, it can be difficult to manage consistently. Sometimes, you need a little help. The best multivitamins for women over 50 can help ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
Thorne Women's Multi 50 Plus is the best overall multivitamin for women over 50 because of its robust nutritional value. It's one of the most comprehensive multivitamins available. Thorne supplements include key nutrients like folate, biotin, calcium, iodine, boron, vitamin A, C, D, E and various B vitamins.
With Thorne, you're getting a hefty lineup of vitamins and nutrients. The magnesium and calcium included are in an extremely absorbable chelated form, meaning they are bound to an amino acid and don't require stomach acid to digest -- so you get the most out of what you're taking. Thorne supplements also contain lutein, which is an antioxidant that is critical for eye and brain function. Studies show that higher lutein levels result in better performance on cognitive tasks.
Price: $46 for 180 capsules
Dosage: 6 capsules per day
Thorne best features:
- Facilities that produce Thorne vitamins are third-party certified for quality and NSF Certified for Sport.
- Thorne includes numerous vitamins and nutrients that traditional vitamin options don't have, like lutein.
Things to consider:
- Thorne is more expensive than other options on the list at $46 for 180 capsules. With a serving size of six capsules a day, that's only a 30-day supply.
- Six vitamins a day are a lot to manage.
Those looking for a gummy multivitamin instead of a tablet or pill should keep SmartyPants Masters Formula Women 50 Plus on their list. It's our pick for the best gummy vitamin for women over 50. This multivitamin includes various nutrients like folate, vitamins A, C, D, B6 and B12. You also get lutein for eye health. It doesn't include iron to accommodate the needs of women over 50.
When it comes to gummy multivitamins, we have to talk about sugar. With the delicious flavors comes the high sugar content. User reviews point to SmartyPants gummies tasting really good and not leaving any sort of aftertaste in your mouth. Still, SmartyPants multivitamins have a considerable amount of sugar at 6 grams per serving.
Price: $30 for 180 gummies
Dosage: 4 gummies per day
SmartyPants best features:
- SmartyPants multivitamins for women over 50 are made in CGMP-compliant facilities. These are third-party testing facilities that ensure purity. However, the name of these third-party organizations are not available.
- In addition to a solid nutritional profile, users say they taste really good.
Things to consider:
- SmartyPants has a high sugar content that some people may want to avoid.
- Four gummies may be more than you want to manage each day.
If you're looking for a women's 50-plus multivitamin and certified vegan product, consider Ritual, a subscription-based vitamin brand.
Ritual Essential for Women focuses on your body's needs after menopause and includes nutrients like folate, magnesium, DHA, omega-3s and various B vitamins. I was happy to see boron on Ritual's ingredient list. Boron aids bone metabolism and health, which is crucial for women over 50 who are at risk of osteoporosis.
Note that Ritual is a great addition to an already healthy diet, but it isn't as comprehensive as other options could be. The nutrients included in the multivitamin are synthesized compounds from nature. Vitamin D3 is made from lichen and the DHA included is derived from microalgae. The gel capsule and patented beadlet in oil design is claimed to have a delayed-release capsule that dissolves in the small intestine to help you better absorb nutrients.
Price: $35 for 60 capsules
Dosage: 2 capsules per day
Ritual best features:
- The manufacturing facilities that produce Ritual vitamins are National Sanitation Foundation-certified, ensuring that FDA quality standards are met. Ritual vitamins are also third-party tested by Eurofins and IEH laboratories and USP certified.
- The dosage is only two capsules daily, which is much more manageable than other options. Capsules have a natural mint flavoring to reduce nausea.
- Certified vegan product.
Things to consider:
- It's not the most comprehensive vitamin on the market. It's not best suited for people with significant deficiencies.
Owned by German pharma giant Bayer, One A Day is one of the most popular and affordable vitamin supplements. The best part is that you only have to take one tablet a day. With other options on this list requiring five or more capsules a day, One A Day is a great choice for people who are too busy to manage multiple doses.
Note that the tablets are on the larger size; user reviews compare it to the width of a quarter. While it isn't what I would consider too big, it may be a problem for those who have trouble swallowing pills.
One A Day includes the essential nutrients for issues faced by women over 50, like bone and nerve health decline. You'll get a healthy dose of B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium and magnesium. It contains no artificial colors or flavors and is allergy-free.
Price: $17 for 200 tablets
Dosage: 1 tablet per day
One A Day best features:
- Only having to take one a day is helpful for women with busy schedules.
- One A Day women's multivitamins are ConsumerLab approved, which signals to me that what is listed on the bottle is what you actually get.
Things to consider:
- Even though you only have to take one, the tablet is pretty big, which can be difficult to swallow.
- While One A Day doesn't offer a lot of personalization or added perks (like the mint flavor of Ritual), One A Day is a dependable option that people know and trust.
Seeking Health Optimal Multivitamin offers women over 50 something that other vitamins on this list don't: a hefty dose of antioxidants. Antioxidants are more than just a buzzword. Antioxidants repair DNA and keep our cells healthy. This multivitamin contains carotenoid antioxidants and N-acetyl cysteine, aka NAC, which protect against cell damage.
While studies suggest that taking antioxidant supplements does not prevent some diseases or slow aging, others say that having additional antioxidants in the body give additional protection from the sun, reduces inflammation and improves skin appearance.
Seeking Health Optimal Multivitamin is an iron-free supplement, making it a good choice for women over 50.
Price: $55 for 240 capsules
Dosage: 8 capsules per day
Seeking Health best features:
- While it's not third-party tested, this multivitamin is made at facilities that meet CGMP requirements.
- The multivitamin comes in capsule form, though you can opt for a chewable tablet.
Things to consider:
- It's not the most affordable multivitamin at around $55 for a 240-count bottle. The serving size for this multivitamin is eight capsules a day, which means one bottle is a 30-day supply.
- If you have trouble keeping up with multivitamins, eight might be too much for you.
How we test multivitamins
Vitamins aren't a one-size-fits-all industry. There is a ton of nuance that can't be ignored when shopping around. Based on a few key factors, I've pulled together a curated list of the best multivitamins for women available. I haven't tested these products in-house; the selections were made based on product research for certifications and vitamin and mineral ingredients.
Frequently asked questions
What do women over 50 need from their multivitamins?
We change as we age, and so does what our bodies need. For many people, they change in predictable patterns. For instance, premenopausal women need extra iron to make up for what's lost during menstruation. However, after menopause, a woman's iron needs decrease. Keeping up the same supplemental iron level after menopause can have side effects like stomach aches, nausea and vomiting. More severely, excess iron can lead to organ failure and death.
It's estimated that 50% of women over 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. However, don't add that calcium supplement to your cart just yet; not every woman over 50 is calcium-deficient. And having too much calcium from supplements in your body can have some serious side effects. Research shows that excess calcium can damage your heart and kidneys. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement high in calcium.
The key is to make sure you only supplement the nutrients you need. You can get too much of a good thing, so you shouldn't overload yourself with any one nutrient. It's important to speak with your doctor about any vitamin deficiencies you may have. You may or may not need vitamin supplements at all.
How do I choose the best vitamin for women over 50?
Finding the best multivitamin for women over 50 can be tough, especially with a market that's flooded with really good options. My best advice is to choose a product that best fits your needs, even if it is not the best regarded option. Your specific health, budget and dietary concerns will help you decide which multivitamin is best suited for you.
Factors to keep in mind:
- Drug interactions: Some supplements, like antioxidants or vitamin E, can interact with existing medications you may be taking. For example, vitamin E can amplify the effects of blood thinners.
- Your budget: There is a quality multivitamin at every budget level. However, the ones with the most personalization or special additives -- like probiotics -- will cost more. Deciding how much you're willing to spend will help you narrow down your search.
- Dosage: If only all vitamins were one pill. That's not the reality of the vitamin market. Many of the best supplements require that you take five or more capsules a day. That is not ideal for some.
- Vitamin form: For those who have difficulty swallowing pills, you should consider the form your multivitamin comes in. Some tablets or capsules are larger than others and may impede your ability to consistently take them. Consider one of the best gummy vitamins for women over 50 instead.
- Your deficiencies: Vitamins are intended to fill in the gaps left by our diet. If you don't have any gaps, you don't need to take a vitamin supplement. Depending on your needs, some options will be better suited than others. If you're not sure what you need, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.
Is a multivitamin worth taking?
Multivitamins and supplements are worthwhile to take if you need them. For many people, multivitamins aren't necessary because they get everything they need from their diet. However, some will not get what they need, whether because of age-related absorption issues, chronic illness or dietary restrictions, and multivitamins are necessary. If you're unsure if you're deficient in any nutrients, talk to your doctor.
Is it better to take a multivitamin or individual vitamins?
Think about multivitamins as a safety net for the key vitamins and minerals your body needs, but you might not be getting enough of. The typical multivitamin, like One A Day or Nature Made, doesn't have extremely high nutrient levels, meaning that most people can take them safely without worry. However, multivitamins can get expensive the more personalized or comprehensive they get, and if you don't need all the vitamins included, it can be an unnecessary cost.
Individual vitamins are best suited for people with few deficiencies and don't need all the extra ones a multivitamin includes. One isn't better or worse; it will depend on your needs and deficiencies.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.