Not sure if your diet is delivering enough micronutrients to keep you healthy? A multivitamin is a great backup, especially for men who are getting older.
As you age, your ability to absorb vitamins and trace minerals from food decreases, and at the same time, you still need key nutrients to maintain your health as you get older.
Men with trace mineral deficiencies, for example, are at greater risk for developing low testosterone, which can lead to loss of muscle mass, low libido, and increased body fat accumulation.
But multivitamins aren’t just for boosting androgen levels: they’re also great for sustaining cardiovascular health, cognitive health, and more. Here are the most important reasons men should take a multivitamin, plus info on optimal dosage for key ingredients.
Multivitamin for men benefits
1. 13 different vitamins and at least 16 minerals are essential to health and proper physical function, including growth, reproduction and routine maintenance
Can you get all your nutrients from a healthy diet? Sure, but if you’re traveling or keep a busy schedule, that’s not always realistic. A multivitamin helps patch up any shortcomings in your diet, which is great if you tend to cut corners on meals when you’re busy, stressed out, or traveling.
2. Multivitamins for men might reduce for chronic disease
Observational studies returned mixed results on the effectiveness of multivitamins in reducing the rate of heart disease; some showed lower ratios, while others showed no effect at all (1, 2, 3, 4).
Reports from a decade-long study following the health of 14,000 male doctors during middle age indicated those who took multivitamins suffered the same rates of stroke, heart attack and fatalities as those who didn’t (5).
Ditto for cancer: results are mixed, but some studies have found lower rates of cancer in people who take multivitamins (6,7, 8).
3. Multivitamins can preserve eye function as you get older
A multivitamin that includes eye vitamins can help you preserve eye function as you get older, and may reduce the risk of cataracts as well (9).
4. Multivitamins could preserve cognitive function and boost mood
Poor moods have been linked to nutritional deficiencies in several studies (10, 11). Supplements may help decrease symptoms of depression and improve mood. (12, 13).
5. Men who take multivitamins could be at a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease, but not all research agrees
One study found lower rates of Alzheimer’s among multivitamin users (14), but later research that attempted to put these findings into action didn’t have the same level of success (15,16).
However, this last study did find that people over age 75 and people who were at high risk for nutritional deficiencies did benefit from the multivitamin.
Multivitamin for men side effects
Multivitamins have been widely studied and are considered very safe. None of the large randomized trials discussed earlier reported any side effects as a result of the multivitamin treatment.
You should avoid very high doses of vitamin E because they increase prostate cancer risk. There are some concerns about large doses of antioxidants, however: large doses of vitamin E, which were originally thought to help prevent cancer, has actually been found to increase the risk of prostate cancer in men (17).
Men who smoke should not take a multivitamin with high doses of vitamin A. Similarly to vitamin E, high dose of beta-carotene has been found to increase lung cancer risk in men who smoke, probably by protecting cancerous cells from oxidative damage.
More is not always better when it comes to dosage. Taking high doses of certain vitamins and minerals can be beneficial in some cases and harmful in others.
Multivitamin for men dosage
Make sure you hit at least 100% of RDV with the major ingredients. With a multivitamin, you don’t get much choice when it comes to the dose of individual ingredients, aside from choosing a high quality brand that provides a good balance of vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients.
Don’t go overboard with vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K can build up over time, and since they’re stored in the body, levels can become toxic. Water-soluble vitamins like B and C are flushed from the body when they’re present in excess.
Of the fat-soluble vitamins, E and K are not toxic in high levels, but vitamins A and D may have detrimental effects when you take too much.
As long as your multivitamin provides a large proportion of the recommended daily intake for the most important ingredients, you’ll be fine with the recommended serving size from the manufacturer.
Multivitamin for men benefits FAQ
Q: What should a men’s multivitamin have in it?
A: When looking at the ingredients in a multivitamin for men, you of course want to make sure all the basics are covered. That means things like vitamin A, C, and D, as well as important minerals like calcium.
But for men’s multivitamins in particular, you’ll want to make sure that it contains adequate levels of zinc and magnesium, too, as these trace minerals play an important role in maintaining high testosterone levels as men get older.
Q: Why should you take a men’s multivitamin?
A: Taking a multivitamin is a good way to cover your bases if the quality of your diet isn’t what it should be.
Of course, there’s no way for a man to completely make up for a poor quality diet with a multivitamin, but on days when you are very busy, or travelling, a multivitamin for men is a good stopgap to make sure you don’t slide into nutritional deficiency.
A multivitamin for men might help stave off a decline in quality of life for older men, though the evidence for specific conditions like preventing Alzheimer’s disease is controversial.
Q: How are men’s and women’s multivitamins different?
A: Multivitamins for men and multivitamins for women differ pretty substantially when it comes to the dosage of key vitamins and minerals.
Men’s multivitamins have higher doses of compounds like iron, zinc, and magnesium, while women’s multivitamins have higher doses of specific B vitamins like folate and vitamin B12.
These differences are a conscious design choice based on the hormonal differences between men and women. While it’s not going to be bad for you to take a generic or a women’s multivitamin, the dosage of key ingredients is going to be closer to optimal when taking a high quality multivitamin formulated specifically for men.
Q: Can a multivitamin help boost testosterone?
A: While low testosterone can have a wide range of causes, a surprising proportion of cases might be attributable to a lack of trace minerals that support testosterone synthesis, specifically zinc, copper, and magnesium.
Deficiencies in these minerals are often associated with low testosterone in older men, which makes a strong case that a men’s multivitamin could help in at least some cases of low T.
Related: Our best men’s multivitamin picks
A high-quality men’s multivitamin can give you cover when your diet is not up to par. When you’re busy, traveling, stressed, or just can’t fit enough fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods into your diet, a multivitamin can deliver the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health.
Moreover, getting a multivitamin that’s specifically formulated for men can help optimize your levels of hormones like testosterone, thanks to its delivery of key trace elements like zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper.