Why are high quality vitamins for women important? Because women do a lot!
Our minds are always running, and our bodies carry out so many functions especially within the family. Especially during pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding, our bodies miraculously create and sustain new life from within their own resources and nutrient stores. We forget how crazy that is, but no wonder moms often feel drained! Studies have found this postnatal nutrient depletion can last even up to ten years after having a baby.
Even when we’re not having kids, I don’t have to tell you that our bodies can still get a bit drained each month. Don’t sell yourself short, your body does a LOT, so it’s worth taking care of.
The surprising thing about taking vitamins is that your body doesn’t always absorb them like you’d think! Many common brands of vitamins don’t even dissolve well (you can test it out in a glass of water, or vinegar to mimic stomach acid) let alone get absorbed by your body.
Your digestive system is complex–different parts of it absorb different nutrients, and some nutrients even compete with others for absorption. That’s one reason why it’s important to chose a vitamin company that cares about the science of digestion and nutrient absorption.
I suppose that explains why, even though I’ve taken multivitamins my whole life, I never actually realized they could make me FEEL different until a few years ago. All that said, here’s some info on the best vitamins I’ve ever tried and why I love them.
Finding my Favorite Vitamins
I actually found these vitamins while I was looking for immune boosting vitamins for kids. My twins were just about a month old when my preschool-aged son got RSV. After that scare, I decided I was sick of him getting sick all the time, especially with new babies in the house! I knew I had to do something different.
Of course, back when my oldest was a small baby, I was also sick of constantly getting sick myself. Unfortunately at the time I figured it was an unavoidable part of my new mom life. But, trying the adult vitamins would give me a permanent discount on the kids vitamins, so I managed to convince myself my health was worth it too. I was breastfeeding twins, so I was eating for three, after all!
After years of taking vitamins, and trying at least five different brands during my pregnancy, it was the first time a vitamin ever made me actually feel different.
What I really couldn’t believe was that my sleep-deprived twin-mom self could actually feel significantly better than I felt when I only had one baby to take care of!
I could remember those old days when just going to bed an hour or two late on a family vacation landed me in the doctor’s office getting a shot of antibiotics in the butt for mastitis. I really hated how I got sick all the time back then. But now we had two newborns and a preschooler waking us up at night, yet I still woke up in the mornings with enough energy to make it through the day just fine. (I should mention I didn’t even drink coffee most days). Was it the new vitamins, or miraculous grace of God? Maybe a little of both!
And did I mention I usually only took half of the recommended vitamin “strip” each day? (Yes it’s weird, but I’m chronically cheap, and my college nutrition teacher told us that any excess of vitamins that the body doesn’t use ends up as “expensive pee”).
My twins are four now, but I’ve never dared to switch back to any other vitamin. And in these almost four years of taking them, I have probably gotten sick far fewer times total (and less severely) than in my first year or so postpartum with my first son.
I’ve finally tried to stop annoyingly recommending them to friends and family at every chance I get, but I really feel they’re just that good. So especially this year, that’s why I thought I should share them with you, too.
My Top Women’s Vitamin Recommendations
All of these are from my all time favorite vitamin company, Shaklee. This is pretty much the only vitamin brand I buy from because I trust their commitment to quality, testing, and research the most (I’m a biology nerd).
If you’d like a coupon for $10 off your first $100 order, click here. If you order and use the coupon, this will give me a $10 off coupon too, so thanks!
They currently have free shipping from now through New Years Eve, so save while you can!
Even though I don’t use it every day, this is one of the most important vitamins for women because iron is one of the hardest minerals for the body to absorb. And of course, many women are low because they lose iron each month. Iron plays an essential role in helping the blood transport oxygen throughout the body.
Iron absorption is inhibited by several things including calcium, magnesium, even caffeine! Yep, isn’t that Iron-ic (ha). Caffeine is supposed to make you less tired, yet it inhibits your absorption of iron up to 80%! Iron deficiency in turn can make you feel sluggish, perpetuating your desire for caffeine. That’s why when I need a quick pick-me-up, I usually reach for these iron tablets instead. And pretty soon, I actually feel the difference!
There are a few answers to the iron absorption problems I mentioned above. First, try not to take iron at the same time as any of the things that prevent its absorption. Secondly, get a high quality and easily-digested iron supplement like this one. With other iron supplements, constipation or nausea can be a problem, but this one should not give you those issues. Obviously, don’t take more than recommended though.
Calcium is another one of the essential vitamins for women, and the vast majority of American women don’t get enough. It’s necessary for bones, but also for muscle and heart function. There is even some evidence that calcium can help weight loss, possibly due to its connection with hormones. During pregnancy women need twice as much calcium, and if they don’t eat enough it will be taken from their bones to support the growing baby.
But many calcium supplements are not easily used by the body. That’s why I love that Shaklee’s calcium supplement was lab tested to show that calcium levels in the blood clearly increased after taking it, proving that it was absorbed by the body. This tablet also has plenty of vitamin D to improve calcium absorption and to prevent vitamin D deficiency in women.
On a personal note, a family member of mine found this one helpful with plantar fasciitis.
This is one of the best multi vitamins for women you can get, and a good starting point for cheap folks like me. It’s not the “extra” version I fell in love with in my early twin-mom days, but it’s still quick dissolving and easily absorbed, and meets or exceeds the daily value for 21 vitamins and minerals. Great for prenatal, breastfeeding, or TTC too.
Currently I use these in alternating rotation with the Vitalizer Strip below.
This is the one that was my twin-mom lifesaver and my all time favorite vitamins for women. I still take it today, alternating with the regular multivitamin (I’m cheap, remember?). It’s a great choice for prenatal and postpartum moms because it adds omega 3’s and lots of extra B vitamins for energy, as well as a probiotic to help gut health and even immunity.
Omega 3’s benefit many parts of the body, particularly heart and brain health. This includes memory, mood, and even behavioral or mental issues. Some studies have found they may decrease menstrual pain. Benefits of B vitamins for women can include improved mood and energy.
Vitamins for Immune System
This is not intended to replace advice from medical professionals.
For any year, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc are some of the best immune boosting vitamins you can have on hand to boost your body’s first line of defense. With any multivitamin you take, always check the label to see what percent of daily value of these three nutrients it includes. The multivitamins I recommended above have more than 100% of each, but I also decided to get some separate Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin D tablets to have on hand in case any family members get sick.
I also decided to grab this new triple defense immunity blend to have. Again, I love that it is tested for effectiveness, and according to the label was shown to “boost Natural Killer cell activity by 3x and increase lymphocyte proliferation by 5.8x.” In other words, it increased the body’s natural immune response! And with Vitamin C, D, and elderberry, I think it will be a great option if any of us start to get sick. (I would add extra zinc too). You can find other good immune system products here.
Want to make sure your breastfeeding baby is getting enough vitamin D? Studies show that moms who take at least 6,000 iU of vitamin D pass adequate amounts to their babies through their milk.
Here’s that 15% off link one more time, and please feel free to ask if you have any questions or want more recommendations on what to choose.
Have you begun taking vitamins this year? If so, have they made you feel any different? Let me know in the comments!