Are vitamins for men safe or effective? Are vitamins necessary for improving your health and keeping you in tip-top shape?
Sort of like magic pills, the supplement industry has seen a boom in recent years. But should you take them too? And if so – which are the essential vitamins for men to supplement their diet?
Read on to discover more about what exactly are the top vitamins for men, why, and also whether there are specific types of vitamin supplements for men we should be looking into.
What are the Best Vitamins for Men?
Firstly, there is no such thing as the best vitamins to take for men. We need all vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, K) and minerals in adequate amounts to be healthy.
Deficiency of any of the above vitamins and minerals might lead to a variety of health issues like digestive issues, skin and hair problems, etc.
Why Should Men Take Vitamin Supplements?
While the best way to get vitamins and minerals in adequate amounts is through a healthy, well-balanced, and diverse diet, it might not be possible all the time.
Vitamin supplementation helps close the gap between real life and ideal life, thereby preventing any deficiencies.
However, it is best to consult a doctor or dietician, work with them by understanding what nutrients you are deficient in and choose a targeted supplement accordingly.
What Vitamins and Minerals Should Men Take?
There are 9 water-soluble vitamins – B complex vitamins- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (Pyridoxine), B7 (Biotin), B9 (Folate), B12 (Cobalamin) and Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid); and 4 fat-soluble vitamins- Vitamin A, D, E and K each of which has their own functions.
Coming to minerals, we have
Macrominerals– They are minerals present at levels more than 0.05% in our body and include Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chlorine, and Sulphur.
Micro minerals, also called trace minerals, are present at levels less than 0.05% in our body and include Iron, Iodine, Zinc, Copper, Fluorine, Selenium, Chromium, Manganese, Cobalt, and Molybdenum.
We need to take all the above vitamins in adequate and easily absorbable forms to have a healthy life.
What Vitamins Should a Men Take On a Daily Basis?
A few important daily vitamins for men in their 30’s and 40’s are
- Vitamin A
- B complex vitamins- especially B6 and B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
The recommended vitamins for men aged over 50 are
- Vitamin A
- B complex vitamins- especially vitamin B6, B12, B1, B2, B3, folate
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
In addition to these, it is also important to take good amounts of essential fatty acids like Omega 3 fatty acids. So, if you are looking for daily vitamins for men, it is important that you even get essential fatty acids from them.
Measurements for vitamins and minerals:
The most common ways of measuring vitamins and minerals are:
- mg (milligrams)
- mcg (micrograms)
- IU (International unit)
Top 7 vitamins and minerals for men:
The most important vitamins men need to look for while picking their daily vitamins are:
1. Vitamin D:
- Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is primarily responsible for the regulation of levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body, bone formation, and maintenance. It is also involved in the regulation of specific genes, may prevent a few cancers, and prevent inflammation that causes bleeding gums.
- Deficiency of Vitamin D causes rickets in infants, osteomalacia (demineralization of bones causing them to be weak) in adults and adolescents, etc.
- Older adults, people with limited sun exposure, those with dark skin, and malabsorption are at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D for adult men is 15-20 mg .
Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D. Dietary sources of Vitamin D include fish liver oils, fatty fish like salmon, sardine, mackerel, milk, and butter.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Male fertility: Most studies show a positive association between Vitamin D and male fertility potential, especially through better sperm motility .
Maintains heart health: Vitamin D deficiency is linked to chronic inflammatory conditions (obesity, diabetes) which increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Getting a sufficient intake of Vitamin D might help prevent such conditions .
2. Vitamin C:
- Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is involved in many functions like wound healing, increasing absorption of iron, improving immune function, helps in detoxification, collagen synthesis, and also acts as an antioxidant.
- Insufficient intake of Vitamin C causes scurvy, characterized by bleeding gums, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, weakness, pain in joints, etc.
- Excess intake of Vitamin C for prolonged periods can cause symptoms like nausea, abdominal cramps, and other such gastrointestinal disturbances.
Adult men need 90 mg of Vitamin C per day. However, for men who smoke, it is recommended to increase the amount of vitamin C consumed by 35 mg .
Fruits and vegetables like oranges, Indian gooseberry, brussels sprouts, guava, red and green peppers, and strawberries are good sources of Vitamin C.
Benefits of Vitamin C:
- Reduces the risk of cancer: A higher vitamin C intake reduces the risk of cancer by limiting the formation of carcinogens and also plays a role in altering cell survival pathways, metabolism, and functions [4, 5].
- Cardiovascular diseases: Vitamin C may slightly improve lipid profiles and endothelial function in those deficient in Vitamin C .
- Managing COVID 19: Vitamin C is a potential option in managing COVID-19 because of its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory effects .
3. Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamin. It is essential in forming red blood cells, DNA, and nerve cells, protects the heart, and plays an important role in energy metabolism and neurological functions.
- Deficiency of Vitamin B12 causes anemia, neurological disorders with symptoms like numbness and tingling in hands and feet.
This water-soluble vitamin is not present in plant foods- except fortified foods, but animal foods like meat, fish, poultry eggs, etc are a good source of vitamin B12.
So, if you are a vegan or vegetarian, it is one of the essential vitamins for men to look for.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 for adult men is 2.4 mcg .
Benefits of Vitamin B12:
- Cognitive function: Few studies show that low vitamin B12 levels have been associated with poor cognitive function and dementia . Adequate vitamin B12 in your diet might help prevent that.
- Cardiac health: Vitamin B12 may inhibit atherosclerosis by decreasing plasma homocysteine levels 
4. Vitamin E:
- Vitamin E, previously known as the ‘anti-sterility factor’ is a potent antioxidant that is also involved in immune function.
- Deficiency of vitamin E might cause peripheral neuropathy, damage eyes, muscles, impair immune response, etc.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin E for adult males is 15 mg 
Oily seeds, nuts, vegetable oils, avocados are the best sources of Vitamin E. Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and kiwi also have decent amounts of Vitamin E.
Benefits of Vitamin E:
- Cancer: α-Tocopherol, which is the major form of Vitamin E helps prevent cancer by decreasing oxidative stress .
- Protects nervous system: Vitamin E plays a vital role in protecting the central nervous system from oxidative damage and motor coordination difficulties .
- Magnesium, a macro-mineral, forms an integral part of the crystal structure of the bone along with calcium and phosphorus. It also helps in energy production, muscle and nerve function, regulates blood pressure, controls blood glucose, etc.
- Deficiency of magnesium causes symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fatigue etc and prolonged deficiency of magnesium causes muscle cramps, seizures, numbness, tingling, abnormal heart rhythms, etc.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium for adult males is 400- 420 mg .
Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, green leafy vegetables, beans, soy milk, whole grains, etc are good sources of magnesium.
Benefits of Magnesium:
- Bone health: Magnesium increases bone mineral density and enhances bone health 
- Zinc is an essential mineral that is important in immune function, wound healing, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis and also promotes normal growth and development in children and adolescents.
- Deficiency of Zinc is associated with retarded growth, impaired immune function, delayed sexual maturation, mental lethargy, etc.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of zinc for adult men is 11 mg .
A few good sources of zinc are oysters, meat, poultry, beans, nuts and seeds, and fortified breakfast cereals.
Benefits of Zinc:
- Improving fertility: Zinc and folate supplementation had positive effects on sperm characteristics like sperm morphology and concentration in sub-fertile men .
- Immune function: Zinc deficiency has been associated with lower immune function. Taking adequate amounts of zinc can help improve immunity 
- Potassium, the chief cation of the intracellular fluid plays an important role in the maintenance of electrolyte balance in the cells, helps in energy metabolism, and is a structural component of DNA, RNA, and cell membranes.
- The deficiency of potassium increases the risk of kidney stones, blood pressure, bone turnover, excretion of calcium, which may cause irregular heartbeat and many other conditions.
Adult men require about 3400 mg of potassium per day .
Potassium is found in a wide range of foods. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of potassium. It can also be found in roots and tubers, nuts, meat, poultry, seafood, milk, and milk products.
Benefits of Potassium:
- Blood glucose control: Potassium might help control blood sugar levels as it is needed for the secretion of insulin from the pancreas .
- Hypertension: A higher potassium intake is associated with a decrease in blood pressure, stroke, and possibly other cardiovascular diseases too .
Men’s Multivitamin supplements for good Health:
Here’s what you need to look for while shopping for vitamins for men
- Third-Party Certification: Look for brands where multivitamins are tested by a third party like USP or NSF or TGA.
- Quality of ingredients: Consider taking a multivitamin in the most biologically active form.
- Excipients: These are ‘extra ingredients’ added to improve the palatability, color, mask off-flavors, improve compressibility, in case of tablets, or improve flow. It is important to look at the quality of these ingredients, check for allergens, artificial colors, etc.
- Quantity of ingredients: It is important to check the nutrition facts labeling and understand the quantity of active ingredients used. Most vitamin supplements for men don’t give you 100% of the DRI of vitamins and minerals.
- Formulation: Supplements are available in many formulations – capsules, tablets, gummies, gels, syrups, and powders and each has its own benefits.
You can select a form that is affordable and convenient for you.
|Top 7 Vitamins and Minerals for Men|
|1||Vitamin B12||Meat, fish, poultry eggs, etc||2.4 mcg||
|2||Vitamin C||Fruits and vegetables like oranges, Indian gooseberry, brussels sprouts, guava, red and green peppers, and strawberries||90 mg||
|3||Vitamin D||Sunlight, fish liver oils, fatty fish like salmon, sardine, mackerel, milk, and butter.||15-20 mg||
|4||Vitamin E||Oily seeds, nuts, vegetable oils, avocados||15 mg||
|5||Magnesium||Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, green leafy vegetables, beans, soy milk, whole grains, etc||400- 420 mg||
|6||Potassium||Fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers, nuts, meat, poultry etc||3400* mg||
|7||Zinc||oysters, meat, poultry, beans, nuts and seeds, and fortified breakfast cereals.||11 mg||
Multivitamin supplementation helps bridge the gap between inadequacy and sufficiency and is useful to prevent/ treat several deficiencies and is also useful in some chronic conditions.
However, like any other food/ supplement, taking multivitamin or mineral supplements in excess can be toxic and does more harm than good.
So, always consult a healthcare professional and make informed decisions regarding your vitamin supplementation.
Q: Will taking vitamin supplements daily make me healthier?
A: While there are quite a few potential benefits of taking your daily vitamins, there is still limited evidence that taking vitamin supplements every day gives you the benefits you expect.
It is best to work with your healthcare provider on what improvements you are looking for, so they can prescribe you a targeted supplementation.
Q: Can I get my daily calcium from a multivitamin?
A: No. Most vitamins have limited amounts of calcium since it can interfere with the absorption of iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Q: How long do I take my vitamin supplements?
A: Your healthcare provider is the best person to advise you on when to start and how long you need to take your supplements.
Q: What are the best vitamins and minerals for building muscle?
A: Iron, Vitamin D, Calcium, and Zinc play a vital role in muscle development.
- Vitamin D- Health Professional fact sheet, National Institute of Health,2021
- Cito, Gianmartin et al. “Vitamin D and Male Fertility: An Updated Review.” The world journal of men’s health vol. 38,2 (2020): 164-177.
- Rai, Vikrant, and Devendra K Agrawal. “Role of Vitamin D in Cardiovascular Diseases.” Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America vol. 46,4 (2017): 1039-1059
- Vitamin C- Health Professional fact sheet, National Institute of Health,2021
- Ang, Abel et al. “Vitamin C and immune cell function in inflammation and cancer.” Biochemical Society transactions vol. 46,5 (2018): 1147-1159.
- Moser, Melissa A, and Ock K Chun. “Vitamin C and Heart Health: A Review Based on Findings from Epidemiologic Studies.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 17,8 1328. 12 Aug. 2016
- Abobaker, Anis et al. “Overview of the possible role of vitamin C in management of COVID-19.” Pharmacological reports : PR vol. 72,6 (2020): 1517-1528
- Vitamin B12-Health Professional fact sheet, National Institute of Health,2021
- Debreceni, Balazs, and Laszlo Debreceni. “The role of homocysteine-lowering B-vitamins in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.” Cardiovascular therapeutics vol. 32,3 (2014): 130-8.
- Vitamin E- Health Professional fact sheet, National Institute of Health,2021
- Yang, Chung S et al. “Vitamin E and cancer prevention: Studies with different forms of tocopherols and tocotrienols.” Molecular carcinogenesis vol. 59,4 (2020): 365-389.
- Ulatowski, Lynn M, and Danny Manor. “Vitamin E and neurodegeneration.” Neurobiology of disease vol. 84 (2015): 78-83.
- Magnesium- Health Professional fact sheet, National Institute of Health,2021
- Crisponi, Guido et al. “The Potential Clinical Properties of Magnesium.” Current medicinal chemistry, 10.2174/0929867327999201116195343. 16 Nov. 2020
- Guerrera, Mary P et al. “Therapeutic uses of magnesium.” American family physician vol. 80,2 (2009): 157-62.
- Zinc- Health Professional fact sheet, National Institute of Health,2021
- Irani, Morvarid et al. “The Effect of Folate and Folate Plus Zinc Supplementation on Endocrine Parameters and Sperm Characteristics in Sub-Fertile Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Urology journal vol. 14,5 4069-4078. 29 Aug. 2017
- Potassium- Health Professional fact sheet, National Institute of Health,2021