Science

6 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Women's Multivitamin

5 min read
Not all multivitamins for women are created equal. Make sure you ask these key questions before committing to a formula you can actually trust.
Not all multivitamins for women are created equal. Make sure you ask these key questions before committing to a formula you can actually trust.

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Doing your fair share of research before committing to a daily multivitamin is never a bad idea—after all, you deserve to know what you might be putting in your body and why. That’s not to mention that the world of micronutrition and dietary supplements can be a tad confusing, and it doesn’t help that some brands aren’t exactly upfront about what they’re including in their formulas.

So rather than spending valuable time playing detective, allow us to break it down on your behalf. After all, we had so many questions about the multivitamin space that we set out to reimagine it entirely—so asking questions, challenging standards and digging deeper is kind of our M.O. In other words: Hello, fellow skeptic. You’re in good company.

1. Are the ingredients made traceable?

If you want to really get to know your ingredients, you should be able to see where they come from and why they’re there. Pretty simple, right? But believe it or not, none of the five best-selling women’s multivitamins share the supplier, final location of manufacturing, and purpose of each labelled ingredient on their site.†

†Based on the top 5 US women’s multivitamin brands by 2019 & trailing 12 month retail sales (through April '20)

Essential for Women is Made Traceable™—the supplier, final location of manufacturing, and purpose of each labelled ingredient is on Ritual.com. We also share interviews with our manufacturers, members of our research team, and Scientific Advisory Board so you can really get to know the people behind the products. It’s transparency, with receipts.

2. Are key nutrients in bioavailable forms?

Important reminder: Not all nutrient forms are created equal, and we can’t necessarily make any assumptions just based on what’s listed on the label. (In other words, it helps to dig a little deeper.)

Folic acid is a great example. This synthetic form of the B-vitamin folate is a popular addition to supplement formulas—in fact, all five best-selling women's multivitamins use the synthetic form of Folate, Folic Acid.† And yet, more than one-third of adults have a genetic variation that makes it difficult to efficiently utilize folic acid.

†Based on the top 5 US women’s multivitamin brands by 2019 & trailing 12 month retail sales (through April '20)

It’s why we insisted that Essential for Women uses 5-MTHF, a bioavailable form of Folate.* Tracking down nutrient forms that are ideal for the body? That’s always worth the extra effort, from our POV.

3. Is the formula clinical-backed?

Sourcing high quality nutrients backed by research should always be a priority, but quantifying a formula’s impact takes things a step further. It’s why we invested in a university-led clinical study for Essential for Women, which was shown to increase Vitamin D, Omega-3 DHA and Folate levels in 12 weeks.* We show you the specifics of that here. (None of the five best-selling women’s multivitamins make clinical study results readily available on their site.†)

†Based on the top 5 US women’s multivitamin brands by 2019 & trailing 12 month retail sales (through April '20)

4. Are they vegan-friendly?

In an ideal world, we’d be able to get all the nutrients we need from diet alone. But in reality, it’s not quite that simple. There are several reasons to consider taking a multivitamin for extra support—from the nutrient demands that evolve with different life stages, to genetics, to daily dietary intake. That includes dietary preferences, and veganism is a great example: Sometimes, finding plant-based sources of certain nutrients is easier said than done.

But creating a vegan-friendly multi was always a non-negotiable for us. (Fun fact—our founder follows a plant-based diet.) And we define “vegan-friendly” in two ways. For one, taking extra care in the way we source our ingredients—our omega-3 DHA, for example, is sourced from microalgae rather than fish. But it also means considering some of the common gaps that occur from plant-based diets when we formulate.

The bottom line? Like all of our products, Essential for Women is vegan-friendly, which helps set us apart: All five best-selling women's multivitamins contain animal products.† (PS—Essential for Women is gluten-free and free of other major allergens, too.)

†Based on the top 5 US women’s multivitamin brands by 2019 & trailing 12 month retail sales (through April '20)

5. Are they convenient to take?

Let’s be frank: If you have to cobble a bunch of pills together, or they taste bad…well, the idea of building a consistent habit around that can be tough to swallow. But we developed our multivitamins with convenience in mind—starting with our beadlet-in-oil technology, which effectively allows us to include omega-3 DHA right alongside our micronutrients, all in the same capsule. So instead of taking several pills, it all comes down to just two, daily. (We even include a minty tab to help freshen things up.)*

The thing is, none of the five best-selling women’s multivitamins include Omega-3 DHA.† We think that’s an oversight, since omega-3 DHA helps support brain and vision health—and what’s more, it can be a common gap in people’s diets.*

†Based on the top 5 US women’s multivitamin brands by 2019 & trailing 12 month retail sales (through April '20)

6. Is it formulated for specific life stages?

Just like dietary preferences, our current life stage can play an important role in our nutrient needs. After all, it makes sense that a teen, a pregnant person, and a 60-something might have slightly different nutritional demands, right? In other words, a one-size-fits-all multivitamin might not be the best approach.

Life stage is one of the major considerations our Science Team took into account while developing our formulas—and why we’ve ultimately created multivitamins for women, men, kids, teens, pregnancy (have you met our bestselling prenatal?), postpartum, and 50+ adults. The bottom line? You deserve a multivitamin that evolves with you.

"But what about personalized vitamins?" Glad you asked. While our research has shown us that certain life stages bring about sizable enough nutrient changes to warrant distinct formulas, you might be surprised to know that when it comes to nutrition gaps, many of us are more similar than we are different. What’s more: Our science team scoured thousands of studies to pinpoint all the little ways we are different—we’re talking genetic considerations and dietary preferences—to ultimately create formulas with some of those bases in mind. It can be a little tricky, for example, to detect a folate genetic variation through an online quiz.*

In other words, we do the heavy lifting on our end, and streamline those considerations into the two vegan-friendly capsules you take every day. Your only job? Remembering to take your vitamins. Lengthy online surveys and cobbled-together “specialty” formulas need not apply.

Get better acquainted with the nutrients in Essential for Women 18+—including vitamin D3, vitamin B12, magnesium, omega-3 DHA, vitamin E, methylated folate, and iron.

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