The Best Multivitamins for Women over 50 Reviewed
Good nutrition is the key to being in optimum health. Eating a healthy balanced diet is essential, because it’s the type of fuel, and the amount of food that you eat, that affects how you feel, and affects how well your body’s systems work.
What are nutrients?
Nutrients are the components of food that help the body to repair itself, build new tissue and keep all of its systems running as they should. The body’s nutritional needs are met by eating a variety of foods across the different food groups.
Which nutrients are essential to the body?
There are some nutrients that our body can’t manufacture, so we have to get them from dietary sources. We maintain good health if we take in enough of the essential nutrients that we need. Here are the main nutrients we need:
Our bodies contain up to 75% water. It is essential to the healthy function of a lot of the body’s systems, including hydration, and transporting energy and nutrients to where they are needed.
Vitamins fall into 2 categories; fat-soluble (A,D, E, and K) and water soluble (the B group and vitamin C). All vitamins fulfil essential functions in the body and deficiencies, as well as megadoses can cause problems. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the fat reserves, but the water-soluble ones must be taken in via the diet as they can be easily flushed from the body in bodily fluids.
Minerals support the metabolism and all the chemical reactions in the body. A healthy diet usually provides all of the minerals you need, but there are some occasions where it is helpful to take a supplement.
Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat
Carbohydrates are our body’s preferred sources of fuel. They can be classed as simple or complex. Simple carbs give the body a fast burst of energy, which causes a spike in blood sugar followed by an energy crash. Complex carbs release energy more slowly which provides the body with a steady source of energy throughout the day.
Protein is the building block of all of our body’s tissues, and it also has a role in stabilising blood sugar and regulating appetite.
Fat is stored in body for energy, which is a biological throwback to when we were cavemen and food wasn’t so widely available. Fat is needed for the healthy function of the body, and fat is not all bad. It’s the type of fat that we eat that is important. Saturated fat that is found mostly in animal products has been linked to heart disease, some cancers, and high cholesterol. Unsaturated fats come from plant sources and oily fish. These are beneficial to health and play a role in disease prevention.
Do you need to take a multivitamin?
A multivitamin is not essential for good health, and you should strive to get everything you need from a balanced diet. If you eat well, there is no reason why you should fail to get all of the nutrients your body needs, but there are some factors which can make getting the correct nutritional balance tougher.
When people are desperate to lose weight, they can embark on diets that promise the most rapid weight loss. These diets aren’t always the best for health, and often work by simply restricting calories, sometimes very severely. This can result in you missing out on essential nutrients.
Exercise increases the need for nutrients
An active body needs more nutrients to function. Exercise increases the requirements for many nutrients, such as iron, antioxidants, and the B group of vitamins.
Your life stage can determine your specific nutritional needs
Pregnant women, menopausal women, the elderly, and children have differing nutritional needs due to their stage of life. It is often recommended that women of childbearing age take a supplement of folic acid, as this ensures proper foetal development. Elderly people can have problems with the absorption of vitamin B12, so they are often prescribed, and vitamin D supplementation can be appropriate for those who don’t get a lot of exposure to natural sunlight, as the body can’t make enough on its own.
Are vitamins harmful?
As long as you don’t exceed the recommended dosages, vitamins probably won’t cause you any harm. Yes, they’re good for you, but you can have too much of a good thing. Taking a multivitamin is a good way of making sure that your basic nutritional needs are catered for.
But not everyone agrees.
The case against multivitamins
3 recent studies have found that taking a multivitamin doesn’t help to improve the average person’s health. The studies discovered that taking the pills didn’t prevent heart problems or memory loss, and there was no evidence that they could make you live longer. The study came to the damning conclusion that they were no better than placebo pills.
The health supplement industry is worth a fortune, and some experts says that it’s time we stopped being taken in by the hype. They do emphasise however, that there is some value in taking multivitamins as a kind of insurance policy, to make up any shortfalls in nutrients. They should not be taken in place of a good diet and healthy lifestyle however. Multivitamins don’t contain phytonutrients or fibre, which are found in plant foods, and are needed for good health.
Few people take in the nutrients they need every day, so a vitamin is helpful in these cases. Research studies have found that western diets are often lacking in calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
There are also certain ‘at risk’ groups, who may fall short of essential nutrients. Women of childbearing age who don’t take in enough iron may develop anaemia, pregnant women who do not take in enough folic acid in early pregnancy risk having a baby with spinal cord defects, and vegetarians and older people can be deficient in vitamin B12.
Women and multivitamins
Women can have a higher requirement for nutrients, due to their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or the menopause. Women are also often on diets, and this can deplete them of vital nutrients. This is where taking a supplement would be helpful.
Which nutrients do you need most?
As you get older, bone mass decreases, and you are more at risk of osteoporosis and fractures. This effect is increased with the hormone changes that occur with the menopause. The requirement for calcium is 1,000 to 1,500 mg per day. This is achieved by including low fat dairy products in your diet, consuming fortified food and drink, or taking a supplement.
As you age, your body is not so efficient at converting sunlight into vitamin D, and if you don’t get enough vitamin D, this affects the way that your body absorbs calcium. Women over 50 should consider taking a vitamin D supplement, especially as vitamin D is also essential for keeping bones strong.
Menstruating women need a good intake of iron to prevent anaemia. Iron rich foods include meat, poultry, eggs, and beans. If you pair these foods with a source of vitamin C, like orange juice, it can help your body to absorb iron. If you exercise regularly, or you suffer from heavy periods, you will most likely benefit from a supplement.
Women who are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant need folic acid. Too low an intake can lead to birth defects in the brain and spinal cord. Orange juice and green vegetables are great sources of folic acid, and products like bread are fortified with it. A supplement is often recommended as an insurance policy however.
Antioxidants can prevent cancer and cell damage, which can lead to premature ageing and illness. Carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes, and mangoes are excellent sources.
Vitamins B6 and B12
Vitamin B12 is not as easily absorbed as you get older. Vitamin B6 helps to keep the nerves and blood cells healthy, which is important as you get older. It is worth considering taking these via a multivitamin. Food sources to include in your diet are chicken, eggs, natural yoghurt, and milk.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fatty acids work as anti-inflammatory agents in the body. They can also keep your heart healthy. Falling levels of oestrogen as you age can increase the risk of heart disease. Oily fish, like salmon and tuna, are a good source of omega 3 fats. Taking fish oil capsules is a good idea, especially if you don’t like fish or you don’t eat it on a regular basis.
Best multivitamins for women over 50
Multi-Max Advance for the over 50’s
This one-a-day vitamin is recommended by many nutritionists, and the manufacturer claims that it’s the most comprehensive, potent formula available on the market.
The stand out features of this vitamin, are that it contains more B vitamins than some B complexes, more selenium and vitamin E than most antioxidant formulas, 3 times the vitamin E, and double the vitamin D of most high-street brands. Antioxidant levels are boosted by the inclusion of turmeric, green tea, and grape seed. It also contains a high level of lutein, which is helpful in reducing the effects of age-related degeneration of the eyes. And all of this at only 22p per day!
One A Day Women’s 50+ Healthy Advantage Multivitamins, 120 tablets
This is targeted nutritional supplementation for women over 50, and the company boasts that they put years of scientific know-how into their products. The main ethos behind this vitamin, is that the health of our cells determines how healthy we are throughout our lives. The tablets contain 7 antioxidants which promote healthy cells. The formula also meets the particular needs and addresses the health concerns of women over 50, such as bone health, eye health, and joint health.
The formula includes gingko biloba, which has been found to improve memory and concentration. It contains vitamin D, calcium and magnesium to keep breasts and bones healthy, and also key nutrients to promote a healthy heart, keep blood pressure in check, and to keep eyes healthy. B vitamins and chromium help to convert food to fuel for a steady supply of energy. The perfect combination of nutrients for wellness.
50 Plus Formula | High Strength by Simply Supplements
This formula provides targeted nutrients to address the particular concerns of women over 50. It is suitable for vegetarians (a lot of capsules can contain animal glycerine for example). The selling point of this supplement is the rigorous quality control that the product is put through at each stage of the manufacturing process, to ensure the highest possible levels of purity and quality. These are manufactured in the UK, and have to adhere to strict EU manufacturing standards.
Many nutrients are harder to absorb as you age, as digestion tends not to be as efficient, so each tablet contains a combination of nutrients at levels which are ideally suited to women after 50 and their needs.
The formula supports cognitive function and energy levels with the inclusion of vitamins B6, B9, and B12. These are known to help the brain to function and they may reduce the risk of memory problems.
Healthy vision is supported by the inclusion of vitamin A and zinc. Age-related degeneration of the eyes is a common problem.
The immune system is boosted by iron, zinc, and vitamins A and C which helps to prevent infections, which can be potentially more serious as we age.
Heart health is an issue as we age, and the combination of nutrients in the formula helps to maintain healthy blood pressure and blood fat levels.
Vitamin D and magnesium are included for healthy bones and muscles, both of which tend to weaken with age.
The combination of nutrients helps to boost hair and skin health. Thinning hair and dull, lacklustre skin are associated with ageing.
Alive! Once Daily Women’s 50+ Ultra Potency
This formula is designed for the ultra health-conscious woman over 50. It is made from a blend of fruits, vegetables, greens, and enzymes, plus it contains no sugar, gluten, artificial colours or flavours. This potent blend of ingredients boosts energy, immunity, breast health, urinary health, and the health of the skin, hair, and nails. The capsules are suitable for vegetarians.
Good nutrition is the cornerstone of good health. We might tire of being told ‘this is good for you’ or ‘that is bad for you’, but it’s also true that we are what we eat. No matter if we exercise, or take care of ourselves in other ways, if we have a poor diet, we will never achieve optimal health.
There are certain nutrients that the body simply needs to function. Water is essential, it hydrates us and transports nutrients to where they are needed in the body, the macronutrients carbohydrate, protein, and fat all fulfil essential functions from providing us with energy, to insulating us from the cold, and repairing our body’s tissues. If we do not take in these nutrients in sufficient amounts, our health will suffer.
Vitamins and minerals are also needed for our bodies to function correctly. Even a slight deficiency can cause problems. So do we need to take supplements? There is some controversy, but the consensus seems to be that there is nothing wrong with taking them as a precautionary measure against a shortfall in certain nutrients. It is difficult to get everything your body needs from dietary sources, especially these days, when so much of the food we eat is so highly processed. A lot of people are on faddy, restrictive diets which depletes the body of vitamins, and there are also reasons why we might need to increase our intake of certain nutrients.
Pregnant women, menopausal women, the elderly, and children, all have particular nutritional needs. Sometimes supplementation of certain nutrients is required, but taking a multivitamin should not be a way to make up for an otherwise poor lifestyle. That’s not how it works.
Research has shown that in terms of disease prevention, and improving longevity, multivitamins were not of much use, and did not fare better than a placebo. The best reason to take a multivitamin is to back up a healthy lifestyle.
Women have particular nutritional needs throughout their lives. When they reach childbearing age, during pregnancy, and when they reach the menopause. Add these biological changes to the changes that are associated with ageing generally, and you can see why taking a supplement can be a good idea.
When women are trying to get pregnant, or they are pregnant, they should be sure to get enough folic acid, as a poor intake in early pregnancy is associated with birth defects. As women hit the menopause, hormonal changes weaken the bones, plus increase the risk of heart health, so having the right nutritional support is crucial.
The best multivitamins for women over 50 address their specific needs; eye health, bone and muscle health, eye health, and cognitive function. As people live longer, this kind of assistance to have good health is not only desirable, it’s necessary.