If your diet isn't exactly where you'd like it to be, you may be thinking about a multivitamin to fill in the gaps — an insurance policy, of sorts. Indeed, John La Puma, MD, board-certified specialist in internal medicine, recommends a multivitamin to his male patients who don't have a stellar diet at least 80 percent of the time.
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You should talk to your own doctor first, of course. But assuming you get the go-ahead, there are more than a few options to choose from. And you'll notice that some are labeled specifically for men or women. These vitamin formulations are based on biological sex, not gender, because people assigned male at birth (AMAB) tend to have different nutrient needs than those assigned female at birth. If you do not identify as your biological sex or are on hormone therapy, it's best to have a conversation with your doctor about which vitamin blend would be best for you.
Here, we'll take a look at the best multivitamins out there for people AMAB, and we'll use the term "men" throughout to stay close to the language used by the brands.
What to Look for in a Men's Multivitamin
Dietary supplements are not tightly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, meaning that the org doesn't ensure these products are safe or effective before they hit shelves.
Buying your vitamins from reputable brands is the number one way to make sure you're getting a safe product that actually contains the ingredients on its label. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a vitamin brand or blend:
1. Follows Good Manufacturing Practices
Your supplement bottle should indicate that it follows current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). This is what the FDA has implemented to help control the dietary supplement industry. It ensures purity and strength, and it limits contaminants in supplements.
2. Uses Third Party Testing
This basically means that the supplement is tested by someone who is not affiliated with the brand to ensure that the supplement contains what it claims, in the dosage claimed, and it breaks down appropriately in the body. Some third-party testers include U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International and NSF Certified for Sport.
3. Includes Key Nutrients
Most multivitamins will give you a proper mix of nutrients and are similar between men's and women's formulas. However, there are some key differences in men's and women's vitamins. Most notably:
- Iron: Women's vitamins will typically contain more iron than men need. Getting too much iron can be harmful for men. Remember, you will get iron from your diet, so men's multivitamin formulas will not typically contain iron — and that's OK.
- Selenium: Most supplements marketed to men have higher amounts of selenium. Research once thought that selenium lowered the risk of developing prostate cancer, but the current research on this association is inconclusive, according to the National Institutes of Health. Still, Dr. La Puma recommends selenium in your supplement to support healthy testosterone levels, so it's one to look for on the label.
- Zinc: Men have higher zinc needs than women (except for women who are pregnant or lactating), which is why men's multivitamins usually have more. You can also eat foods high in zinc like lean beef and chicken, fish, yogurt, cashews and beans. This is another nutrient recommended by Dr. La Puma to keep your immune system healthy.
1. Best Overall: Nature Made Men's Multivitamin Tablets
Nature Made is hard to beat for overall quality and price. The brand is USP third-party tested and can be found just about anywhere vitamins are sold. It checks all the boxes for the nutrients men need, including zinc, selenium and vitamin D, and no iron. It's also gluten-free for those who have special dietary needs regarding gluten.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $8.09 for 90 tablets
2. Best on a Budget: Theralogix Solo Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement
Theralogix Solo is a solid multivitamin for men who are active in work and play and need a supplement to fill in the gaps. It has both calcium and vitamin D for bone health and no iron, making it more appropriate for men.
Theralogix is also NSF certified and maintains cGMPs in their facilities. You can't beat the price for a quality third-party-tested supplement.
Buy it: Theralogix.com; Price: $19 for a 90-day supply
3. Best Vegetarian: Klean Athlete Multivitamin
These multivitamins aren't specifically marketed to men, but they do not have iron, which makes them an appropriate choice for an active male. They also contain some of the nutrients that men may want to add to their diet, including zinc, selenium and choline.
They are NSF Certified for Sport, vegetarian and gluten-free.They also contain a blend of antioxidants important for maintaining eye health.
They are a pricier option, but you can be sure that you are getting what's on the label with a reputable third-party tester.
Buy it: KleanAthlete.com; Price: $39 for a 30-day supply
4. Best Gummy: Olly The Perfect Men's Multi
Olly's men's multivitamin has the standard mix of nutrients that are compatible with a gummy vitamin and also important for men's health, including vitamin D and zinc.
Olly Men's Multi are NSF third-party tested for quality and label claims, and Olly adheres to cGMPs.
They are an affordable option for a supplement for men who may have difficulty swallowing a tablet or capsule.
Buy it: Olly.com; Price: $13.99 for 45 servings
5. Best for Over 40: Metagenics PhytoMulti Capsules
Dr. La Puma recommends Metagenics PhytoMulti capsules as a good general multivitamin for men. There's one catch with this one, though: You'll need to get a code from your doctor before you can order it online.
Metagenics is USP verified and NSF certified. This multivitamin contains all the nutrients Dr. La Puma recommends, including a more absorbable form of folate, which helps support heart health and healthy blood flow. It also contains lycopene, which Dr. La Puma recommends for a healthy heart and prostate.
Buy it: Metagenics.com (you'll need a code from your doctor to purchase)
6. Best for Over 50: Ritual Essential for Men 50+
Ritual multivitamins are also meant to supplement the diet, not be a replacement for the diet. They are specially formulated for the needs of men, most notably with increased amounts of vitamin D, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain magnesium, which is important for heart and muscle health. That's key, because we may absorb less magnesium from food as we age, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Ritual supplements follow cGMPs and are vegan and gluten-free.
Buy it: Ritual.com; Price: $35 for a 30-day supply
7. Best for Over 60: Life Extension Two-Per-Day Multivitamin
Life Extension is a good choice for mature men. It contains more vitamin D — 2,000 IU — than most multivitamins, so if you're staying inside more often or not eating fortified foods with vitamin D, this may be a good supplement for you. Vitamin D also helps your body absorb calcium, which is important to maintain good bone health.
Life Extension utilizes Consumer Labs and NSF for third-party testing and is compliant with cGMPs.
Buy it: LifeExtension.com; Price: $16.20 for a 2-month supply
A Word of Caution About Supplements
Dietary supplements should be taken with the same amount of caution as medication, even if they are not regulated as such.
As with any supplements, more is not always better. Just because a supplement contains more than the recommended daily amount (RDA) of a nutrient, that doesn't mean your body will absorb that amount. Water-soluble vitamins — B vitamins and vitamin C — won't build up in your body, so having more than 100 percent of the RDA will not yield a better result. This is not the case with higher levels of fat-soluble vitamins — vitamins D, E, K and A — which can build up in your body and cause problems.
In addition to always reading the label of your multivitamin, you should always double-check with your doctor to ensure that your choice of multivitamin will not interfere with any current medications. In addition, it's never wise to take individual vitamin or mineral supplements — iron, vitamin A or calcium, for example — without first speaking with your doctor to get the appropriate dose for your condition.
Not everyone needs to take a multivitamin. If you eat a balanced and healthy diet and have no chronic conditions, you may not need one. If you have any questions about whether a multivitamin is appropriate for you, your health care provider or a registered dietitian can help you with that decision and with finding the best one for your personal needs.
- National Institutes of Health: "Calcium"
- Harvard Medical School: "Vitamin D and Your Health: Breaking Old Rules, Raising New Hopes"
- National Institutes of Health: "Selenium"
- USP: "Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines"
- NSF Certified for Sport
- Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health: "Magnesium"
- Food & Drug Administration: "What You Need to Know about Dietary Supplements"
- USDA: "Understanding the USDA Organic Label"