Do women need different vitamins at different ages? Actually, yes! That’s not to say a woman needs to overhaul her supplement regimen every year. There are certain times in which women require different nutrients at different levels. The multivitamin a woman takes in her 20s needs to be updated when she hits her 40s and menopause is on the horizon. Another update is needed post-menopause.
Meanwhile, certain vitamins and minerals remain tried and true throughout these various life stages — meaning they’re as important to take when a woman is in her teens and 20s as they are when she’s in her 50s and beyond.
To discover which vitamins women should take daily — and what to look for in a multivitamin based on age — we consulted NYC-based registered dietitian Amy Shapiro.
Why Do Women Need Different Vitamins and Minerals at Different Life Stages?
When it comes to the vitamins women should take on a daily basis, there’s no one-vitamin-fits-all recommendation for every age.
For starters, nutritional needs are highly personal based on a number of factors, such as genetics, medical history, diet and lifestyle. Plus, it's important to note that a woman’s nutrient requirements naturally shift as the years go by. “At different stages in our lives, we require different nutrients to keep up with health goals, activity and hormones,” Shapiro explains. “As these all change, we require different amounts.”
What Vitamins Should a Woman Take Daily?
Again, different multivitamins (and other dietary supplements) can help women reach shifting nutrient requirements throughout their lifetime. However, certain vitamins and minerals are present in many multivitamins, no matter the age for which they’re recommended.
“B vitamins [as well as] vitamins A, C, E, D and K are the main ones that come to mind as not really needing to be edited or changed much,” Shapiro shares.
She also adds that magnesium, potassium and omega fatty acids are generally recommended nutrients that can support well-being throughout a woman’s lifetime, whether they’re delivered through diet, supplementation or both sources.
What Are the Main Nutrient Requirements That Differ for Women Throughout Life’s Stages?
Menstruation — and its cessation prior to, during and after menopause — is a major factor that impacts a woman’s evolving vitamin and mineral needs.
Shapiro lists the following vitamins and minerals as ones that typically shift depending on age (and considering menstruation and menopause):
- Folic Acid
- Some B Vitamins
- Magnesium (for some)
For instance, women who don’t or no longer menstruate will require less iron than those who do. That’s because iron is typically lost during menstruation and needs to be replenished.
What Are the Main Considerations Women at Any Age Should Keep in Mind When Shopping for a Multivitamin?
Shapiro suggests starting with age then being mindful of several other elements.
First, she advocates for being a conscious consumer and thoroughly investigating labels. “When shopping for a multivitamin, first read the label and see how many vitamins equals a serving,” she advises. Doing so will help determine exactly how much of each nutrient is delivered on a daily basis. Additionally, for specific goals (like increasing energy, correcting for iron deficiency, or maintaining bone health), Shapiro suggests reading the label to “make sure you are getting a high percentage daily value of that nutrient. Also, if you need a different concentration of a specific vitamin or mineral, then you may need to supplement with that directly.”
While multivitamins can help cover many of the nutritional bases, there will likely be certain vitamins and minerals that need to be prioritized, increased and/or added to a daily regimen to address any health concerns and support personal goals.
Again, it’s worth reiterating that nutrition and supplementation should still be quite individualized based on a woman’s unique lifestyle. For example, those who follow a vegetarian or plant-based diet may benefit from taking a dedicated vitamin B12 supplement to support healthy cellular energy levels.*
Finally, a woman may choose to take a multivitamin that was formulated by a doctor or offers one-daily convenience. She may want to take a traditional multi tablet or she may prefer a yummy gummy multi or a tasty multi chew. She may even prefer one crafted by a value-driven B Corporation. MegaFood not only checks these boxes, but also offers a full line of One Daily women’s multivitamins tailored for different age groups.*