If you are a women who is in her 20s, 30s, or 40s, then you might be wondering what are the best vitamins to take? This article shares eight of the best vitamins that women of child-bearing age should consider.

woman doing yoga stretch

Women are generally considered to be of childbearing age between our late teens to late 40s, so we need to factor in special considerations when deciding which vitamin supplements to take.

Some of the ways vitamins and supplements can benefit our health include:

  • supporting hormonal and thyroid balance
  • preventing anemia from menstruation or childbirth
  • and replenishing vitamins and minerals that have been depleted due to birth control, other medications, life stressors, exercise, food choices, and more.

Here’s a basic overview of the best vitamins and minerals for a woman in her 30s, or any woman of childbearing age. 

young woman with her children

8 Best Vitamins for Women

1. B-Vitamin Supplementation 

The various B-vitamins are important cofactors for many body processes. B-vitamins are most often associated with having energy, but they’re actually important for mood and preventing depression too.

It’s estimated that nearly 40% of the population has an MTHFR genetic mutation. Most people who have this genetic mutation don’t know they have it, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, it does compromise B-vitamin absorption and usage. Learn more about MTHFR diet and supplement recommendations.

For this reason, women consuming B-vitamins should probably opt for the methylated kind. One way to spot a methylated B-complex is to turn the label over to the ingredients list and look for the form of B-12 that says methylcobalamin.

Don’t use a B-complex that says cyanocobalamin. This form is not methylated and may do more harm than good if you’re one of the estimated 40% of women with the MTHFR gene mutation.

B-vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that what you don’t use will just get washed out of your body. That said, it’s important to find a quality B-vitamin brand that doesn’t have a ton of fillers or extra ingredients, in addition to having the most absorbable forms of B-vitamins.

Recommended B-Vitamins Brands:

along woman on a bicycle with a dog running behind her

2. Iron Supplementation

Anemia is the most common nutritional disorder worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that 30% of non-pregnant women are anemic and 40% of pregnant women are anemic, meaning that women likely do not have enough iron in their diets.

Being anemic can cause tiredness, insomnia, restless leg, headaches, and overall loss of energy. Most women don’t know that even being low in iron stores without technically being anemic can result in symptoms, including hair loss and low energy.

It is likely that most menstruating, pregnant, or postnatal women are low in iron stores, so it’s vitally important to have your ferritin level checked on a blood test ordered by your doctor, and then to supplement with iron if your levels aren’t between 40-70 mcg/L.

Its recommended to check your ferritin levels at least once a year, if not more often, because there are health risks involved with both under- and over-supplementing with iron.

Be sure to take your iron supplement with food to prevent stomach upset, and it’s also a good idea to take it at a different time of day than when you take your calcium supplement, and any thyroid hormone replacement.

Recommended Iron Supplement Brands:

3. Vitamin D

There’s a vitamin D deficiency epidemic among all Americans, both men and women. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because we can generally make it from exposure to sunlight. 

Vitamin D actually acts more like a hormone than a nutrient in the body. It’s been called the key that unlocks so many important functions in the body. Not only is vitamin D important for absorbing calcium, but a deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to various disorders such as certain cancers, autoimmune disorders and mood disorders.

A simple blood test called a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test can tell you if you have a deficiency. If your score on this test shows vitamin D levels less than 40, it is best to supplement with extra vitamin D. Your doctor will have a recommendation for how much vitamin D you should take based on your current levels.

Once you start supplementing with vitamin D, it’s a good idea to re-test your levels in about 6-8 weeks, and then every 6 months or so thereafter. 

Recommended Vitamin D brands:

woman at the beach

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

The fatty acids from omega-3s (DHA and EPA) are considered essential fatty acids. This means that our bodies cannot produce them on their own, so we need to get them from food or supplements.

Salmon and other cold water fatty fish are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. However, supplementation is often recommended to ensure we’re getting enough of these essential fatty acids.

Several studies have shown omega 3 fatty acids to benefit us by fighting depression and anxiety, improving eye health, reducing risk factors of heart disease, controlling symptoms of ADHD in children, reducing symptoms of metabolic syndrome, and fighting chronic inflammation.

Krill oil is a more sustainable source of omega-3 fatty acids than regular fish oil. But, it’s best to ask your doctor what type of fish oil supplementation he or she recommends.

Recommended Omega-3 Fatty Acid brands:

5. Magnesium 

An estimated 70-90% of the US population is deficient in magnesium. The main reasons are not eating enough unprocessed foods, magnesium depletion in the soil, and the over-consumption of processed foods that block magnesium absorption.

This mineral is an important one because our bodies depend on it as a cofactor for over 300 bodily processes. People with magnesium deficiency may experience muscle cramps, unexplained fatigue, mood disorders, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, nausea, and muscle weakness. 

There are many forms of magnesium. It’s best to ask your healthcare provider which versions are appropriate for you. You can read another article on my site that talks about which are the best magnesium supplements and the signs of deficiency.

Recommended brands of magnesium supplements:

happy woman

6. Probiotics 

Antibiotic consumption can disrupt the gut microbiome and can lead to leaky gut and other serious conditions. Other factors can disrupt the gut microbiome include eating a diet too low in healthy fat, eating a diet high in processed foods, food sensitivities or allergies, and stress.

Probiotic supplementation can be helpful because these “friendly” bacteria help to keep our guts healthy. Other benefits of probiotic consumption include reduced occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, infections of the digestive tract, and eczema. You might also like this article with the best foods for natural probiotics.

Recommended probiotic supplements:

7. Calcium + K2

Calcium is important for bone health. Our muscles and nerves also need calcium to function optimally. Calcium has also been shown to protect against certain cancers, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Some women may require extra calcium supplementation if they avoid calcium rich foods (such as dairy products) or know they are at higher risk for osteoporosis.

Calcium supplementation is tricky. If not done properly, calcium supplementation can put you at risk for kidney stones, hardened blood vessels, and heart disease. For this reason, it is often recommended that women who are supplementing with calcium take an added K2 supplement along with it.

Vitamin K2 has been shown to help calcium go where it’s intended to go, such as the bones. Other K2 benefits are that it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and varicose veins, help regulate blood sugar, improve exercise performance, help with symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and prevent kidney stones.

Recommended Calcium & K2 brand (this one also has vitamin D3):

8. Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins specifically formulated for women of childbearing age. Prenatals contain more folate and iron than a standard multivitamin since these are vitamins needed for better baby development. The iron boost will also help prevent anemia from blood loss during delivery.

It’s important to look for a prenatal that contains good levels of zinc, copper, iodine and vitamin D as well. 

Some recommendations of quality prenatal vitamins include (don’t take additional iron unless advised by your doctor, since these prenatal vitamins contain iron too):

woman with blond baby

Why Do We Need Supplements?

Most clean eating specialist and health practitioners recommend starting with a diet rich in nutrient-dense, organic, real foods as the basis of a healthy lifestyle. However, for many women, diet alone may not be enough.

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to add vitamins and supplements to your healthy lifestyle routine. We got through so many phases in our life that demand varying levels of nutrients. 

So many women are overcoming health issues. Some women are experiencing hormonal changes due to pregnancy or perimenopause. Some women have genetic variations and feel better when they supplement with certain methylated vitamins.

Lastly, today’s soil is more depleted of vitamins and minerals than it was generations ago due to modern farming practices, even if it is certified organic.

That’s why I’ve chosen to focus on what supplements would be ideal for a woman in her 30s to take. This article is appropriate for most women in our child-bearing years.

FAQs

When should I take my vitamins? 

Supplement companies put recommendations for usage on their product labels. It’s best to follow their guidelines. Most supplements can be taken with meals unless stated otherwise.

When should I start taking a prenatal vitamin? 

It’s best to start prenatal supplementation before you conceive. It’s a good idea for any woman of reproductive age to take a prenatal, even if she isn’t planning to conceive anytime soon. It’s safe to take prenatals during your entire pregnancy and beyond.

Because prenatals contain higher doses of certain vitamins, some women may experience queasiness after taking them. If you experience this, make sure you are taking your prenatal with meals and plenty of water. It’s not safe to double up on prenatal consumption because of the higher doses of certain vitamins. Too much vitamin A can cause liver toxicity.

Conclusions

If you are a woman of child-bearing age (roughly 18-50), you might want to talk to your healthcare provider about taking these supplements to support your optimal health. 

  • Methylated B-vitamins
  • Iron
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Magnesium
  • Probiotics
  • Calcium + K2
  • Prenatal

And, as always, try to consume a clean eating, real food diet that includes a variety of whole foods. 

Note: this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations related to your individual situation.

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