Quick Health Scoop
- As you age, your nutritional needs change.
- For men, you might be concerned about protecting muscle function, supporting your immune system, and supporting a healthy heart.
- Men over 50 need key vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamins B6 and B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and omega-3s
- Aging can make it more difficult to get certain nutrients through diet alone.
If you’re a man age 50 or older, your body’s nutritional requirements have likely changed over the years. You might need less of certain nutrients than when you were younger, but more of others—especially if you’re facing health issues, taking medication, or are simply less active.
By following a healthy, balanced diet, you’re probably getting all the nutrients you need from the foods and drinks you consume. It starts with eating a variety of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy.
But the reality is that it can be hard to always do the right thing and eat healthy. Plus, as you age, your body needs fewer calories while still packing in the required nutrients, meaning you should be eating nutrient-dense foods.1 Another issue? Your changing body might make it harder to get certain nutrients. So, even if you’re trying to follow a healthy eating plan, you still might not get an adequate supply of certain vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients. That’s why you might be wondering if you need supplements for men over 50 to stay on top of age-related issues (such as muscle loss and decreased need for calories) relevant to men’s health.
Learn More: What Vitamins Should Men Take Daily?
What Vitamins and Minerals Do Men Over 50 Need?
You might feel (and even act) like your younger self, but your body has transformed over the years. For example, your metabolism might have slowed down, you might feel achier than you used to, and your vision might not be as sharp. Correspondingly, your body’s nutritional requirements have changed, too. In fact, mature men (loosely defined as men over 50) face a variety of potential nutrient deficiencies and health challenges.1 In particular, We recommend men over 50 focus on these key vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients:
- Vitamin A. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin A for men is 900 mcg/day.2
- Vitamin B6 and B12. The RDA for vitamin B6 for men 51 years and older is 1.7 mg /day and the RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mg/day.3
- Vitamin C. Experts recommend that older adults who are at risk for chronic diseases should consume at least 400 mg/day of vitamin C from food or supplements, to help protect against damaging free radicals.4
- Vitamin D. The RDA for adults is 15 to 20 mcg (600 - 800 IU) of vitamin D daily to support bone health.5 The Endocrine Society has also released clinical guidelines that are routinely used by health care practitioners who are working with patients to raise their blood levels of vitamin D. These guidelines recommend 37.5 - 50 mcg (1500 - 2000 IU) vitamin D daily for adults to support consistent blood levels of vitamin D and help those with inadequate vitamin D intake meet their daily nutrient needs.6
To determine how much vitamin D you should supplement, your doctor or healthcare provider can perform a simple blood test (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D) to check your blood vitamin D level. To correct deficiency, the Endocrine Society recommends 150 mcg (6000 IU) vitamin D daily for 8 weeks.6 However, we recommend that you talk to your doctor to determine the appropriate supplement amount that is right for you.
- Calcium. The RDA for calcium for men ages 51-70 is 1,000 mg of calcium/day and men over 70 is 1,200 mg a day. 5 If you don’t get at least 3 servings of low-fat dairy per day, consider adding a calcium supplement to your daily routine.
- Magnesium. 2 The RDA for magnesium for men is 420 mg/day.7 Good food sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and nuts.
Omega-3s. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are found in large amounts in fatty fish like salmon, halibut and sardines. Experts recommend consuming at least two servings of fatty fish per week for general health, which equals 200-500 mg EPA and DHA/day. For those with heart health concerns, experts recommend 1,000 mg EPA and DHA/day. 10, 11 If you don’t regularly eat seafood, consider adding an omega-3 supplement to your daily routine.
Read More: Vitamins for Women Over 50
How Can Certain Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients Help Men Over 50?
The best multivitamin for men over 50 often includes more of what older men need (like higher amounts of vitamin D and calcium) and less of what they don’t (like iron). Nature Made Men's Multi 50+ is specially formulated with 22 key nutrients for daily nutritional support and to bridge any nutrient gaps that may be missing from your diet. Here’s how specific vitamins, minerals and other nutrients may support a healthy man over 50:
- Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that includes active vitamin A (or retinol) as well as carotenoids, which are precursors that are converted to active vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotene is the most common of these carotenoids. Vitamin A is needed for eye function and healthy vision and helps support the immune system † Vitamin A helps control cellular processes in the immune system and is needed for the growth and development of immune cells.8
- Vitamin B6 and B12. The B vitamins B6 and B12 are both important in converting the food you eat into cellular energy. † Vitamin B12 also helps red blood cells form properly and is required for proper nerve function. † Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include tingling and numbness of the hands and feet, nerve damage, and memory loss.3 Older adults have reduced vitamin B12 absorption in the GI tract and a higher risk of B12 deficiency, therefore, adults over 50 should add a vitamin B12 supplement to their routine.
- Vitamin C. As an essential antioxidant, vitamin C provides antioxidant support†. Vitamin C also aids in iron absorption and is necessary for the body to produce collagen, which helps support skin health.†
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones by enhancing calcium absorption, supports teeth, muscle and immune health. †
- Calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral that helps support bone strength. † A meta-analysis from the National Osteoporosis Foundation found a 15% reduction in risk of total fracture and a 30% reduction in risk of hip fractures (six studies) with calcium and vitamin D supplementation in older people.9
- Magnesium. Older people are more likely to consume an insufficient amount of magnesium through food alone. This important mineral assists in muscle relaxation, supports heart, nerve & bone health, and helps produce energy from the foods you eat. †
Why Do Men Over 50 Need Specially Formulated Vitamins?
Since you want to feel your best at every age, you want to look for the right supplement matched to the right season of your life. For example, daily men’s multivitamins are generally geared for adult men under 50 years old. But as men age, they often become less active, whether that’s due to lifestyle or health issues that crop up over the years. That’s why vitamins for men over 50 are specially formulated for the unique nutritional needs of more mature men. The best vitamins for men over 50 provide all the essential vitamins and minerals you need to deliver daily nutritional support and bridge nutrient gaps that may be missing from your diet alone.
The Bottom Line
Depending on your age, lifestyle, and individual needs, you might benefit from taking a multivitamin for men over 50. This ensures you’re hitting your daily target for a broad range of key nutrients. Or, you might be getting enough of certain nutrients (like protein and iron) from your diet, but your daily intake of other nutrients may be lacking (such as calcium and omega-3s) where adding another supplement to your routine may be needed. If you’re unsure what nutrients you need as an older adult, talk to your healthcare professional.
This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice. Consult your health care provider for more information.
† 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.
1 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “Health Tips for Older Adults.” 2019. Accessed on 10 September 2020. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/healthy-eating-physical-activity-for-life/health-tips-for-older-adults#eatingOlder
2 Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Vitamin A. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 2001:65-126
3 Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Vitamin B12. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 1998:306-356.
4 Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute. “Micronutrients for Older Adults.” 2020. Accessed on 12 October 2020. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/life-stages/older-adults.
5 Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, D.C.; 2011
6 Holick MF, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, et al. Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Endocrinol & Metab. 2011;96(7):1911-1930.
7 Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Magnesium. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 197:190-249.
8 Raverdeau M, Mills KH. Modulation of T cell and innate immune responses by retinoic Acid. J Immunol. 2014;192(7):2953-2958
9 Weaver CM, Alexander DD, Boushey CJ, et al. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and risk of fractures: an updated meta-analysis from the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporos Int. 2016;27(1):367-376.
10 American Heart Association. Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/fish-and-omega-3-fatty-acids.
11 International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL). Recommendations for intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids in healthy adults. Available at: https://www.issfal.org/statement-3.