The Best Vitamins for Men

March 19, 2016

In an ideal world, we would all eat very low-processed, organic and nutrient-dense diets filled with all sorts of foods that provide us with the vitamins we need. But this isn’t always possible or realistic for many men, leaving a lot of room for common nutrient deficiencies and health problems as a consequence. Many people assume vitamin or mineral deficiencies are mostly a third-world problem in the 21st century, but in fact research tells us that even in developed nations, the best vitamins for men aren’t consumed enough.

A high percentage of men today eating a typical “western diet” experience at least one type of vitamin or nutrient deficiency, mostly due to eating a poor diet that’s low in vitamin-rich foods like veggies and fruit. In 2009, a report by NBC News stated that “studies show 77 percent of men don’t take in enough magnesium, that many of us are deficient in vitamin D, and that the vitamin B12 in our diets may be undermined by a common heartburn medication. And we haven’t even mentioned our problems with potassium and iodine yet.” (1)

Make no mistake, men are just as susceptible as women are to experiencing low vitamin and mineral levels. Resolving deficiencies and consuming more nutrients help improve many aspects of a man’s overall health: better muscle strength and gains, a faster metabolism and fat loss, more energy, better sleep, improved sexual performance, and protection against health problems like a heat attack, colon or prostate cancer. That’s why it’s important to get as much of the best vitamins for men as possible in your diet, just as it’s crucial for the opposite sex to obtain the best vitamins for women, many of which overlap due to these damaging deficiencies.

The Best Vitamins for Men

Based on statistics about which vitamins a high percentage of men might be missing, here are some of the most important and best vitamins for men to make sure you or your loved one gets enough of:

1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in both adult men and women. It’s estimated that a whopping 45 percent to 75 percent of all adults in the U.S. experience at least some degree of vitamin D deficiency, especially those who live in cold climates and spend most of their time indoors. (2)

Men need vitamin D to produce enough testosterone, maintain strong bones, protect brain health, prevent mood disorders like depression, and help control cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Vitamin D is also capable of helping lower inflammation, which is why some studies have found that men deficient in D might be up to 80 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who aren’t deficient. (3)

Vitamin D can be obtained from eating certain foods like eggs, some dairy products and even certain mushrooms, but we get the majority of our vitamin D from directly being exposed to the sun, without wearing much or any sunscreen. By spending 15–20 minutes outside most days of the week without sunscreen on, you help vitamin D become synthesized when it comes into contact with your skin, plus you detox your body with the sun.(4) During the colder months of the year, or if you just aren’t able to regularly get outdoors, consider taking a supplement to cover your bases.

2. Vitamin B12

Many men and women tend to be low in vitamin B12, although for somewhat different reasons. Studies show that most men usually consume the daily B12 they need (from eating things like beef, poultry and eggs), but they often have trouble with proper absorption of vitamin B12 due to medication use, especially older men taking several prescriptions at once. Medications like acid-blocking drugs and those used to manage blood pressure or diabetes can interfere with how B12 is metabolized in the body — which is a problem considering vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to fatigue and central nervous system problems.

A report from Harvard Medical School stated that estimates show around 3 percent to 4 percent of all adults are severely low in B12, but about 20 percent have a borderline deficiency that’s still risky. (5) B12 can be obtained from eating most animal proteins, especially lamb, beef and salmon. If you avoid eating most or all animal products or are taking any medications regularly, it’s also a good idea to get your levels tested and consider taking an additional B12 supplement daily to cover your needs.

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