The Gummies Don't Cut It: Men's Multivitamins For Adults.

Multivitamins: The Good, The Bad, and the Gummy

Multivitamins are a staple in most folks' medicine cabinets. They're a simple and convenient way to take in a large percentage of your necessary daily nutrients in a single dose. 

But are they actually worth it? 

Spoiler alert: yeah, some multivitamins are quite good and probably worth the investment as long as you're also eating a well-rounded diet and getting a decent level of activity. 

Let's dive in and break down what to look for in a multivitamin, types of daily multivitamins, and who should be taking a daily multivitamin. 

What To Look For In A Daily Multivitamin

Any time we discuss any category of nutritional supplements, we like to always start by establishing a baseline. Supplements cannot take the place of real food– your diet should be your first line of defense in getting enough of your necessary daily nutrients. Multivitamins, like any supplement, can help fill in gaps and function as insurance against stress and dietary inconsistency.

With that reminder out of the way, we can take a closer look at multivitamins and what you should look for in a multivitamin. 

Check Your Label For These Components As A Base Level

Your multivitamin should prioritize the vitamins and minerals that your body requires but which you may have trouble getting adequate amounts of on a daily basis. In particular, I recommend ensuring that your multivitamin contains:

  1. Vitamin-D. Vitamin-D, theoretically, should be fairly easy for us to get on a daily basis since our bodies can synthesize it via sunlight exposure. However, it is estimated that 40% of Americans do not get adequate sun exposure on a daily basis. On top of that, it's hard to come by in foods, which is why you often see milk products labeled as being fortified with Vitamin-D. Vitamin-D plays an important role in helping your body absorb and process calcium, which is necessary for bone strength and density.
  2. Magnesium. Magnesium is another essential nutrient that plays an important role in bone health, and also has an effect on energy production and digestive health. Foods like spinach, pumpkin, tofu, and Brazil nuts contain decent amounts of magnesium, but if these foods aren't very prominent in your diet, you probably need more magnesium.
  3. Calcium. Once again, a nutrient necessary for bone health should be present in your multivitamins. Calcium is vital for bone and tooth health, but nearly half of Americans do not get enough calcium from food alone on a daily basis. 
  4. Iron. Iron is another nutrient that's essential to your overall health– notably in hemoglobin production– but it can be hard to get adequate amounts through diet alone. Red meat is generally your best source of food-based iron, but vegans, vegetarians, people who are menstruating, and people who are going through puberty are at greater risks of iron deficiencies. 
  5. B-Vitamin Complex. Each of the B-Vitamins play an important role in your overall health, so a multivitamin containing a B-Vitamin complex is ideal. In particular, it's recommended to seek out vitamin supplements that are rich in vitamins B8, B9, and B12. B8 and B9 are biotin and folate respectively, and both are necessary for healthful skin, metabolic responses, and enzyme production. B12 plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and the production of DNA.

Often, men's multivitamin supplements will contain these ingredients plus other vitamins and minerals. The presence of other nutrients shouldn't be a deterrent or red flag as long as the dosages aren't hidden behind proprietary blends and the above nutrients are present in decent quantities.

Specialized men's Daily Multivitamins

In addition to covering your core nutritional bases, there are multivitamins that are designed to support specific functions, lifestyles, and needs. 

Active Lifestyle/ Sport Multivitamins

One of the most common subcategories of daily multivitamins is the sport or active lifestyle multivitamin. These are broad-spectrum multivitamins that cover the same core nutrients as regular multivitamins, but they also often include higher levels of B-Vitamins for energy production alongside trace minerals that function as electrolytes. 

Pros

The added bump of B-Vitamins can help you sustain greater energy levels over long workouts. You can also find active multivitamins that contain BCAAs and other essential amino acids

Cons

A lot of standard multivitamins already contain close to 100% of your daily recommended amount of B-vitamins. If you're not reading the nutrition facts closely, you run the risk of paying extra for the "sport" label without actually getting any significant added benefit. 

Men's 50+ Multivitamins

As we age, our body's needs evolve. Many multivitamin lines now make a men's 50+ option. But, I'm going to let you in on a little secret...

You don't have to be 50 or older to take these multivitamins. 

Usually, the 50+ multivitamins are calibrated to include more nutrients that are associated with heart health, eye health, prostate health, and bone health. Regardless of your age– and especially if you have a family history of medical issues in any of these areas– 50+ multivitamins may be an okay option for you.

However, if you're still in your 20s or 30s and preventative care is your main concern, a well-rounded diet, moderate to high activity level,  stress management, and plenty of sleep will do more to protect you in terms of preventative care. 

Pros

You can get a single multivitamin that contains nutrients thought to affect core health metrics associated with aging. 

Cons

Sometimes the "silver" lines or 50+ options for multivitamins are priced higher than standard multivitamins.

Joint Support MultiVitamins

As far as the subcategories of multivitamins are concerned, joint support multivitamins are probably my personal favorite. 

This category of multivitamins generally combines a standard, all-purpose multivitamin with a glucosamine or similar compound, as well as higher concentrations of the nutrients that play a key role in connective tissue health. 

Joints, bones, and connective tissues are vital for maintaining movement capacity. Active folks are at a higher risk of experiencing inflammation or injury associated with overuse of their joints (especially if you lift with improper form!). As a result, multivitamins that highlight joint and bone health may be a better option for active individuals than the "sport" or "active lifestyle" options. 

What About Gummy VItamins?

I don't mean to be intentionally boring or a party-pooper, but if you're still taking gummy vitamins, it's time to upgrade them once you finish your current bottle. 

This isn't some claim about masculinity and needing to take "manly" (whatever that means) supplements. Instead, because of the way gummy vitamins are produced, it can be incredibly difficult for manufacturers to verify that each dose contains the amounts of each listed nutrient. Additionally, they often contain relatively high levels of sugar and artificial flavorings compared to tablets, pills, and powders. 

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