Okay, maybe you don’t need supplements—if you are among the 7% of women who never skip meals or eat ice cream for dinner. For the other 93% of us, supplements are a great way to fill in what’s missing from our diets and may even protect against disease.
But with all the pills and potions on the market, what are the best vitamins for women? Prevention has demystified the issue with this complete guide. It spells out which nutrients women should be taking every day based on the latest safety and efficacy research, which forms are best absorbed, and optimal doses. We’ve also included a section on supplements that aren’t for everyday use but that you may want to take occasionally to treat various conditions, such as arthritis or flagging energy (while these are considered the best vitamins for women in general, consult a doctor before trying these or any supplements if you take prescription medication).
More from Prevention: 5 Nutrients Even Healthy Women Miss
The Ground Rules
Unless otherwise noted, all the nutrients on this list should be taken in a daily multivitamin with a meal. A multivitamin saves you money compared with buying dozens of individual bottles, and the nutrients will work better as a team. Also, recommended amounts are for adult women, not men or children (we specify if doses are different for pregnant, breastfeeding, or menopausal women). Take this guide with you when discussing supplements with your doctor or when shopping. And remember, vitamins can’t replace a healthy diet, but they can help compensate for what you’re missing—and give you peace of mind as well.