#HerHealthMatters: A 360 Degree Perspective on Why Multivitamins for Women are Essential for Overall Development

“One out of three people in developing countries are affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies and therefore more subject to infection, birth defects and impaired physical and psycho-intellectual development.” (WHO 2006).

We do not require any supplements; our food would provide us with all the vitamins and minerals. But do we live in an ideal world?

Stresses, medical complications, and active living can create a greater need in your body for selective minerals or vitamins. A healthy balanced diet often renders a source of vitamins and minerals. But taking multivitamin supplements in addition to your healthy diet may prove helpful in ensuring your body takes the nutrients it needs each day. Also, supplementation assists in decreasing your risk of chronic disease and lessens your long-term health care costs.

What are Multivitamins?

As per the National Institute of Health (NIH), there’s no official definition for what needs to be in a multivitamin, especially what nutrients it should have and what quantities. Nevertheless, there are a few common vitamins and minerals found in a range of multivitamins. These include Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Vitamin K, Iodine, Zinc, and Iron.

Usually, multivitamins are in pill, tablet, liquid syrups, powders, or gummy form with nutrients at levels close to their Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). There are variations: some are produced as multivitamins for women, kids, men, pregnant women, or senior citizens and presumably contain more of the vitamins or minerals that these groups might need.

Nutritionists Explain Why do we need Supplements

Because of the times we live in and the kind of lifestyle most of us are leading, supplementing the diet has become a mandate. The reasons are poor diet, environmental pollution, stress, calorie-restrictive diets, and the need to fight against nutritional deficiencies.

Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal explains that a Vitamin D supplement, for instance, is a must for someone who spends most of the time indoors with negligible exposure to sunlight. And it is not shocking that the majority of the urban working population falls into this category.

According to nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar in one of her interviews, given the kind of food we eat and the amount of stress we have in our daily lives, we need multivitamin supplements for maximum functioning. In her book Don’t Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight, she has described how including food supplements in the diet will do more good than harm. This, of course, is along with the fact that you consume them as prescribed by a health expert.

Diwekar quotes in her book, “I know vitamin and mineral supplements are no replacement to healthy eating, regular exercise, and a positive attitude. But when you have a baseline diet in place, work out regularly, and are compassionate towards yourself and the world, food supplements will help make them work at their best.”

Multivitamins for Women: Why There is a Need?

Multivitamins for Women: Why is it Required?

Whether you’re athletic or spend most of your time in the office, every woman needs to maintain adequate nutrition. Not getting enough of each necessary vitamin and mineral and a nutrient-deficient diet can harm health and well-being.

Here are the top three reasons vitamin supplements for women ensure that they get the daily dose of nutrients:

  • Not Enough Nutrients in the Diet

Women have become more health-conscious in the last few years. Organic produce and safe food products are freely available now. Still, there has been a great deal of confusion on which foods are fit for your body.

Lots of women still observe inherently unhealthy diets. That is why, unless you’re thoroughly updated with the newest advancements in nutrition, it’s obvious to make mistakes that could straight away compromise your digestive system’s ability to absorb vitamins.

  • Nutrient Deficiency Can Cause Serious Conditions

Taking a multivitamin fills in the gaps and encourages you to avoid potentially harmful nutrient deficiencies. You surely do not want to be one of the 25 percent of people in the world who have anaemia, and taking a daily supplement that contains your required dose of iron makes sure you don’t become deficient.

Women who are vegetarians and vegans are more at risk of anaemia, and when they are anaemic, they may feel dizzy, tired, or out of breath. Also, Iodine deficiency is equally dangerous. Lack of iodine in the diet could lead to hypothyroidism, slowing down metabolism and causing you to gain weight.

  • Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies Can Also Harm Your Reproductive Health

Vitamin B12 deficiency in pregnant women boosts the risk of giving birth to babies with neural tube defects like Spina Bifida. It’s also possible that deficiencies in Vitamin C and Vitamin B2 may contribute to neural tube defects.

Not getting enough zinc while being pregnant can occur in premature or underweight births. Also, taking a multivitamin during pregnancy may reduce the risk of giving birth to autistic children.

The advantages of multivitamins for women especially come in hand here. But if they’re pregnant or trying to conceive, keep in mind that taking a multivitamin that holds an abundance of fillers, artificial colourants, or binders could also do more harm than good during pregnancy.

Essential Multivitamins for Women


Multivitamins for Women: Calcium Supplements

Calcium is a vital mineral found in milk and other dairy products. Almost all of the body’s calcium is found in bones and teeth. And since women are four times more susceptible to Osteoporosis than men, getting enough calcium is crucial for lifelong bone health. Calcium also plays a role in heart and muscle action, blood clotting, and the functioning of normal cells.

Who needs it?

  • Teens or young women – since as much as 90% of the adult bone mass is achieved by the age of 18.
  • Women older than 30 because they tend to lose bone mass and strength typically.
  • Menopausal and postmenopausal women because bone loss tends to accelerate as the body creates less estrogen.

How much should it be taken?

Women aged 50 and younger should consider a daily calcium supplement of at least 500 mg. Additionally, they should also eat calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheeses, and other dairy foods as well as fortified products. In case you are more than 50 years old, think of taking a daily supplement of about 800-1000 mg in addition to eating calcium-rich foods.

But, if you have a history of kidney disorders or are taking medications, you must talk to your physician before starting to take a calcium supplement.


Multivitamins for Women: Fish Oil SupplementsSource

Fish, such as mackerel, lake trout, albacore tuna, and salmon, are a rich source of omega-3.

Omega-3s are essential for heart and blood vessel health and decrease circulating triglycerides to lower heart disease risk. These special fats also encourage healthy joints, reduce inflammation and optimise brain operations. 

Who needs it?

  • Women who don’t eat fish frequently.
  • Women at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Pregnant and nursing women to enhance the brain development of their baby.
  • Overweight women with joint tenderness.

How much should you take? 

One gram of EPA and DHA daily helps most women, but those with elevated triglycerides (under a physician’s guidance) can consider 2-3 gms of fish oil daily with a diet low in fatty foods. 

You must talk to your physician before taking fish oil supplements in case you are pregnant, have a history of bleeding disorders, or take any medications. You must avoid the supplements in case you are allergic to fish. Take omega-3 supplements with food for more excellent absorption and tolerance. 


Multivitamin Essential: Folate SupplementsSource

Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin. Its name originates from foliage – as folate is the richest in food sources such as leaves and fruits. 

You need folate to look healthy. Our cells require it to make DNA, and without DNA, cells would not be able to function accurately. Nor would they produce new cells and tissue, such as skin and hair. During pregnancy, especially the first couple of weeks, folate is significant in preventing neural tube abnormalities in the fetus. It’s also involved in supporting healthy homocysteine levels in the blood – a controversial heart risk factor. 

Who needs it?  

Every adult woman should contemplate taking a folate supplement, especially during their child-bearing years. Pregnant women must choose and take a prenatal supplement that contains folate. 

How much should it be taken? 

Healthy, non-pregnant women should look for a multivitamin supplement giving 400 micrograms daily. Talk to the gynaecologist about taking folate along with other vital vitamin supplements for women that can support a baby’s development.


Multivitamins for Women: B Vitamin SupplementsSource

The B vitamins comprise thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12) as well as biotin. These are all water-soluble essential nutrients found in various meals, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

An active woman can burn more than approximately 2,000 calories in a day. For producing the energy required to meet everyday demands, B vitamins are necessary. Vitamins B12 and B6 decrease a woman’s risk of heart disease by helping to maintain homocysteine levels low. High levels of the commonly occurring amino acid increase the risk of heart attacks, stroke, and blood clots. 

Biotin has also long been identified for its vital role in healthy hair.

Who needs it? 

  • Women who exercise routinely because burning more calories daily can increase a woman’s need for these nutrients.
  • Women older than 50 should consider taking a vitamin B12 supplement. It is so because age makes it harder to absorb this nutrient from regular food.

How much should it be taken? 

Besides a well-balanced diet containing lean meats, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables, a multivitamin supplement must offer at least 50%-100% daily value of B vitamins. 

Neil Levin, a clinical nutritionist at NOW Foods, admits that morning is best for multivitamins or any B vitamins – “Multivitamins do the best when taken earlier in the day, as the B vitamins in them might stimulate metabolism and brain function too much for a relaxing evening or before bed.”


Multivitamin Essential: Coenzyme Q10 SupplementsSource

Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble nutrient found in a diversity of foods, including meats and fish. It’s a potent antioxidant and a fundamental multivitamin for women in helping fuel energy production within cells. This nutrient also aids protection against premature ageing and encourages a healthy heart and blood vessels. 

Who needs it? 

  • Women who are at a higher risk of developing heart diseases.
  • Strict vegetarians because the best sources of CoQ10 are meats and fish (although soybean and canola oils are also excellent sources).

How much should it be taken? 

Usual dosages are 30-100 mg daily. If you’re taking more than 100 mg on a daily basis, you can split the amount into two or more servings. This will help support better absorption. You can take CoQ10 with meals for better absorption.


Multivitamins for Women: Vitamin D SupplementsSource

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be produced in our bodies when exposed to sunlight. It is also found in vitamin D-enriched foods such as milk, red meat, and egg yolk. 

It aids our bodies to absorb calcium from our diet and supplements we may take. Also, Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the growth and sustenance of healthy bones. 

Who needs it?

  • Women who do not regularly drink milk or eat dairy foods that are enriched with vitamin D.
  • Those women who don’t receive direct exposure to sunlight.
  • Women who are 50 +years old because age makes the body less capable of processing vitamin D.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women so that can encourage the healthy development of the baby.

How much should it be taken? 

Pre-menopausal women should take at least 500 IU of vitamin D in a day. Postmenopausal, as well as older women, can increase their dosage to 800 IU in a day. 


Multivitamin Essential: Lutein SupplementsSource

Lutein is part of a fat-soluble category of nutrients known as carotenoids. It is usually found in dark-green leafy vegetables (spinach, for instance) and different fruits, corn, and egg yolks. 

Lutein is an antioxidant that accumulates in the eyes to further assist in protecting them against free radical destruction and following Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) – a principal cause of blindness in older women. Lutein is also found in the breast as well as cervical tissue and seems to maintain the overall health of those tissues. It can also be found in the skin and may additionally protect against the sun’s damaging light. 

Who needs it?

  • Women who have a family history of age-related macular degeneration.
  • Women who are usually exposed to direct sunlight and pollutants daily.

How much should it be taken? 

A lutein supplement can include ranging from 6 mg to 10 mg of the antioxidant. You can take lutein supplements with food for more efficient absorption.

Word of Caution

You need to consume the recommended daily dose of each essential nutrient to protect your health and well-being.

But, you must also refrain from buying over-the-counter supplements. Always consult an expert before choosing the right supplements for you because even excess intake of vitamins can be harmful to health.

 “Some of the combinations of vitamin supplements for women that work better together, for instance, iron supplements with a dose of Vitamin C, enhance the absorption of iron. Therefore, you need to always rely on an expert before considering any form of dietary supplement”, states Dr Nmami Agarwal.

The Multivitamin Verdict!

A woman’s stage in life, her overall health status, and activity levels can influence their nutritional needs. The most reliable way to meet dietary needs is to eat a balanced and healthy diet. Sometimes, though, taking supplements becomes a necessity. 

It’s no surprise that a robust immune system means lower chances of falling sick. And sometimes, caught between our hectic lifestyles, on-the-move and low-on-nutrition meals, it becomes challenging to stay healthy. However, the medical industry has done us a solid. They’ve created these little things that can give us women the boost of wellness and energy that we so sorely need – the multivitamin. This is as healthful for your wallet as it is for your body.

If you are concerned about not getting enough vitamins or minerals, please speak with a doctor or dietitian.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *