Best vitamins for women over 50: what to look for — and avoid

A no-nonsense guide to the best vitamins for women over 50

Best vitamins for women over 50
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're investigating the best vitamins for women over 50, chances are you've reached a stage in your life where staying in optimum health is front of mind. But how do you know what you do (and definitely don't) need when it comes to vitamins? We're here to help.

In an ideal world we would get all the nutrients we need from our diet - but that's not always the case. 

“Vitamins from food are always preferable to taking supplements," advises Dr Deborah Lee, a former NHS Lead Clinician turned medical writer, with a particular interest in women's health. However, she concedes: "Bad diets are common. A 2017 study by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation reported that a poor diet now kills more people around the world than smoking.” 

Registered dietitian Clare Thornton-Wood, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association agrees that while women over 50 should be able to get all the vitamins they need from a healthy balanced diet, there are times when they might want to supplement - for example, during periods of illness, busy periods or when your diet is otherwise restricted.

But, with an ever-growing array of vitamin supplements being marketed at the over 50s with almost incomprehensible lists of nutrients, it's not easy knowing what you need. 

If in doubt, a daily dose of vitamin D is a great place to start. Current evidence suggests that low levels of this vital vitamin may contribute to the development of diseases associated with ageing, such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. What's more, the US Office of Dietary Supplements advises that older adults are at increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency, due to a reduction in the skin's ability to synthesize the vitamin and a reduction in the amount of time spent outdoors. For these reasons, the BetterYou Dlux Vitamin D spray takes the top spot in our list of vital vitamin supplements.

However, we've also included the best multivitamins for women over 50, offering a range of benefits in one hit, as well as our top choice for those looking to lower cholesterol.

How to choose the best vitamins for women over 50

There's an ever-growing array of vitamin supplements being marketed at the over 50s with an almost incomprehensible lists of nutrients. But when it comes to choosing the right vitamins for you, there are various key factors that 50+ women should consider.

Iron content

If you decide to opt for a multivitamin, check the iron content. “Once women stop having a monthly period their iron stores tend to increase, so unless there are good medical reasons, postmenopausal women do not need iron supplements - and they may in fact be harmful," says Dr Lee. Her advice? Look for supplements with low or no iron content.

Calcium content

Watch out for calcium, too. “Many women in this age group are advised to take separate calcium supplements,” explains Dr Lee. “They should avoid a multivitamin with calcium as excess calcium can be dangerous.” 

Form

Does it matter if you take your vitamins in a tablet, capsule, spray or even a tea? Many experts believe that’s down to personal choice. “Tablets are generally cheaper but if you find a spray easier, then use that,” says Clare. 

However, other experts believe that form can make a difference, thanks to the changes our bodies go through as they get older. “Stomach acid decreases with age, which can lead to more digestive issues,” says nutritionist Caroline Sherlock. “I normally recommend powders, capsules and sprays, which are easier to absorb than tablets.”

One final word of advice: speak to your doctor before starting to take any supplement, to make sure it’s safe for you. 

The best vitamins for women over 50 you can buy right now

Best vitamins for women over 50: DLux Vitamin D Spray

(Image credit: DLux)

1. BetterYou Dlux 1000 Vitamin D Daily Oral Spray

The best vitamin for most women over 50

Specifications
Key nutrients: Vitamin D3 (1000 IU)
Form: Spray
Dosage: One spray daily
Vegan: No
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Good eco credentials
Reasons to avoid
-Check the dose suits your requirements-More expensive than some tablets

Vitamin D is the undisputed best vitamin for women over 50, playing an important role in helping to absorb calcium and prevent age-related bone fractures. It’s also difficult to obtain enough from diet alone. 

Dr Lee explains that women over 50 may benefit from a higher dose than most people: “While the NHS recommendation is for everyone to take a supplement of 400IU (10mcg) per day, the American National Osteoporosis Society recommends women over 50 should aim for 800-1000IU of vitamin D per day,” she says. 

This great-tasting, easy-to-use spray delivers an appropriate dose for older women. What's more, the natural peppermint flavour tastes good, making it arguably easier to swallow than some pills - although you can also add a single spray to a drink if you prefer. This version isn't suitable for vegans, but a vegan-friendly alternative is available at a little extra cost. The bottle is made from recycled ocean waste plastic and household recycling, too.

Best vitamins for women over 50: Neubria Shine Mood

(Image credit: Neubria)

2. Neubria Shine Mood

The best premium vitamin for women over 50

Specifications
Key nutrients: Multivitamins and minerals
Form: Capsules
Dosage: 2 capsules daily
Vegan: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Great selection of nutrients +Calcium free
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Low in magnesium

Although not specifically marketed at the over 50s, this supplement is a great fit for a 50+ multivitamin. It covers off important nutritional bases including B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc and iodine, as well as vitamin K2 - vital for bone health. It also has a reduced iron content to reflect the needs of post-menopausal women. 

The supplement also comes with a herbal mix designed to help maintain a balanced mood (which might come in useful for any menopausal mood swings) including turmeric, a natural anti-inflammatory. 

One key benefit is that there's no calcium, so there’s no risk of overlap if you’re taking a separate calcium supplement. On the negative side, the supplement is low in bone-boosting magnesium, the absorption of which decreases with age.

Best vitamins for women over 50: Boots Multivitamin

(Image credit: Boots)

3. Boots A-Z 50+ Multivitamin

The best budget vitamin for women over 50

Specifications
Key nutrients: Multivitamins and minerals
Form: Tablet
Dosage: One tablet daily
Vegan: No
Reasons to buy
+Covers main nutritional bases+Great value
Reasons to avoid
-You're taking calcium supplements-Low magnesium and no vitamin K

This no-frills supplement covers important nutrients for women over 50, including B vitamins, zinc and iodine. It also contains Vitamin D, albeit only 400IU. On the plus side it has reduced iron content to reflect the requirements of women in this age group. It also contains lutein, an antioxidant that contributes to good eye health, and is also believed to be beneficial for skin elasticity (i.e. wrinkles).

Note also that this supplement contains a low level of calcium, so be careful if you are taking additional calcium supplements. It's also missing vitamin K2 and has low magnesium content - both of which are essential for bone health, alongside calcium and vitamin D.

Best vitamins for women over 50: Viridian Woman 40+ Multivitamin

(Image credit: Viridian)

4. Viridian Woman 40+ Multi

The best vitamin for women over 50, ethically speaking

Specifications
Key nutrients: Multivitamins and minerals
Form: Capsules
Dosage: Two capsules daily
Vegan: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Palm oil-free+GM-free
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-You're taking calcium supplements

These multivitamins come at a price but what you get for your money are ethically sourced, vegan capsules covering most vitamin and mineral requirements for women over 50. There's also a host of phytonutrients (found naturally in plants, these can help fight disease) and the antioxidant Co-enzyme Q10, which may be beneficial for heart health. 

Note though that while it has good levels of bone boosting vitamin D and K2, this supplement only contains low levels of magnesium, which is important for bone health. It also contains a low level of calcium, so again be careful if you are taking separate calcium supplements. 

Viridian prides itself on ethical production, stating that these capsules are palm oil-free and contain 100% active ingredients without any nasty additives. The glass bottle is also recyclable.

Best vitamins for women over 50: Minami

(Image credit: Minami)

5. Minami MorEPA Cholesterol

The best heart health vitamin for women over 50

Specifications
Key nutrients: Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid
Form: Capsules
Dosage: One capsule daily
Vegan: No
Reasons to buy
+Good for vitamin B6 and 12+Good source of heart healthy omega 3s
Reasons to avoid
-You already eat a lot of fish -Expensive

As oestrogen levels drop during the menopause, so risk of heart disease increases. Could this combination of omega 3 and B vitamins help? Possibly. “Vitamin B6, B12, and folate deficiency have attracted interest because low levels appear to be related to diseases associated with ageing, such as cardiovascular disease and reduced cognitive function” says Dr Lee. “Although so far various large meta-analyses have failed to substantiate that vitamin B supplements reduce the incidence of cardiac events or cognitive decline. Taking folic acid may also help reduce hot flushes, although, again, the evidence is scarce.” 

Various studies have found fish oil containing the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA to be beneficial to heart health. As well as containing good levels of EPA and DHA this supplement also contains red yeast rice, which may help maintain normal blood cholesterol levels, and Coenzyme Q-10.