And while we should keep our sex- and age-related needs and other individual factors in mind when thinking about our dietary pattern and supplement routines, we probably don’t need to get as hung up on finding the perfect men’s or women’s multivitamin in the crowd of options.
“Adult multivitamins have been overcomplicated and overly fractionated in the market,” says mbg vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN. “Brands who wanted to diversify their portfolios to make more money started offering multis for women versus men, young versus old, active versus not active, the list goes on.”
Thing is, men and women do have some differing nutritional needs (though they’re slight when it comes to micronutrients like vitamins and minerals); many of the heavily marketed multi products out there don’t really reflect them. “In reality, many ‘for her’ versus ‘for him’ multivitamin formulas have negligible differences,” Ferira says.
She goes on to say, “Just because a particular multi sprinkles a negligible level of lycopene or saw palmetto in a multivitamin doesn’t make it a ‘male’ formula by association. It’s hard to fit relevant, clinically researched amounts of herbs in a multivitamin.”*
Not to mention, the differences in multi formulas can sometimes be the opposite of helpful. “First and foremost, the vitamins and minerals in the formula should make sense,” Ferira says. “Some multivitamin brands do silly things like cut the iron out completely for men and older adults (who still have daily iron needs, mind you) or include less or no calcium in a men’s formula (who have bone density needs and the same exact daily calcium needs as women, mind you).”
In fact, as a dietitian, Ferira used to routinely recommend that her male clients take multivitamins marketed toward females because the latter formulas were more complete and featured helpful amounts of essential minerals like calcium. True story. Now that mbg’s ultimate multivitamin+ exists, she points everyone–women and men–to this one comprehensive and premium formula. So much easier.
So, what’s your move, then? “For most people who struggle to meet their nutrient needs through food, it is more important to take a multivitamin regularly than to stress over getting the ‘right’ men’s or women’s multivitamin because of the minor differences of the dosages,” says Davar.
Ferira ultimately prefers a “genderless, ageless multivitamin/mineral supplement that’s truly comprehensive, high-potency, premium, clean, and supports all adults and their daily nutrient and whole-body health.”