Two of Ritual's Essential for Women multivitamins in a petri dish against marble.

Can I take Essential for Women post-menopause?

By Emily Gladders

Two of Ritual's Essential for Women multivitamins in a petri dish against marble.

As women, our bodies are constantly changing, and these changes only become more pronounced once we start going through menopause. You might have noticed that Essential for Women is only recommended for women between the ages of 18-50. Why the seemingly arbitrary age range? Because menopause actually affects which nutrients you need and how much of them you need. As hard as we tried to create a one-size-fits-all capsule for women, the truth is that nutrient needs are as changeable as we are. Here’s everything you need to know.

After menopause, you need less iron

It probably comes as no surprise that you need a lot of iron during the menstruating portion of your life. During your period, you lose almost 1 mg of iron per day. So it makes sense that when you’re no longer getting your period, you just don’t need as much.

So where does that leave you with Essential for Women (EFW)? EFW contains 8 mg of iron. The average woman between 18-50 needs about 18 mg per day, 10 mg of which you normally get from healthy foods like lean meats, spinach, eggs, and beans. After menopause, your need drops to 8 mg per day, which means that Ritual would supply your full daily value of iron. If you didn’t ingest iron from food, this would be fine, but the reality is that your diet is probably already satisfying your iron needs and you don’t really need to supplement it at all.

But you also need more of other things

After menopause, you need more carotenoids--the whole lot of them including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and astaxanthin. Carotenoids have a very powerful antioxidant function in the body, helping everything from vision to the immune system, both of which can degrade as we get older. Carotenoids are abundant in healthy veggies so you can either load up on all the colors of the rainbow or take a mixed carotenoid supplement. Just make sure it’s a balanced mix of many different carotenoids. High doses of any single carotenoid won’t help much; it’s the cocktail that counts.

Polyphenols like the ones found in green tea are also important as you age; there’s currently no great way to supplement polyphenols other than eating an abundance of healthy foods. Load up on tea, apples, onions, and cherries. Even better? A nightly glass of red wine has a wealth of polyphenols. 

Always check with your doctor

It’s always best to talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement. Your doc has the 411 on medical history, diet, and all the good stuff that’s unique to you.