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Some males over the age of 50 years may benefit from taking a multivitamin to support their health and prolong their quality of life as they get older.
In this article, we look at whether older males need a multivitamin, the nutrients they may benefit from, and some product options. We also suggest other ways of getting more vitamins.
Multivitamins contain a range of vitamins and minerals that are essential for human health. In many cases, a person can get these nutrients from eating a balanced diet and getting sunlight exposure.
However, as people get older, they may need extra help getting enough vitamins and minerals. There are a variety of reasons for this, including:
- Reduced absorption: According to the Institute of Medicine, 10–30% of older adults do not absorb vitamin B12 effectively. If a person is not absorbing enough nutrients from their food, taking a supplement may help.
- Medication: Some medications can deplete a person’s vitamin levels. For example, proton pump inhibitors and metformin can reduce vitamin B12 levels.
- Physical training: If a male over 50 is very physically active, they may need additional vitamins and minerals to support their training.
- Reduced mobility: If a person has a disability or chronic illness, they may not be able to cook fresh foods from scratch or get outdoors easily. In these cases, it could be more difficult to get enough of some nutrients.
- Limited diet: A person with dietary restrictions may find it more difficult to get certain nutrients from food, in which case, a supplement may be necessary.
- Age-related chronic disease: Conditions such as osteoporosis may increase a person’s need for nutrients.
However, while some people may benefit from taking vitamin supplements, it is important to note that not everyone needs or benefits from them.
Getting too much of some vitamins can be dangerous, and some vitamins can also interact with medications. For example, vitamin K can reduce the effectiveness of warfarin, a medication that prevents blood clotting.
Wherever possible, it is best to ask a doctor to perform blood tests to determine whether a person needs a vitamin supplement, and, if so, which nutrients they may need to take.
While it is important for people to get enough of all the vital nutrients each day, there are some specific nutrients that males over 50 may benefit from taking in particular.
As a significant percentage of older adults may not absorb food-bound vitamin B12 efficiently, it may be a good nutrient to look for in a multivitamin.
Vitamin D is essential for bone health and immune function. However, many people do not get enough vitamin D, and an adult’s need for this nutrient increases as they age.
Some vitamins and minerals are also antioxidants. Antioxidants can help protect against free radicals. Some antioxidants to look for in supplements include:
- vitamin A
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
These nutrients have numerous potential benefits. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a combination of vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin (AREDS) may slow age-related macular degeneration.
A 2016 review indicates that zinc is also necessary for prostate function.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is another antioxidant that may help protect against obesity and inflammation, according to a 2014 review.
A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that CoQ10 can reduce the muscle pain and weakness that some people experience while taking statins.
The best product for someone will depend on their particular circumstances, such as their age, any medications they take, their health status, and other factors. A doctor or dietitian can advise on this.
The product options below all:
- contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals
- contain doses that are suitable for male adults
- have undergone testing by a third party for quality and safety
Please note that the following statements are research-based. No one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried these products.
Centrum Multivitamin for Men
This general-purpose multivitamin contains a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, and zinc.
With this product, a person can get 100% of the daily value (DV) for many nutrients in one tablet. However, while the levels of vitamin B12 and selenium are high, those of calcium and potassium are low.
The company manufacture their supplements in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facilities and run numerous quality checks.
Centrum Multivitamin for Men is available for purchase online.
SmartyPants Men’s Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin
This product provides good amounts of vitamin D, vitamin B12, and zinc. It also contains modest amounts of other important nutrients, as well as CoQ10 and omega-3.
This product comes in the form of chewable gummies, which can be easier to take than tablets. However, it is worth noting that they contain 6 grams of added sugar per serving.
The company make their products at Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-registered GMP facilities.
SmartyPants Men’s Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin is available for purchase online.
Nature’s Way Alive! Men’s 50+ Gummy Multi-Vitamin
These gummies contain 100% of the DV for numerous key nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and E. The amounts of selenium and vitamins B6 and B12 are higher than the DV.
In addition, this product provides 50% of the DV of zinc and other B vitamins. It also contains some fruit and vegetable powders. Nature’s Way are GMP-registered by NSF International and certified organic.
Nature’s Way Alive! Men’s 50+ Gummy Multi-Vitamin is available for purchase online.
Numerous vitamins and minerals can cause side effects. For example, some forms of calcium may cause gas and bloating, and iron supplements can cause constipation.
Certain nutrients can also be harmful to some people. For example, a multivitamin may:
- interact with medications or other supplements
- worsen preexisting conditions
- increase the risk for some health conditions
- cause toxicity at high dosages
Taking a multivitamin can be useful for supplementing a person’s food intake, but it cannot replace a balanced, varied diet. Foods that contain vitamins may also contain other important nutrients, such as:
- omega-3 fatty acids
- fiber and prebiotics, which feed beneficial bacteria in the gut
- other antioxidants, such as polyphenols and beta carotene
The following table shows how to get a wide range of nutrients from food.
Anyone concerned about their nutrient intake may wish to speak to a doctor or registered dietitian for advice. These professionals can help them understand whether they need a supplement, and, if so, which one will suit their needs.
If a person experiences any new or worsening symptoms while taking a vitamin product, they should stop taking it and contact a doctor promptly.
A multivitamin may be beneficial for males over 50 who cannot get enough nutrients from their diet. Antioxidants, vitamin B12, and vitamin D are some of the nutrients that may be especially important. However, everyone’s needs are different.
When considering a multivitamin, it is important to know which nutrients a person needs and in what quantities. A doctor or dietitian can advise someone on what may be beneficial for them and ensure that they avoid potential adverse effects.