Medically Reviewed by
Diana Morgan, MS, CISSN
6 min read
Even if you eat the perfect diet, it can be difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals recommended to by the FDA for long term health. Read on to learn about important vitamins and supplements men of any age should consider.
American men consume more calories than are needed for survival: according to the US Center for Disease Control, men put away a whopping 2,475 calories per day on average. That being the case, you would think men would also be getting enough essential vitamins and nutrients to support great health.
Due to genetics, location, food availability, and lifestyle, everyone has unique nutritional needs. For instance, if a person consumes a lot of leafy greens, they might have adequate potassium levels. But if that same person rarely gets any direct sunlight, he could be lacking in vitamin D.
For this reason, multivitamins are not always the best solution for solving vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A more personalized approach provides the proper supplementation for your individual profile without overdoing certain ones you may not need.
There are other factors that help determine what nutritional supplementation you might need, such as family history, activity level, and stress levels. In addition, variables like alcohol intake, caffeine consumption, and even travel can play a role. For example, those that consume alcohol in excess are at particularly high risk of having B vitamin deficiencies.
There are thousands of products on the market, but we’ve done the exhaustive research to identify the five key supplements that can help men address common deficiencies, and the highest priorities. If you want to look, feel, and perform your best, these supplements are worth checking out.
It’s very common for Americans to be deficient in vitamin D — a 2009 article in Scientific American noted that over 75% of American teens and adults don't get recommended levels. Why is that a big deal?
For one thing, vitamin D may boost testosterone levels in men. Further research is still needed, but this suggests that a lack of vitamin D could be a cause for low testosterone. Because low testosterone makes men prone to a variety of health issues, such as sleep apnea, low metabolism, libido and fatigue, maintaining proper vitamin D levels is a critical part of men’s health.
Low vitamin D also supports heart health and bone health. This is especially essential for older men, who are generally more prone to falls.
Magnesium is a mineral that is important for many bodily functions. It is critical for blood glucose control, protein synthesis, nerve function, and more.
As with vitamin D, you might be surprised to learn that people don't get enough of this essential mineral. According to the USDA, 57% of the US population does not meet the recommended daily intake of magnesium.
One way to up your magnesium intake is to consume more foods that are high in magnesium, such as spinach, almonds, black beans, and bananas.
On top of increasing your consumption of magnesium-rich foods, supplementation is also important. Research indicates that magnesium supplementation can support blood levels of testosterone, especially when coupled with exercise. Another study found that those who took magnesium supplements supported muscular health.
Make sure to get the recommended dose of magnesium to promote strength, sexual health, and your all around well-being. According to the National Institute of Health, it is recommended that men who are 19-30 years old consume 400 mg of magnesium daily, while men aged 31 years old or more should aim for 420 mg. When supplementing with magnesium, the dose for adults should not exceed 350 mg unless prescribed by a doctor.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladd, an integrative physician, says, “I find so many patients feeling better when they add magnesium to their supplement regimens. This supports the data that so many of us are deficient. The most common reasons I will recommend a patient I am working with take magnesium are heart palpitations, anxiety, muscle cramps, or constipation.”
Boron is a trace mineral that is found in foods such as raisins, almonds, prunes, and chickpeas. Boron supports bone health, brain function, and immune response. Men who consume a diet low in fruits and vegetables could have low levels of boron.
While not as well-known as some of the other vitamins and minerals on this list, boron still exhibits some impressive properties. For instance, one study showed that boron-enriched diets resulted supported prostate health.
Omega-3’s are polyunsaturated fatty acids renowned for their anti-inflammatory effects. Furthermore, they have been shown to help support cardiovascular health, joint health, and more. If that’s not enough, they have also been shown to help support brain health.
Omega-3’s are important because consuming them helps people maintain the proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Most men consume far more of the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids —from foods such as refined vegetable oils — than is considered healthy. Men should aim to consume these fats in a more balanced ratio, meaning a greater intake of omega 3’s and cutting down on so many omega-6’s. Often, men consume up to 15 times more omega-6’s than omega-3’s.
Omega-3’s are famously found in fish, but they are also present in high amounts in foods such as flaxseeds, sardines, and walnuts. If you aren’t getting enough omega-3’s from your diet, then you can get a powerful boost through supplementation with fish oil. Fish oil is rich in omega-3’s, and it’s recommended to supplement with at least 1.6 g/day if you do not get enough omega-3’s in your diet.
Keep in mind that not all fish oils are created equal. The integrity of the oils are impacted by how well preserved they are, so make sure you are sourcing your supplements from high quality suppliers.
Saw palmetto is a shrub tree with dark red berries, native to the United States, Europe, and Africa. The palmetto berries were a popular source of food and medicine for Native Americans long before European settlement. They also have a long history of use in traditional medicine, often being prescribed for reproductive and urinary tract issues.
The berries have been traditionally used for prostate health for many years, and early clinical data suggests the saw palmetto extract may help support a healthy prostate; however, larger, more recent clinical data did not support its efficacy.
More research is needed to better understand saw palmetto’s possible mechanism of action. It’s theorized to help with hormone balance in a way that protects the prostate from enlarging. It is worth discussing the potential benefits of supplementation with your medical provider.
If you decide to take saw palmetto extract be sure to look for a high-quality product, as the extraction process and formulation can play a huge role in saw palmetto’s results.
Men who want to maintain good health should eat a varied diet rich in nutrient-dense foods, that includes wild-caught seafood or an omega-3 supplement. But that is easier said than done. Stress, poor and convenient food choices, and lack of physical activity can all cause men to be deficient in certain nutrients.
We are all unique, so it’s critical to find out which of these supplements will work best for you. This convenient online survey can help determine what you might be lacking nutritionally, and provide a personalized daily vitamin regimen.
If necessary, increasing the intake of vitamin D, astaxanthin, vitamin B12, magnesium, boron, omega-3’s and saw palmetto extract may help support energy, promote sexual health, and generally support men's health.