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The vitamin aisle of a pharmacy can be overwhelming. Also, many pharmaceutical companies have developed their own multivitamin formulas for men to help them stay healthy, and this can add to the confusion.

Men and women need different amounts of vitamins and minerals depending on their age and overall health. Someone with osteoporosis, for example, may need more vitamin D and calcium to support their bones than someone without this condition.

This article discusses multivitamin supplements for men and the differing nutritional needs that people have at various times in their lives. It also provides information about the potential risks of taking too many multivitamins.

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Design by Holly Ravazzolo

Manufacturers design and market specific multivitamin and mineral supplements to help meet the health needs of men.

The following table lists several of these supplements. The vitamins and minerals that each product contains are shown in milligrams (mg), micrograms (mcg), or international units (IU). Each product’s Daily Value (DV) is also included.

One A Day Men’sOne A Day Men’s Pro EdgeOne A Day Men’s 50+ Healthy AdvantageCentrum MenCentrum Silver Men 50+
Calcium210 mg
21% DV
200 mg
20% DV
120 mg
9% DV
210 mg
16% DV
220 mg
17% DV
Chromium120 mcg
100% DV
120 mcg
100% DV
180 mcg
514% DV
35 mcg
100% DV
50 mcg
143% DV
IronNone
0% DV
None
0% DV
None
0% DV
8 mg
44% DV
None
0% DV
Magnesium140 mg
35% DV
200 mg
50% DV
110 mg
26% DV
100 mg
24% DV
50 mg
12% DV
Manganese2 mg
100% DV
2 mg
100% DV
4.2 mg
183% DV
2.3 mg
100% DV
2.3 mg
100% DV
Niacin18 mg
90% DV
25 mg
125% DV
20 mg
125% DV
16 mg
100% DV
20 mg
125% DV
PotassiumNone
0% DV
None
0% DV
None
0% DV
80 mg
2% DV
80 mg
2% DV
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)1.7 mg
100% DV
3.4 mg
200% DV
3.4 mg
200% DV
1.3 mg
100% DV
1.7 mg
131% DV
Thiamine (vitamin B1)1.35 mg
90% DV
3 mg
200% DV
4.5 mg
375% DV
1.2 mg
100% DV
1.5 mg
125% DV
Vitamin A3,500 IU
70% DV
3,500 IU
70% DV
940 mcg
104% DV
3,500 IU
117% DV
750 mcg
83% DV
Vitamin B63 mg
150% DV
4 mg
200% DV
6 mg
353% DV
2 mg
118% DV
3 mg
176% DV
Vitamin B1218 mcg
300% DV
12 mcg
200% DV
25 mcg
1,042% DV
6 mcg
250% DV
25 mcg
1,042% DV
Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid)60 mg
100% DV
80 mg
133% DV
120 mg
133% DV
90 mg
100% DV
60 mg
67% DV
Vitamin D700 IU
175% DV
800 IU
200% DV
700 IU
88% DV
600 IU
125% DV
25 mcg
125% DV
Vitamin K20 mcg
25% DV
20 mcg
25% DV
20 mcg
17% DV
60 mcg
50% DV
30 mcg
25% DV
Zinc15 mg
100% DV
15 mg
100% DV
24 mg
218% DV
11 mg
100% DV
11 mg
100% DV

It is not usually necessary to take more than the daily recommended allowance of vitamins and minerals. Exceeding this limit for certain nutrients, such as preformed vitamin A, can have health risks.

A study in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that 33% of people in the United States are taking multivitamin and mineral supplements. The researchers also indicate that multivitamin and mineral supplement use increases as people become older.

People might choose to take multivitamin and mineral supplements for many reasons, including:

  • to replace nutrients that they lack in their diet
  • to reduce the risk of chronic conditions
  • to improve their overall health

The following sections highlight the importance of specific vitamins and minerals for different groups of men.

Young adults going through puberty should focus on eating a balanced diet that incorporates a variety of foods, including:

  • vegetables
  • legumes and beans
  • fruits
  • whole grains
  • milk or dairy products
  • lean meats, poultry, fish, or other healthy sources of protein

For young adults who lack nutrition in their diet, taking multivitamin and mineral supplements may be useful.

Getting at least 1,300 mg of calcium each day is necessary to keep teeth and bones healthy in young males aged 9–18 years.

Furthermore, the body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Doctors recommend that young men get at least 600 IU of vitamin D every day.

Young males aged 14–18 years also need at least 11 mg of iron every day. Getting too little iron can lead to anemia.

Iron is present in many foods, such as fish, chicken, beans, and spinach. Most young men get enough iron from their diets and need less iron on a daily basis than people who menstruate.

Osteoporosis is more common in women, but as men reach about 50 years of age, their risk may also begin to increase. Getting additional calcium and vitamin D can help protect their bones from osteoporosis.

After the age of 70 years, men should aim to get 1,200 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D per day.

Most multivitamin and mineral supplements contain low amounts of calcium. Consuming more dairy or alternative milk products can help a person increase their calcium intake. Another option is to take calcium supplements.

Also, vitamin B12 becomes more difficult to absorb from food as people age. Men older than 50 years of age should aim to get 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 every day.

Most multivitamin and mineral supplements contain more than this. A good example is Ritual Essential for Men 50+, as it contains 16 mcg of vitamin B12. It also contains omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), magnesium, folate, zinc, boron, and vitamins A, K2, E, and D.

The Ritual multivitamins are also vegan, gluten-free, major allergen-free, non-GMO, and free from synthetic fillers and colorants.

Athletes burn more calories than non-athletes. Therefore, they need to eat more to maintain their weight. It is unclear if athletes also need more than the recommended daily allowance of vitamins or minerals.

Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone health, and studies have looked at its importance as a supplement for athletes. This research puts forward several other health claims for the use of vitamin D supplements, including the fact that they:

  • aid recovery from muscle damage after exercise
  • improve heart function
  • support the immune system

More high quality research is necessary before recommending that athletes take vitamin D supplements.

Many studies have investigated whether or not getting extra vitamins or minerals can improve brain health. One such study suggests that vitamin B6 helps improve cognitive performance in older men with cognitive impairments.

However, a 2018 review was unable to show significant evidence that vitamin B6 or any other vitamin or mineral supplement can improve brain function.

Men following a vegetarian or vegan diet may lack vitamin B12, which is mostly present in animal products.

Anyone over 14 years of age and following a vegetarian or vegan diet should consider taking at least 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 each day. Another option is to consume more foods that contain vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals or nutritional yeast.

Taking supplements is another way to increase one’s vitamin B12 intake. Multivitamin and mineral supplements typically supply enough vitamin B-12.

The Ritual Essential for Men Multivitamin 18+ is a good example of a multivitamin that contains vitamin B12 for those who need supplementation in their diet. It contains 8 mcg of vitamin B12 along with folate, magnesium, zinc, boron, omega-3 DHA, and vitamins A, D3, E, and K. It is also vegan, gluten-free, major allergen-free, and GMO-free.

People who smoke have lower levels of vitamin C available in their bodies than those who do not smoke.

Men aged 14–18 years need at least 75 mg of vitamin C per day. Those who are over 19 years of age need 90 mg per day. However, men who smoke need an extra 35 mg per day on top of this.

Not getting enough vitamin C can lead to complications, such as scurvy.

A large study in almost 300,000 men compared the risk of prostate cancer in those taking daily multivitamins with the risk of prostate cancer in those who never took these supplements.

After 6 years, those regularly taking daily multivitamins had a higher risk of advanced prostate cancer and fatal prostate cancer.

However, findings from trials of individual vitamin supplements are less clear.

Using the Physicians’ Health Study II, researchers gave 14,641 male doctors regular supplements of vitamin E and C. They found that the vitamin supplements did not affect the risk of prostate or other cancers over 10 years.

The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial included more than 35,000 men from sites across the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. The researchers gave the participants supplements of selenium and vitamin E for 7–12 years.

The study results suggest that taking vitamin E supplements could increase the risk of prostate cancer.

With these mixed results, it remains unclear how vitamin and mineral supplements affect the risk of cancer in men.

Choosing a multivitamin depends on a person’s individual needs.

Although some multivitamins may contain some of the vitamins that a person may be lacking, it does not mean that they contain them all. Also, some vitamins may contain too much of a certain vitamin for a person’s needs.

For example, some studies indicate that getting too much calcium can be dangerous. For this reason, vitamins that contain calcium may not be suitable for some people.

A person should talk with a healthcare professional to determine what supplements they may need to take and any supplements they may need to avoid.

Also, it is important to look for high quality supplements that have seals from organizations such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia and the National Sanitation Foundation to guarantee that products have undergone third party testing.

Many multivitamin and mineral supplements are available for men. In most cases, following a healthy diet is the best way to get enough nutrition to stay well.

It can be more difficult for some people to get enough nutrition from diet alone, including those following vegetarian or vegan diets. Taking multivitamin and mineral supplements is a good way to improve nutrition in these cases.