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Men's Health

This portion of our health library caters solely to men. Here you will find articles that discuss topics of interest to men seeking to lose weight.

The Best Supplements for Men: A Beginner’s Guide

Discover the best supplements for men (including best workout supplements for men!) of 2021 along with practical tips for choosing.

The Best Supplements for Men: A Beginner’s Guide


Within the past couple of years, supplements replaced superfoods as the latest and greatest in the wellness space. But with so many options, it can feel overwhelming to choose the right ones based on bio-individuality. 

Discover the best supplements for men (including best workout supplements for men!) of 2021 along with practical tips for choosing.

Quick Difference Between Supplements & Multivitamins

Think of dietary supplements as an umbrella term for pills, powders, tinctures, and tonics that supply targeted nutrients or substances. Some of the most common include fish oil, probiotics, and individual vitamins. Supplements, in general, are intended to accompany a diet, not replace it. 

Obtaining enough nutrients (especially including vitamins and minerals) through whole foods first is the wisest practice for optimal overall health. However, many people consume a highly Westernized diet full of empty calories, void of necessary key nutrients, and lack color. This often makes supplementation prudent.

Multivitamins are a category of supplements that offer a multitude of the most common vitamins and minerals. They tend to be targeted to specific populations because recommended nutrient levels differ among genders, age groups, and life stages.

Not everyone needs to take a multivitamin, though. If the diet supplies enough vitamins and minerals, the body will secrete the water-soluble ones via urine or store fat-soluble ones. This can lead to toxicity when unmonitored. 

Need not worry about the latter fact, as vitamin toxicity is quite difficult to achieve! But, at the very least, it’d be nice not to spend a pretty penny on something unnecessary.

Best Supplements for Men

The best supplements for men in 2021 include the following listed below. 

Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial, live microorganisms that help balance the microbiome known for digestive and immune support. They have also been shown to spearhead reductions in body weight and body fat percentages. 

Probiotics are naturally sourced from fermented foods and beverages like yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi. A supplement form can help the microbiome flourish at its highest potential.

Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids are the star component of this supplement, proven to support heart health and protect against inflammation. Research has shown taking fish oil can help lower triglycerides and may have an anti-obesity effect. To obtain it naturally, consume fatty fish, flaxseed, and various nuts and oils.

Fiber

If ever there was a magical nutrient, many health professionals may deem fiber as such. A high-fiber diet helps to: 

• Support digestion
• Promote heart health
• Lower cholesterol
• Manage weight and blood sugar
• Induce satiety

A large percentage of Americans do not get the recommended 38 grams/day, thus a fiber supplement can assist in bridging this nutrient gap.

Calcium & Vitamin D

Working synergistically, calcium and vitamin D help keep bones strong throughout the entire lifespan. Aging increases the risk of osteoporosis and falls, so adequate levels of each are imperative. 

Although these nutrients are typically included in a multivitamin, pure sources of each will be more potent, thus, effective as well.

Zinc

This nutrient is part of all cells, playing many vital roles within the body. However, the body doesn’t naturally produce zinc, meaning it must be obtained from the diet. 

As the second most abundant trace mineral behind iron, it aids in so many functions related to: 

• Metabolism
• Digestion
• Nerve function
• Development and function of immune cells
• Skin health
• DNA synthesis
• Protein production
• Body growth and development
• Taste and smell.

Zinc supplementation may also increase testosterone levels, especially in those who are deficient in the mineral.

Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is well known for its immune system boosting properties. The vitamin also functions to help protect cells, maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones, and cartilage. 

Due to the effects of this tumultuous year, nearly everyone could benefit from appropriate doses of this vitamin.

Multivitamin

A multivitamin that includes most essential vitamins and minerals (see below) can safeguard against vitamin and mineral deficiencies. 

Best Multivitamins for Men

Simply put, the best multivitamin for men will be intended for men and their specific nutrient needs. Rather than a single brand reigning better than all the rest, here is how to discern the effectiveness of multivitamin supplementation.

1. Find a multivitamin specific to men.

As briefly mentioned, multivitamins are specific to gender because each has different nutrient needs. For example, men typically do not need extra iron and too much can increase the risk of heart disease.

2. Read the label to identify ingredients.

It’s important to know exactly what a multivitamin provides- the specific vitamins, minerals, and "extras". Unfortunately, some multivitamins contain unnecessary, non-nutritive additives like fillers and refined oils.

A solid multivitamin will include essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, D, K, and a variety of B vitamins. Calcium iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc are also nutrients likely included. 

3. Look for one that supplies 100% of total daily values (DVs).

It seems natural that more of a good thing is better. However, in the case of vitamins and minerals, this is not so. 

Multivitamins that supply 100% of DVs are plenty sufficient, and taking large or mega doses is not scientifically backed and may pose health risks.

4. Look for the USP verified mark.

The USP Verified Mark provides an extra level of security by indicating the product has been tested for standard purposes on a voluntary basis. Tested indicators include:

Identity - Is the product what it claims to be?

Potency - Is it present in the right amount?

Purity - Is it free from impurities, contaminants, or other unwanted ingredients?

Performance - Will it dissolve and disintegrate in the body so the active ingredient can be absorbed?

Purchasing products marked with USP can offer peace of mind that the multivitamin has been through these procedures.

5. Consider personal nutrient needs.

Since each body is different, each body may require a different quantity and variety of nutrients. That being said, it is important to consider personal needs before selecting a supplement.

Certain populations may be more vulnerable to deficiencies or require higher needs as well. These may include:

• Those following a specific diet, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets.

• People with a nutrition-related condition, including anemia or bowel disorder.

• The senior population, especially for those over age 50.

Best Supplements for Men Over 50

The aging process leads to different nutrient needs as bodily processes change. Unfortunately, aging tends to slow body functions like digestion and muscle maintenance. Thankfully, a few certain supplements can help mitigate this and allow one to flourish no matter their age.

The following supplements show promising potential for men around the age of 50.

Glutamine and Carnitine

Although not likely to aid young, healthy men, glutamine, and carnitine may help preserve and potentially build lean muscle mass in older populations. Because maintaining muscle mass is the cornerstone of a vibrant metabolism, these amino acids can help the metabolic engine run smoothly. 

Vitamin B12

Along with digesting slower, the intestines lose some of their ability to absorb nutrients sufficiently. Vitamin B12 is one of the most affected. 

Some studies show 30 percent of adults over 50 have low B12 levels in their blood. Thus, after consulting a doctor and getting levels checked, adding B12 may be necessary. 

Coenzyme Q10

This powerhouse provides energy for the heart and helps produce ATP, the usable energy source for all cells. As the aging body decreases its ability to produce ATP due to natural aging processes, this supplement can majorly help energy levels remain high.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is correlated to a reduced risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, multiple sclerosis, certain cancers, blood pressure, obesity, and more. Because sun exposure (the most effective form of vitamin D) tends to reduce as one ages, ensure adequacy via food or supplementation.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

It’s no secret that bones and joints endure more aches and pains as one ages. Luckily, these two substances, naturally found in the body, have been shown to naturally ease some of this pain.

Overall, consult with a healthcare professional when looking for the best multivitamin for men over 50 and younger.

Best Workout Supplements

The best workout supplements will optimize a workout, before and/or after. Usually, this includes a combination of growing or maintaining muscle mass, preventing or mitigating sore muscles, and improving exercise performance.

BCAAs

Consisting of three individual amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) are critically important for muscle growth. Some research shows BCAA supplementation improves muscle gain and reduces muscle loss along with solid strength training. 

However, research is also pretty clear that persons who do not obtain enough BCAAs naturally from animal products benefit most. 

Beta-Alanine

Once again, when combined with an exercise regimen, research shows beta-alanine can reduce muscle fatigue and increase exercise performance. 

Beta-alanine is also naturally found in whole foods such as meat, poultry, and fish.

Protein Powder

Possibly the most popular workout supplement, protein powder can help achieve sufficient levels of protein. Protein powder can be a convenient and quick option to help build muscle tissue and decrease muscle soreness after a tough workout.

While possible to obtain enough protein from whole foods, some have trouble doing so for a variety of reasons. This is where protein comes to the rescue. Hundreds of protein powders exist today but the most researched and effective ones are derived from whey, casein, and soy.

In Summary

Supplementation has become quite a trendy topic. This can make it hard to discern which, if any, are necessary for an individual. 

This guide recommends specific nutrients and vitamin and mineral combinations that may benefit specific populations. However, it is always best to work alongside a qualified health professional to determine the magic combination for yourself! 

References:

Candow DG, Chilibeck PD, Burke DG, Davison KS, Smith-Palmer T. Effect of glutamine supplementation combined with resistance training in young adults. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2001;86(2):142-149.

Supplements every guy needs. Mensjournal.com. Published April 8, 2008. http://www.mensjournal.com/food-drink/supplements-every-guy-needs/.

Kubala J. Zinc: Benefits, deficiency, food sources, and side effects. Healthline.com. Published November 14, 2018. http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc.

Tinsley G. The 6 best supplements to gain muscle. Healthline.com. Published July 16, 2017. http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/supplements-for-muscle-gain.

Vitamins and minerals - Vitamin C. Nhs.uk. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-c.

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on January 27, 2021. Updated on February 10, 2021.

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