You can expect a lot of changes to accompany getting older. For instance, you'll need fewer calories as you age, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — and, therefore, may also find yourself low in certain important vitamins and nutrients.
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"Both men and women over age 50 have some additional nutrition needs," says certified gerontological specialist Phyllis Famularo, RD for Sodexo North America and adjunct assistant professor at Rutgers University. With the potential exception of calcium, a healthy diet is generally the best way to get vitamins and minerals, Famularo tells LIVESTRONG.com.
However, there are a few reasons older men might want to turn to multivitamins: A restricted diet (think: avoiding some foods due to allergies or preference) can lead to not getting adequate nutrition, as can certain diseases and conditions, and the reduced ability to absorb certain key vitamins (such as vitamin B12).
Take a look at the recommended multivitamins for men over age 50, along with details on nutritional priorities and what to look for in these supplements. And, as always, speak to your doctor before adding a new supplement to your routine.
- Best Overall: Member's Mark Men 50+ Multivitamin ($42.95, Amazon.com)
- Best Budget-Friendly: Equate Complete Multivitamin 50+ ($12.98, Walmart.com)
- Best for Vitamin D: Nature Made Multi for Him ($13.31, Amazon.com)
- Best Gummy: SmartyPants Men’s Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin ($22.98, Amazon.com)
- Best Vegetarian: MegaFood, Men Over 55 One Daily ($28.77, Amazon.com)
- Best Daily: One A Day Men's 50 Plus Advantage Multi-Vitamins ($27.25, Amazon.com)
- Best for Vitamin B12: Centrum Silver Multivitamin for Men 50 Plus ($17.44, Amazon.com)
1. Best Overall: Member's Mark Men 50+ Multivitamin
This is a top pick for men over age 50 in an April 2020 review of multivitamins and supplements from ConsumerLab, an organization that independently tests health and nutritional products.
The review notes it contains vitamins and minerals that older men need, including more vitamin D and vitamin B12 than the RDA. This tab should be taken with food once a day.
Member's Mark Men 50+ Multivitamin ($42.95, Amazon.com)
2. Best Budget-Friendly: Equate Complete Multivitamin 50+
The cost of taking a multivitamin daily can add up. Each of these pills is less than 3 cents. It's a top pick for adults who are over age 50 in the ConsumerLab multivitamins review.
It does not contain iron — most people get all the iron they need from food, and older adults may be likely to have too much iron, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). This daily supplement has 1,000 IU of vitamin D (125 percent of your DV) and some potassium and calcium, although not enough to meet your RDA for these two important nutrients.
Equate Complete Multivitamin 50+ ($12.98, Walmart.com)
3. Best for Vitamin D: Nature Made Multi for Him
This penny-sized multivitamin is a top pick for men in the ConsumerLab review and comes with 1,000 IU of vitamin D (or 125 percent of your RDA), which is a very important vitamin for older men.
"As with older women, older men also have an increased risk of osteoporosis," Famularo notes.
Adults age 50 and older should get between 800 and 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), which notes that this vitamin helps keep bones strong and with calcium absorption. It also has 160 milligrams of calcium, which is 12 percent of your RDA.
Nature Made Men's Multi ($13.31, Amazon.com)
4. Best Gummy: SmartyPants Men’s Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin
Most daily vitamins are far from petite. If you struggle to swallow giant-sized pills, a chewable option is ideal — except that manufacturing gummy vitamins is a tricky task, according to the ConsumerLab review. That means the amounts listed on the nutrition panel often don't match what's actually in the gummy, leading experts to often recommend against them.
"Some manufacturers seem to have figured out how to do it right," when it comes to gummies, ConsumerLab notes, name-checking SmartyPants.
A serving size of this multivitamin is 6 gummies, which contains 200 percent of your vitamin D RDA as well as significant amounts of vitamins A, C and E.
SmartyPants Men’s Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin ($22.98, Amazon.com)
5. Best Vegetarian: MegaFood Men Over 55 One Daily
If you follow a vegetarian diet, you don't want to introduce animal-based foods into your diet through a daily supplement. This multivitamin from MegaFood is vegetarian and both dairy- and soy-free, per the manufacturer.
It's made using real foods, like orange and cranberry, and contains 208 percent of your RDA of B12.
MegaFood Men Over 55 One Daily ($28.77, Amazon.com)
6. Best Daily: One A Day Men's 50 Plus Advantage Multi-Vitamins
Just as the name indicates, taking these multivitamins is a once-a-day occasion. That's helpful, as some multis require you to take them several times a day, making it easy to accidentally skip taking some.
This vitamin doesn't provide your full RDA of vitamin D but it comes close with 700 IU (or 88 percent RDA), and a start to your calcium and magnesium intake.
One A Day Men's 50 Plus Advantage Multivitamins ($27.25, Amazon.com)
7. Best for Vitamin B12: Centrum Silver Multivitamin for Men 50 Plus
This multivitamin contains 125 percent of the DV for vitamin D and more than 4,000 percent of the DV for vitamin B12. It also offers some calcium and magnesium, as well as folate and vitamins C and E.
Centrum Silver Multivitamin for Men 50 Plus ($17.44, Amazon.com)
What to Look for in a Multivitamin
Everyone needs to get a variety of essential nutrients on a daily basis, but your body may not absorb certain nutrients as well when you're older. Here are some of the vitamins and minerals that are particularly important for older men.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Together, calcium and vitamin D help maintain the health of your bones, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Men between 51 and 70 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day; if you're older than 70, you need 1,200 milligrams per day, per the ODS. Adults also need 15 to 20 micrograms (600 to 800 IU) of vitamin D per day, according to the ODS.
It's more challenging for older adults to absorb vitamin B12, which is critical for the health of your body's cells and nervous system. It's possible for older adults to obtain this vitamin from fortified foods like some cereals, per the ODS. Supplements are another option. The RDA for this vitamin is 2.4 micrograms.
Sufficient potassium intake can help reduce high blood pressure and improve heart health, per the Linus Pauling Institute. It may also help reduce bone loss with age, according to Michigan Medicine. Adults should have 4,700 milligrams of potassium on a daily basis, per Michigan Medicine.
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that is important for muscle and nerve function, as well as blood sugar regulation, according to the ODS. Older men should get 420 milligrams of this mineral per day, per the National Institute on Aging. However, older adults don't absorb magnesium as easily as younger adults — men over 70 are particularly likely to be deficient in this nutrient.
You can also get the mineral from magnesium-rich foods, such as leafy greens, legumes, nuts and seeds.
How to Know if You Need a Multivitamin
Most healthy adults don't need multivitamins. Your best bet is to get essential vitamins and minerals from foods, Harvard Health Publishing recommends.
But that can become a more challenging task with age for several reasons. For instance, as you get older, you'll need fewer calories, and that can make meeting your nutritional needs more challenging — that is, getting the vitamins you need may be easier if you're eating more. Multivitamins can be helpful if you're not eating fruits and vegetables on a daily basis or have a limited diet, per the Mayo Clinic. So if you struggle to get enough calories or have nutritional deficiencies, a multi may be a good solution.
Plus, aging can affect your ability to smell and taste, making food less appealing, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Medications may affect food's flavor or your hunger levels.
Diseases and conditions can also prompt the need to take a multi, Famularo says. "Any health condition that prevents consuming a healthy diet might be a rationale to take a multivitamin supplement — cancer, recent pneumonia and any other illness that might prevent adequate intakes," she says. Multivitamins are also particularly useful for older adults who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Nutrition for Older Adults"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Do You Need a Daily Supplement?"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Special Nutrient Needs of Older Adults"
- National Institute on Aging: "Vitamins and Minerals for Older Adults"
- National Institutes of Health: "Magnesium Fact Sheet for Consumers"
- British Nutrition Foundation: "Older Adults"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Should You Take 'Senior' Multivitamins?"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Do Multivitamins Make You Healthier?"
- JAMA: "Multivitamins in the Prevention of Cancer in Men: The Physicians' Health Study II Randomized Controlled Trial"
- Stroke: "Multivitamin Use and Risk of Stroke Mortality"
- Mayo Clinic: "Take Vitamin Supplements With Caution: Some May Actually Cause Harm"
- ConsumerLabs: "Multivitamin and Multimineral Supplements Review"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Iron"
- National Osteoporosis Foundation: "Calcium and Vitamin D"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "How Many Calories Do Adults Need?"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Calcium"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin D"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin B12"
- Linus Pauling Institute: "Micronutrients for Older Adults"
- Michigan Medicine: "Getting Enough Potassium"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Magnesium"