Why should we even care about the best multivitamin for men when our caveman ancestors didn’t give it a second thought?
I mean, modern man has it easy.
No more hunting for our meals (for most people anyway), no sabretooth tigers waiting around the corner to jump on you, and houses that have a lockable front door rather than the more open style of a cave.
This is where it gets tricky. As a modern man you also have a lot more on your plate compared to the good old caveman days of hunting, eating, napping and making sweet, sweet love.
You need to balance work, family life, social life, exercise and relaxation time.
And while you get to do it in an environment sans tigers, it contains many more constant sources of stress that can creep up on you over time.
Add rising environmental pollution and increasingly deficient soils due to intense agriculture and over farming, and you start to realise that it’s not too hard to develop a nutritional deficiency or two.
So what can you do to make sure you don’t become nutritionally deficient in this modern day and age?
Let’s break it down into sections even a caveman could understand:
- Why Are Vitamins And Minerals So Important For Men?
- The Benefits Of The Optimum Vitamin Intake
- The Best Multivitamin For Men To Overcome Common Deficiencies
- How To Spot Vitamin And Mineral Deficiency
- The Science Behind The Crucial Vitamins For Men’s Health
- Food vs. The Best Multivitamin For Men
- The Best Multivitamin For Men On Specific Diets
- Choosing The Best Multivitamin For Men
Why Are Vitamins And Minerals So Important For Men?
Most people these days can benefit from some additional nutritional insurance in addition to their diet.
Even those with carefully planned, highly nutritious diets tend to stick to their favourite meals and foods, and over time may find themselves lacking certain nutrients.
Throw on top of this the challenges of modern life, like full time work, exercise, family commitments and trying to maintain a social life, and you may find it difficult to stick to the optimal diet each and every day.
Routines change, life and surprises happen, but your ability to achieve an intake of all the essential nutrients you need shouldn’t suffer.
The question is really, which vitamins do men need, and what is the best multivitamin for men to get these in the right amounts.
When it comes to nutrition, men need certain nutrients more than their female counterparts do and many of these can be difficult to track down via modern food sources.
If you follow a strict diet template of vegetarianism, veganism, paleo or keto you need to be even more educated around which nutrients you may not be getting enough of.
It’s not sufficient to ensure you’re eating a good amount of the right nutrients. You also need to be aware of any factors that could actively lower your levels of certain vitamins and minerals.
Caffeine, alcohol, sugar and even environmental stresses such as pollution can all have a negative impact on your nutritional status.
The ever declining levels of important nutrients in modern soils equates to a decline in the level of nutrients transferred to the foods we eat.
This means, now more than ever, it’s time to consider a nutritional backup in the form of supplementation. In reality, the best multivitamin for men may actually be a combination of things.
The Benefits Of The Optimum Vitamin Intake
Many men take a generic multivitamin with the aim of improving general health and perhaps preventing future disease.
The problem with this approach, is that it’s broad and unfocused. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother with supplementation at all.
For instance, taking very specific supplements can help achieve improvements in certain areas of health such as:
- Faster fat loss
- Muscle gain
- Cardiovascular health
- Prostate health and sexual performance
- Pre, during and post workout performance and recovery
- Increased testosterone levels
With the right nutritional supplementation taken at the right time, you can reap all of these benefits.
But don’t stop there. The best supplements for men support the above while also providing long term benefits such as increased longevity and disease prevention.
The Best Multivitamin For Men To Overcome Common Deficiencies
Time and time again, the same deficiencies come up, making covering these a great place to start.
Common deficiencies in men can result in symptoms like:
- General fatigue
- Poor immune function
- Low sex drive
- Poor workout recovery time
- Poor sexual performance
And let’s not forget very serious issues such as the risk of prostate cancer. The right vitamins offer increased protection against many forms of disease.
How To Spot Vitamin And Mineral Deficiency
Different deficiencies can cause different symptoms, but it’s not always obvious, and it can be necessary to to test for these to truly figure out where your deficiencies lie.
Zinc Deficiency Symptoms
- Poor skin quality
- Slow wound healing
- Weak, streaky fingernails
- Poor immune system and frequent infections
- Low Testosterone levels that can lead to low energy, low sex drive and even depression
Selenium Deficiency Symptoms
Deficiency in selenium can result in similar symptoms to those caused by a zinc deficiency, so the specific issue may not always be so obvious.
Both of these minerals work well together to assist the immune system and maintain healthy testosterone levels. So it makes sense to include both in your regime if you’re experiencing the above symptoms.
Selenium also plays a big part in thyroid function. Low selenium levels can cause symptoms of hypothyroidism such as:
- Extreme fatigue
- Decreased mental performance
- A sluggish metabolism
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
- Fatigue and general weakness
- Reduced bone density
- Lower serotonin levels, and with it, a higher risk of depression
- A weaker immune system
- Lower testosterone levels
So while the best multivitamin for men should always include these three essentials, it’s crucial to listen to what your body is saying.
Monitor your symptoms, they could be telling you everything you need to know.
The Science Behind The Crucial Vitamins For Men’s Health
Along with the zinc, selenium, vitamin D trifecta, vitamin A, B12, calcium and magnesium are also extremely important. Let’s take a look at why in a quick breakdown for each.
Zinc is an extremely important mineral and has many roles to play in the body. Its 3 main functions are as a:
- Catalyst or cofactor needed for chemical reactions
- Building material to create proteins and healthy membranes
- Regulator ensuring DNA is copied without error, genes are expressed properly and cells signal to each other correctly
In men, zinc also plays another very important role in hormonal and metabolic health. It can boost testosterone levels and maintain them at a higher level.
Regular exercise can deplete zinc levels over time, so if you fit this category, it’s even more important to keep your intake up.
If you work hard and train hard and you’re still not performing as well as you used to, zinc supplementation could be the answer.
Give it a go for a month and see how you feel, I’m confident you’ll notice a difference.
Selenium is a mineral not commonly found in most foods, so it’s quite easy to develop a deficiency.
Selenium, like zinc, plays an important role in boosting the immune system. It also supports thyroid health and metabolism, and acts as an all round antioxidant – important in disease prevention.
And most notably for men, selenium is essential for maintaining healthy testosterone levels.
Vitamin A has many roles in the body related to immune health, skin health and eyesight.
But for men, the most important function of vitamin A is in maintaining healthy hormone levels and healthy reproductive organs.
The sunshine vitamin, one of my absolute favourite vitamins, is a warrior on the side of immune health, skin health, mental health, and healthy testosterone levels.
While you can get it from some foods such as egg yolks and fatty fish, the absolute best way to get your vitamin D levels up is to go out and get some sunshine.
The sun’s UV rays trigger a reaction in your body which results in the production of vitamin D. If you’re not getting 20 minutes of sunshine most days of the week, I definitely recommend you take a vitamin D3 supplement.
This applies to almost everyone in certain parts of the world, and even more so during the colder, cloudier months.
Iron deficiency isn’t common in men. In fact, excess iron is much more common.
Unlike women, who shed iron during their monthly menstrual cycle, the only way men generally get this opportunity is by regularly donating blood (which is a good thing for other obvious reasons!).
So why am I talking about iron? It’s important to understand that vitamin B12, along with iron, are essential ingredients, required by your body to produce red blood cells.
Vitamin B12 also helps with lowering homocysteine, an inflammatory amino acid in the body. Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with heart disease, stroke and mood disorders such as depression.
You probably associate calcium with strong bones thanks to all the encouragement you received as a kid to drink milk every day. But calcium provides a lot more than you think.
Calcium is required for muscular contractions, not only when pumping your biceps, but for all muscles in your body, including your heart.
If you’re an active guy who consumes a lot of protein, your calcium requirement is most certainly higher than average.
Why? Calcium is often released into the bloodstream to buffer against the increased acidity that comes with a high protein intake. You need to replenish your calcium by increasing your intake.
Calcium also helps with vitamin B12 absorption, a very important vitamin as mentioned above.
And to circle back yet again to sex… Calcium helps convert cholesterol into sex hormones such as testosterone.
Have you ever experienced the dreaded midnight calf cramp? When you wake up to a screamingly painful, tight, cramped calf muscle?
If not, you’re very lucky. But if you ask around, it’s likely some of your fittest friends have experienced it.
If you have, congratulations on surviving the ordeal. I know only too well just how painful it is.
Now the most likely cause of this dreaded cramp, along with most muscle cramps, is low magnesium levels.
Magnesium deficiency is quite common among active people, especially those that drink a lot of water, consume a lot of caffeine and sweat a lot during exercise.
Not only can magnesium help prevent cramps and muscle spasms, it can also improve sleep quality, reduce muscle soreness, anxiety and depression, and maintain hormonal balance.
Food vs. The Best Multivitamin For Men
I think most of us know that food is a superior source of nutrition, but as covered earlier, there are a number of factors that can make it difficult to get enough of certain vitamins and minerals in the diet.
So what are the foods you should focus on?
Head straight for meat, nuts, eggs, leafy greens and, although it’s not a food, sunshine. A regular dose of sun is critically important for optimal health.
Most kinds of meat contain vitamin B12 and zinc, but red meat in particular is your absolute best source for these. For bonus points like extra omega 3 fats, try to go grass-fed.
Eating just 2 to 3 Brazil nuts per day is enough to achieve your daily requirement for selenium and is safer and more absorbable than a supplement.
Most nuts contain zinc and magnesium, with cashews the best choice for zinc and both almonds and Brazil nuts the best choices for magnesium.
Egg yolks are one of the only dietary sources of vitamin D. Eggs also contain vitamin K which is important on its own, but has the added feature of helping your body absorb vitamin D.
Added to this, eggs are a valuable source of saturated fats and cholesterol, which are especially important for the reason we keep coming back to – testosterone levels.
Leafy greens, particularly the darker types like spinach and kale, contain good amounts of magnesium, vitamin B12, iron and even some zinc.
Having said that, these plants also contain a lot of “anti-nutrients” which can interfere with the absorption of the nutrients you need.
So it’s best to consume them lightly cooked, by throwing them into a fry pan for a few minutes, or quickly steaming or blanching them.
I like tossing a few big handfuls of baby spinach into the pan as I’m finishing up my grass fed beef. This way it wilts to a smaller size while also absorbing some of the delicious flavour from the meat. It’s an easy and tasty way to dramatically increase your leafy green intake.
I know, this isn’t a food. But unless you’re eating megadoses of egg yolk, you’re going to need another source of vitamin D.
The best part is, your body is ready to make vitamin D on demand. All you have to do is get some UVB exposure. That’s right, sunshine!