Is there a difference between women’s and men’s multivitamins? The short answer is, there should be! And this difference is “based on specific nutrient needs” of women and men, according to Karen Raden of Raden Wellness.
One is the reasons it is beneficial to take a gender specific multivitamin if you are a woman is that women’s multivitamins are formulated to address the substantial shifts that happen in a woman's body at different life stages. From menstruating to pregnancy, and perimenopause to post-menopause, MegaFood offers a different multi for every different stage in a woman’s life.
Women’s Vs. Men’s Vitamins: What’s the Difference?
“Most men do not need [as much] iron as they are not getting menstrual cycles,” Raden explains, adding that women’s multivitamins typically “contain more nutrients to support hormonal balance.” According to the NIH, adult men between 19 and 50 years need 8 mg of iron daily, while women between 19 and 50 years of age need 18 mg of iron daily.
While neutral or non-gender-specific multivitamins are available, Raden says that the “iron [level] is a key component of deciding what multivitamin to take” as it is possible that taking a vitamin for the opposite gender might not be a good idea, especially when taking a multivitamin to address a deficiency in iron.
What are the common vitamins found in a women’s multivitamin?
MegaFood’s Multi for Women, for example, are crafted with a unique pairing of key vitamins and nutrients (like vitamins A & C) with real food (like carrots & organic oranges) to support a woman’s nutritional needs for optimal health & well-being. They are designed to support a woman’s unique physiological needs, including normal hormonal fluctuations associated with the menstrual cycle. A woman’s multi should also include B vitamins to promote healthy cellular energy production & nervous system health.
In addition, women also lose bone density at a faster rate than men and may benefit from the addition of calcium and vitamin D to support healthy bones.
What are the common vitamins found in a men’s multivitamin?
Common men’s multis are generally formulated with similar vitamins and minerals (like vitamins A & C) and in the case of Megafood, real food (like carrots & organic oranges). However, a men’s multi is missing the iron, calcium and magnesium found in a women’s multi. It is not recommended for men to supplement their diet with iron or calcium unless otherwise recommended and under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner. They are designed to support the unique nutritional needs of men for optimal health & well-being. Most include B vitamins to support healthy cellular energy production & nervous system health* and choline to support healthy memory and cognitive function*
What’s NOT inside a multi matters, too. Raden says to “look for supplements that do not have added colors or artificial sweeteners.” Look for a multivitamin brand that offers third party certification. MegaFood vitamins proudly displays certification like Non-GMO Project Verified and Glyphosate Residue Free.
Are women’s multivitamins necessary?
Yes! Even those who eat a healthy diet will probably have nutritional gaps. Naturopathic Doctor, and MegaFood Medical Director, Dr. Erin Stokes, explains, “Food is always first for our vitamin and mineral intake, however, it’s challenging to get all of the nutrients that you need from your diet alone. Because of that, a multivitamin can help fill the gaps in the diet.”
A multivitamin is often recommended by your doctor. She or he might even request blood work to identify any deficiencies or areas of concern. Taking a daily women’s multivitamin can be beneficial and necessary for getting enough essential vitamins and minerals.
What Type of Multivitamin Should I Take?
Ultimately, each individual should talk to a doctor (obstetrician, gynecologist or primary care doctor) to decide which multi is the right multi. A doctor will most likely order blood test to get a better idea of individual nutrient levels and any potential deficiencies or markers that would suggest supplementation of a specific vitamin or mineral. When choosing a multivitamin, it’s important to reference the list of nutrients as different brands have varying nutrient levels. A woman’s just-right multi supports the levels her doctor thinks best address her individual health needs.