You’ve heard that eating a healthy diet, staying active, and getting plenty of sleep are vital. However, even if you’re loading up your plate with nutrient-rich foods, hitting the gym regularly and getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night, your body could still be missing some key nutrients. Learn more about your nutritional needs by taking our vitamin quiz.
To help you determine how to supplement your diet, we’re discussing the best vitamins for men.
Exploring common nutrient shortfalls in men
You still might not think that you need a men’s multivitamin supplement or a daily individual vitamin supplement. However, having a nutrient shortfall is very common. This means that the diet doesn’t provide enough key vitamins and minerals for important functions in the body.These nutrient shortfalls not only affect how you feel and function today, but they may affect your health for years to come.
However, not everyone will have the same type of nutrient shortfalls and deficiencies. This is because your nutritional needs vary depending on factors like your sex, lifestyle, age and environment. For example, you’re less likely to be lacking iron as a man, while women of reproductive age are more likely to be deficient▲ in this essential mineral. As a result, iron isn’t typically listed as a necessary supplement for most men.
So, if an iron deficiency▲ typically isn’t a concern for men, what types of nutrients do men commonly lack in their diet? It turns out that men of all ages tend to be lacking vitamin D, while inadequate intakes of magnesium and calcium are more common in older men.
It turns out that 95% of US adults aren’t meeting their vitamin D needs through diet alone. On top of that, 29% of the US population has a vitamin D deficiency.1 This can be a problem because vitamin D is an essential vitamin.
The daily vitamin D recommendation for men to support bone health is 600 international units (IU) for adults between the ages of 19 and 71 and 800 IU for adults 71 and over.2 To receive vitamin D benefits that go beyond bone health, the optimal dose of this essential nutrient is 1500 to 2000 IUI each day.2†
When it comes to magnesium, almost half of all Americans aren’t getting enough of it from their diet. This is especially true for adult men ages 71 and over.3 This essential nutrient helps support bone health as well as nerve and muscle function. It also plays an important role in converting food into energy and contributes to more than 300 enzyme processes in the body.†
The daily magnesium recommendation for men is 400-420 mg every day.3
Many people aren’t getting enough calcium. It’s such an issue that the 2020 - 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have labeled the underconsumption of calcium as a “public health concern.” Much like magnesium, men of all ages can have a low calcium intake. However, inadequate intake of calcium tends to be more common in men ages 71 and over.4
In addition to age, socio-economic, gender, and ethnic differences can negatively impact daily nutrient intake. It is estimated that 1 in 4 older Americans (above 50 years) live below the poverty line. Of this group, 68% have inadequate intake of calcium and 46% have inadequate intake of vitamin D. For older non-Hispanic Black men below the poverty line, their inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D (58.9% and 46.7% respectively) puts them at an increased risk for osteoporosis.5
Inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake and osteoporosis risk in older Americans living in poverty with food insecurities (2020)5
Calcium is famous for its role in supporting bone and teeth health, but it does much more than that. It is necessary for how the muscles move and the heart contracts. Men between the ages of 19 and 70 should aim to get 1,000 mg of calcium each day. Starting at age 71, the recommended daily amount increases to 1,200 mg.4†
Checking out other vital vitamins and minerals for men
In addition to making sure that you get enough vitamin D, magnesium and calcium, you should also make sure you’re getting enough of other important nutrients. Here are some more examples of key nutrients for men.
The B vitamins play many important roles in the body. These water-soluble vitamins include B6, B9 (also known as folic acid or folate) and B12. While these vitamins have shared functions in metabolism and cellular energy production, they provide unique roles in the body. Vitamin B6 plays a role in making neurotransmitters, vitamin B9 helps with cell division, and vitamin B12 supports the formation of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the cells, so one of the first signs of a vitamin B12 shortfall is feeling tired and weak.6†
Another water-soluble vitamin is vitamin C, which plays several roles in the body. This powerful vitamin supports the immune system by neutralizing free radicals in the white blood cells. Speaking of free radicals, vitamin E also plays a role in neutralizing them. As a result, both vitamins C and E are known as antioxidant vitamins.†
Two other important vitamins for health and wellness include vitamin K to support healthy bones and vitamin A to help support healthy eyes.†
In the world of minerals and other nutrients, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting enough zinc to provide support for a healthy immune system. You’ll also want to ensure that you’re getting omega-3 fatty acids as a part of a healthy diet or through dietary supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids of varying doses have been known to help support several bodily systems, including the heart and brain, and they even help support a healthy mood.†
How do you identify and address a nutrient shortfall?
A great way to determine whether you’re getting the nutrients you need, is to take our vitamin quiz. This quiz is designed to look at factors like your age, diet, environment and lifestyle to determine whether you have any nutrient gaps. A nutrient gap is the difference between the recommended intake for a vitamin or a mineral and how much of it you’re getting in your diet.
Addressing any nutrient shortfalls that you may have with custom multivitamins is a great way to support your health and wellness for years to come.†
▲ Prevalence for Iron deficiency is 10% in women in the United States.7† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Reider CA, Chung RY, Devarshi PP, Grant RW, Hazels Mitmesser S. Inadequacy of Immune Health Nutrients: Intakes in US Adults, the 2005-2016 NHANES. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):E1735. Published 2020 Jun 10. doi:10.3390/nu12061735 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7352522/
Marshall KE, Teo LY, Shanahan CH, Legette LE, Hazels Mitmesser S. Inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake and osteoporosis risk in older Americans living in poverty with food insecurities. PLoS One. 2020 Jul 8;15(7):e0235042. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0235042. eCollection 2020. Published 2020 Jul 8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32639966/
Carroll is a nutrition scientist and communicator with over 25 years of experience as a clinician, researcher, and educator at major universities, medical centers, and nutrition industry settings. She is a passionate advocate of nutritional health and established the nutrition education and science platforms at Pharmavite. Carroll is an expert in personalized nutrition and has published several scientific papers on vitamin and mineral inadequacies and the impact on health and wellbeing. Prior to joining Pharmavite, Carroll taught nutrition at UCLA Medical School and Santa Monica College and was a chief clinical dietitian and researcher.