As the nutrition experts debate carbs vs fats, protein intake, and water consumption, they miss a huge part of health and well-being – micronutrients.
Micronutrients can be broken down into two basic categories – vitamins and minerals.
Within your vitamins, some are fat-soluble, meaning they breakdown in fats and oils, and water-soluble, those that dissolve in water.
Similarly, minerals make up subcategories of “macro” and “micro”
It’s important to note that these vitamins won’t dissolve when cooked, stay in the body longer, and thus have a greater risk of toxicity (at extreme levels).
Regardless, many still remain deficient in the following:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
When consumed, the body takes what is necessary from these vitamins and excretes the rest through urine.
Unfortunately, these are easy to lose through cooking – so make sure to eat raw or supplement these!
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
That’s where multivitamins come in.
However, since there are so many versions of this delicious, sweet supplement, how in the world are you supposed to pick just one?
We wanted to make it easy, so we’ve looked at the market for you.
In this article, you’ll discover:
- The benefits of taking a multivitamin regularly
- Which specific micronutrients women need for optimal health
- How to tell the real from the fake
- … and finally, our pick for the best vegan multivitamin for women
*If you want the quick answer, then go straight to our #1 vegan multivitamin for women: NutriGenesis Multi For Women.
Why Do Women Have Specific Vitamin and Mineral Needs?
From physiological to cultural and lifestyle differences, women have to think distinctively about their health… and your nutrition arguably makes up the largest controllable aspect of well-being.
Multiple international bodies agree that BOTH biological aspects of sex and the multidimensional cultural and social construct of gender play a critical role in health and nutrition recommendations.
Always take into account your sex and gender identity
In layman’s terms – both your sex and gender identity matter from a broad health standpoint, according to the WHO, the Canadian Women’s Health Network , the Cochrane Methods Group , and more.
So, women can combat any underlying health risks (and accentuate their power) by eating right. If you prioritize eating high-quality nutrients, your body will thank you with longevity, vitality, and resilience.
Despite their misleading name, micronutrients dominate immune function, neurological health, gastrointestinal well-being, growth, development, and so much more.
Not exactly “micro” issues, if you ask me.
Fortunately, according to a report in the American Journal of Epidemiology , women of multiple ethnicities are more likely than their male counterparts to take dietary supplements.
It’s important to check the quality of multivitamin supplements
However, just because you’re taking a multivitamin doesn’t mean it’s doing the exact job you want it to.
Here are some things that make a huge different in the quality of multivitamins:
- Absorption rates
- Varying levels of specific vitamins and minerals.
For example, iodine and iron are two minerals that women should consider taking regularly.
While a balanced diet takes care of most, age-related decline in thyroid function, the onset of menopause, or whether or not you go through menstrual cycles in general warrant supplementation of the two.
Pre and post-natal nutrition require special attention to folate, or vitamin B9, due to its role in neurological development.
Those with diabetes , insulin resistance, or metabolic syndrome may need more biotin, chromium, vitamin C, or magnesium.
Finally, lifestyle choices or cultural considerations mean you might be missing out on vitamins, and veganism is one of them.
Special Considerations for Vegan Women
All women are beautifully diverse, and we all have different needs.
Vegans, in particular, have the advantage of a plant-based diet rich in phytonutrients. However, as with any dietary restriction, there’s a risk of missing out.
Always consult with a physician and get a blood panel to know your exact levels, but below are some common considerations for vegans.
Beta-carotene and vitamin A
As dietary sources of vitamin A are animal-based (eggs, milk, fish, etc.), vegans rely on beta-carotene as a go-between.
This phytonutrient can be converted to vitamin A within the body, but that means you need a good amount of it.
Eat lots of dark, leafy greens or orange/yellow fruits and vegetables, and cover your bases with supplemental vitamin A, especially if you have other health concerns.
Iron Absorption Issues
Vegans don’t particularly need more iron than most, but they may have trouble absorbing it from their diet.
That’s because the iron found in plants is naturally bound to something called phytates.
According to studies, this bond can reduce dietary iron absorption up to 80%, but some research suggests  mitigation with a high-phytate diet.
Experts recommend combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C, such as squeezing lemon juice atop your tofu or eating orange slices with your lentils.
To be absolutely sure, however, you can just combine the two in a multivitamin.
As an oft-underrated mineral, zinc can work wonders for our sleep, immune system, and recovery.
However, like it’s ferrous friend, plant-based zinc also binds to phytates – and we can’t just eat vitamin C to fix it.
Therefore, its best to get zinc from an outside source, such as a high-quality supplement
Risk for anemia
Vegans lack adequate sources of vitamin B12 from diet alone. As this vitamin vitally helps form red blood cells, a deficiency puts you at risk of developing anemia.
According to the journal Nutrition Reviews , vegetarians and vegans alike should regularly supplement B12 to offset this risk.
Some reports suggest that up to 1 billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient.
As a lack of vitamin D  can be considered a global health issue, surely everyone could use a top-up.
However, according to the Vegan Society , many vitamin D supplements come from animal sources.
Vegans should always triple check their vitamins and supplements for reassurance that they’re purely plant-based.
Highly-Active Individuals or Elite Athletes
A plant-based diet often coincides with other health-conscious behavior, such as regular exercise.
If you’re among those training 15+ hours a week, your diet needs to supplement that exercise intensity. Intense stress without proper recovery can lead to a compromised immune system.
Therefore, vegan athletes – who are constantly putting themselves under duress – may require supplemental vitamins and minerals to keep from getting sick.
What Vegan Women Should Look For In A Multivitamin
Now that we’ve covered a little behind the specific dietary considerations, what should vegan women look for in a multivitamin?
First up – the obvious: Not all multivitamins are made without animal byproducts.
In fact, according to PETA , plenty of supplements and food products – especially ingredients vegans need the most (such as Vitamin B12 and Vitamin A) – contain items derived from animals.
It goes without saying that vegans might be more mindful than most about sourcing. Still, supplements are not FDA regulated and some companies try to slip through the cracks.
Before buying, always check with the manufacturer/parent company that each individual ingredient in your multivitamin is solely of plant origin.
With that being said, here’s a short list of vitamins and minerals to look for, and their relative quantities.
As a vitamin generally not present in plant-based foods, yet naturally-occurring in poultry, fish, eggs, and milk, B12 tops our list of “things to pay attention to” for vegans.
Look to eat enough fortified foods like breakfast cereals or dairy substitutes (at least 3 micrograms daily), OR take a multivitamin  with at least 10 micrograms.
B12 needs to combine with something called intrinsic factor  before the body can actually absorb it.
Therefore, overall gut health is of utmost importance, and vegans may want to choose a multivitamin that addresses this as well.
Similar to the above, Vitamin A in its whole form only comes from animals and their byproducts. Plants, on the other hand, feature provitamin A, also known as carotenoids.
These little phytonutrients can be converted into retinol (read: whole vitamin A) once consumed and inside the body. Experts recommend 700 mcg per day for women, usually found as beta-carotene in vegan supplements.
However, if you’ll remember from above, vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it can hang around for a while and become toxic in extreme amounts.
Therefore, make sure you look for a multivitamin that doesn’t come anywhere close to the upper limit of 3,000 mcg/10,000 ICU per day.
Fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods tend to be rich in vitamin C, so a deficiency is unlikely, especially for vegans.
Why should you care if it’s in your multivitamin then, you ask?
Well, because you need it to absorb iron, and iron deficiency is much more common.
Consuming the two in tandem greatly improves the bioavailability of iron.
Additionally, vitamin C becomes even more crucial in times of extreme stress or illness.
For example, thanks to its antioxidant properties , athletes who take vitamin C are 50% less likely to develop the common cold. Search for a multi with up to 2000 mg for immune support, and 100-200mg minimum.
A slight iron deficiency is a common health issue among many populations, but especially the two we’re concerned with in this article – vegans and women.
According to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine , vegan foods only contain the non-heme version of iron, which makes it less bioavailable “because of the naturally occurring absorption inhibitors, which mainly include phytate, oxalate, and polyphenols.”
So it’s not necessarily that vegans consume less iron…the body just has a hard time absorbing it. (Hence the Vitamin C recommendation, as ascorbic acids help break down those inhibitors)
Furthermore, young women who experience heavy periods are at risk of iron-deficient anemia due to blood loss.
Pregnant women need even more as they’re providing for two.
According to Examine.com, look for a multivitamin that will supplement your diet to reach the following iron amounts per day, based on your situation:
- 8 mg for non-menstruating women
- 15 mg for menstruating women under 19
- 18 mg for menstruating women over 18
- 27 mg for pregnant women
- 9 mg for lactating women under 19
- 10 mg for lactating women over 18
On the other side of the age spectrum, older women, in particular, need Vitamin D.
Not only is it necessary for skeletal health to stave off fractures and osteoporosis, but low levels of vitamin D  play a role in the onset of depression, cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and more.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to achieve adequate levels of vitamin D from a vegan diet alone.
Regular sun exposure is one of the best solutions to increase vitamin D. However, if you live in an area with long winters, short daylight hours, or prone to cloudy days, that might be tough.
Additionally, many women may want to limit prolonged sun exposure for fear of developing skin cancer.
If you fit into this category, supplementation may be your best option.
Look for a multivitamin with around 1,000-2,000 IU of D3 – the more bioavailable version.
Selenium and Iodine
In two of the less-considered minerals, selenium and iodine are a struggle to get from plants.
A deficiency in either can cause impaired neurological and hormonal function, so vegans may want to consider supplementation.
For one, a lack of selenium increases the likelihood of glutamate excitotoxicity  – AKA destruction of neurons found in stroke and epilepsy. Low iodine levels impair thyroid function, as the thyroid gland literally uses it to make thyroid hormones.
Hypothyroidism can cause fatigue, sensitivity to cold, weakness, mood issues, and more.
Make sure to get at least 40 mcg of selenium  and 75-150 micrograms of iodine, especially if you don’t consume iodized salt.
Folate, the naturally-occurring version of vitamin B9 found in foods, is typically listed as folic acid on supplements.
Critical for red blood cell formation and growth and development, folate is a key nutritional element of a healthy pregnancy.
Regardless of dietary preference, prenatal and postpartum women should look to optimize folate intake. However, vegan women obviously need to look for a supplement that doesn’t contain animal byproducts.
Zinc is absent from a large majority of plant foods, although you can get trace amounts from mushrooms, spinach, beans, and cashews. A recent systematic review  shows that those on vegetarian/vegan diets have low zinc levels.
Considering a deficiency can cause impaired growth, immune dysfunction, and reduced wound healing, it’s not a nutrient you want to ignore.
Current recommendations  for zinc intake suggest 8-11mg per day, with up to 13mg/day for pregnant and lactating women.
This vs. That: The problem with Most Supplements
Too many supplement companies are focused on the ingredient list to impress buyers, rather than another factor with equal effect on nutrition: absorption.
One easy way to think about supplementation is changing the oil on a car. To run smoothly, you need a healthy engine, great tires, electrical capabilities, and a safe driver. In your body, all of that is taken care of through your regular diet and exercise.
However, to avoid breakdown, you’ve gotta take care of the little things…
…and that means supplementing with new oil (multivitamins).
Makes sense in theory, right?
But even a gallon of the most pristine oil won’t work if you don’t pour it into the oil can.
Most supplements do the equivalent of tossing a ton of oil all over the engine. Sure, some will drip in and fill up the oil. But a good portion just falls through. Some might even cause distress.
To bring it back to the human body, this practice could mean gastrointestinal distress, but at the very least, it’s a waste of money.
Why pay for all of those vitamins and minerals if they’re just going to pass right through you?
For example, fat-soluble vitamins need to be transported with dietary fat. If you don’t have enough fat in your diet (or they aren’t pre-bound), you won’t properly absorb them.
Water-soluble vitamins rely on molecular “carriers: to do their job, and they’re not regularly stored in high amounts.
Similarly, certain minerals (see iron above) are inhibited by other molecules. That means any supplement that neglects to take this into account might miss the boat.
It’s not as simple as taking whatever you grab first off the shelf.
Furthermore, lots of multivitamins  are loaded with nutrients we don’t even need (or can’t use).
These are ingredients that sound good in theory, but aren’t present in high enough amounts to work. Nevertheless, companies continue to include these to entice people to purchase.
Someone might look at the ingredient list and get excited about a certain herb, for example, because they heard it improves mood.
But in reality, there’s not enough present to do anything. Rather than choose based on a whim, here are some guidelines about purchasing multivitamins that work.
How to Get a Multivitamin That Works
Your best bet is to see your primary care physician to get your bloodwork done. They’ll be able to tell you if you have or are at risk for any deficiencies.
If so, it may be best to opt for individual vitamins. Otherwise, look for a multivitamin that contains the minimum amount of micronutrients of specific concern to vegan women.
Finally, find a nice balance between a reputable company, efficacy, and affordability. You’re going to take a multivitamin every day, so you need something that won’t break the bank.
But going too cheap might sacrifice quality.
Fortunately, we’ve found one that strikes the perfect balance.
Best Vegan Multivitamin For Women
Our pick for best vegan multivitamin for women: Nutrigenesis Multi for Women
Specially formulated for the unique needs of vegan women, their brand contains 200% of your daily value of folate and 100% of iodine.
With 250% of your daily value of vitamin D3, it’s perfect for fortifying immune systems and aiding bone health.
But the real quality lies not only in the ingredients, but in how they make them, and what they don’t include.
The extracted vitamins and minerals, therefore, mimic the exact ones found in food. Except, unlike food, their supplements are specifically curated to feature everything you need and nothing you don’t.
Purity and Efficacy of Performance Lab’s Multivitamin for Women
You’ll find their nutrients inside of plant-based capsules infused with prebiotics to maximize digestion.
Every supplement is vegan, caffeine-free, gluten-free, additive and synthetic-free, and void of any artificial colors, preservatives, or banned substances.
They’re specifically designed this way so that vegan women can enjoy the health benefits.
Here’s a look at some of the vitamins and minerals they feature in adequate quantities for vegan women:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- (Folic Acid) Vitamin B9
- Vitamin D3
- (Riboflavin)Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B12
For a full list of ingredients, visit Performance Lab’s website.
Performance Lab’s Reputation
Performance Lab lies among some of the most reputable supplement brands. This means they conduct regular, third-party testing to make sure none of their products contain illegal or dangerous substances.
Affordability of Performance Lab’s Multivitamin for Women
You get all of these benefits in a month’s supply for just $40. Which, if we’re honest, is more expensive than your generic grocery store version. But remember – you get what you pay for.
Although Performance Lab brings elite ingredients and elite manufacturing for ultimate nutrition, they want you to be able to afford it.
That’s why they provide discounts for buying two or three boxes at a time. As you’ll be taking them every day, it’s a worthwhile investment that balances quality with price.
Everyone can benefit from a multivitamin – if you are selective enough to find one that does what it promises. While nothing replaces whole foods and a solid diet, vegans tend to be on the right track there, with few risks.
Nutrition is just one piece of overall well-being, but with a great vegan multivitamin, you can rest easy knowing your bases are covered. Taking Performance Lab’s NutriGenesis Multi for Women lets you do just that, so you can get back to focusing on the other areas of life.
To Buy the Best Multivitamin for Women, Visit:
» www.performancelab.com «