Supplements for Men: What You Need to Know

Supplements for Men: What You Need to Know

Men have unique health and nutritional needs compared to women. The right supplements can help men fill nutritional gaps, build muscle, boost testosterone, and support overall health. However, with so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to figure out which supplements are essential.

This comprehensive guide will explore the top supplements for men to support fitness goals, heart health, sexual performance, and more.

What are Supplements?

Before diving into specific supplements, it's helpful to understand exactly what supplements are.

Supplements are products taken orally to enhance health and address nutritional deficiencies. They can contain vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and more.

While supplements should not replace a healthy diet, they can fill nutritional gaps that even a balanced diet misses. High quality supplements from reputable brands can provide therapeutic doses of nutrients.

Always talk to a doctor before taking supplements, especially if you take medications or have health conditions. Some supplements can interact with medications or be inappropriate for certain people.

Now let's explore some of the top categories of supplements for men.


A multivitamin is a good nutritional insurance policy for most men. High quality multivitamins are formulated specifically for men's needs. They provide a wide spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals that support several aspects of men's health.

Why Men Need a Multivitamin

According to a large study published in the Journal of Nutrition, a significant percentage of men don't get recommended amounts of critical vitamins and minerals from diet alone. Key nutrients men are often deficient in include:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium

Being deficient in these nutrients can negatively impact energy, immunity, heart health, brain function, and more. A multivitamin helps fill common nutritional gaps.

Men also need higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals compared to women, especially as they age. Key nutrients men need more of include:

  • Vitamin B12: Supports nerve function, energy, heart health, and brain function.
  • Zinc: Bolsters immunity and testosterone levels.
  • Lycoprene: An antioxidant that benefits prostate health.
  • Boron: Supports bone strength and muscle growth.

High quality men's multivitamins are specifically formulated with appropriate levels of these critical nutrients.

Choosing a Quality Men's Multivitamin

When shopping for a daily multivitamin, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Opt for capsules. Tablets contain binders and fillers to hold the shape. Capsules are often more pure.
  • Avoid megadoses. Get 100% of recommended daily values, not 500%. Megadoses can cause toxicity.
  • Don't buy on price alone. Higher quality supplements cost more to manufacture. Don't shop by price.
  • Check expiration dates. Vitamin potency fades over time. Don't buy close-dated products.
  • Consider 3rd party testing. Look for seals from testing organizations like USP or NSF.
  • Avoid artificial ingredients. Steer clear of dyes, synthetic flavors, or sweeteners.
  • Read the label carefully. Ensure proper dosing for men's increased needs.

With a quality men's multivitamin, you can nourish your body with a balanced nutritional foundation.

Protein Powders

Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. It also supports satiety and metabolism. Protein powders provide a convenient way to boost daily protein intake.

Whey, casein, egg, soy, pea and hemp proteins are all options. The type you choose depends on your needs and preferences.

Top 5 Benefits of Protein Powder

Taking protein powder, especially after workouts, offers many benefits for men:

  1. Builds Muscle: Protein provides amino acids that build and repair muscle fibers broken down by exercise.
  2. Fuels Recovery: The amino acids in protein help rebuild muscle tissue after demanding workouts.
  3. Promotes Satiety: Protein increases hormone levels to help you feel fuller longer between meals.
  4. Supports Weight Loss: Boosting protein can help men maintain a healthy body composition during weight loss.
  5. Improves Athletic Performance: More protein allows athletes to train harder, build strength and power.

Types of Protein Powder

With so many protein powders available, it helps to understand the major categories:

  • Whey: Fast-digesting and rich in amino acids. Great post-workout.
  • Casein: Slow-digesting. Ideal before bed to supply amino acids as you sleep.
  • Egg: Quickly digested. Also contains healthy fats. Can be pricey.
  • Soy: Plant-based option that contains all essential amino acids. Avoid if you have soy allergy.
  • Pea: Made from yellow split peas. Vegan source lacking in one amino acid.
  • Hemp: Contains omega-3s and omega-6s. Easily digested but low in protein content per serving.

Whey and casein are the most popular protein powders due to their high amino acid content. But vegan options like soy and pea can also support muscle growth.

Choosing a Protein Powder

Focus on the following when selecting a protein powder:

  • Protein source: Whey and casein are highest quality, plant-based work for vegans.
  • Protein per serving: Aim for 20-25 grams of protein per scoop.
  • Purity: Select a powder that contains just protein without lots of added sugars or fillers.
  • Mixability: Ensure it blends smoothly into shakes without clumping.
  • Taste: Savor the flavor - avoid artificial sweeteners or dyes.
  • Cost per serving: Calculate cost per gram of protein rather than cost per container.

With a high-quality protein powder, it's easy to boost your daily protein to build lean muscle mass.


Creatine is one of the most well-researched and popular supplements for muscle growth and performance. This naturally occurring compound is also found in foods like meat and fish.

How Creatine Works

Our muscles use adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for energy. ATP stores are limited though. Creatine helps regenerate ATP stores, providing muscles more energy to push harder during high intensity exercise.

Creatine also draws more water into muscle cells. This helps signal muscle growth and amplifies muscle pumps during training.

Top 5 Benefits of Creatine

Here are some of the evidence-based ways creatine can benefit men:

  1. Builds Muscle: Creatine boosts strength output so you can lift more weight and build more muscle mass.
  2. Increases Power: By providing more ATP energy, creatine allows you to train with greater power and intensity.
  3. Enhances Recovery: The increased water in muscle cells helps deliver nutrients that aid recovery.
  4. Improves Brain Function: Creatine may boost brain power and help certain mental health conditions like depression.
  5. Strengthens Bones: Some research shows creatine can help build bone mineral density.

Creatine is one of the most scientifically proven supplements for muscle gains. It's widely used by male athletes and bodybuilders.

Is Creatine Safe?

When taken as recommended, creatine is well-tolerated and safe for most men. The most common side effect is temporary water weight gain from increased muscle cell hydration.

Creatine is not recommended for adolescent boys under 18 years old unless advised by a doctor. It does not adversely affect testosterone or hormone levels in men.

To maximize performance and muscle building results from creatine, it's essential to pair supplementation with proper exercise training.

Omega-3 Fish Oils

Omega-3 fatty acids provide a long list of health benefits for men. Fish oil supplements are the most common source of these healthy fats.

The omega-3s EPA and DHA found in fish oil support heart health, brain function, skin health, joint support, and more.

Top 5 Benefits of Fish Oil for Men

Here are some of the top researched benefits that fish oil supplements provide:

  1. Heart Health: Omega-3s reduce inflammation, lower triglycerides, and decrease risk of heart disease.
  2. Brain Function: DHA boosts cognition, memory, focus, and helps mood disorders.
  3. Skin Health: EPA improves skin hydration and reduces sun damage and acne.
  4. Joint Support: Omega-3s lubricate joints and reduce inflammatory arthritis symptoms.
  5. Male Infertility: Omega-3s improve sperm health parameters like motility and morphology.

For men over 50, the American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice per week or taking fish oil supplements.

Choosing a Quality Fish Oil

With so many fish oil brands available, it's essential to know what to look for in a quality supplement. Here are some buying tips:

  • Look for EPA/DHA. Opt for a fish oil with a high concentration of these active omega-3s.
  • Avoid rancidity. Only buy fish oil brands that use purity testing and encapsulation to prevent rancidity.
  • Consider sustainability. Look for brands that harvest fish in ecologically friendly ways.
  • Read labels carefully. Ensure proper dosing - around 1000 mg combined EPA/DHA per day.
  • Research purity. Select brands that follow good manufacturing and purification practices.

Pairing a fish oil supplement with eating fatty fish regularly provides anti-inflammatory omega-3s that support overall health and wellness.

Vitamin D3

Known as the "sunshine vitamin", vitamin D is absolutely essential for men's health. It performs many crucial roles beyond just bone health.

Unfortunately, deficiency is extremely common - an estimated 1 billion people worldwide don't get enough. Supplementing with Vitamin D3 can help men maintain healthy levels.

What Does Vitamin D Do?

Vitamin D impacts several aspects of men's health:

  • Bone health: Helps the body absorb calcium to build strong bones.
  • Immunity: Activates immune cells to fight off pathogens.
  • Heart health: Reduces inflammation and risk factors for heart disease.
  • Muscle function: Necessary for muscles to contract and generate force.
  • Mood: Impacts serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters that affect mood.
  • Hormones: Low vitamin D is linked to low testosterone in men.

Am I Deficient?

Because few foods contain vitamin D, deficiency is very common without sun exposure or supplementation.

Factors that increase the risk of low vitamin D include:

  • Having dark skin. Melanin reduces vitamin D production.
  • Living in northern latitudes with less sun exposure.
  • Being overweight. Vitamin D gets sequestered in fat cells.
  • Being older. Vitamin D absorption decreases with age.
  • Regular use of sunscreen. Sunscreen blocks UVB rays needed to produce vitamin D.

Blood testing can confirm vitamin D status. Optimal levels are between 50-80 ng/mL. Under 30 ng/mL is deficient.

Supplementing with Vitamin D3

To raise low levels, most men require 2000-5000 IU supplemental vitamin D3 per day. D3 (cholecalciferol) is preferable to D2.

Look for a vitamin D supplement that provides D3 in oil in a softgel. This optimizes absorption compared to a tablet.

With regular supplementation, men can reap the many health benefits of adequate vitamin D for immunity, bones, muscles, mood, heart health, and hormone balance.


Zinc is an essential trace mineral that plays a diverse role in men's health. It supports immunity, testosterone levels, prostate health, and over 100 enzymatic processes.

Studies show that a concerning number of people - up to 45% of the population - gets inadequate zinc from diet. Supplementation may be warranted.

Why Men Need Zinc

Some of the reasons why zinc is particularly important for men include:

  • Prostate health: Zinc is concentrated in the prostate and seminal fluid. It prevents prostate enlargement.
  • Testosterone production: Zinc deficiency reduces testosterone levels and sperm health.
  • Reproductive health: Zinc supports male fertility by protecting sperm and testosterone.
  • ** Athletic performance:** Zinc aids muscle repair and raises anabolic hormone levels.
  • Immune function: Zinc supports T cell immunity against pathogens.

Zinc also enhances recovery from injuries and wounds. Many of the enzymes that facilitate healing require zinc.

Food Sources of Zinc

The RDA for zinc is 11 mg per day for men. Good dietary sources include:

  • Oysters (74 mg per serving)
  • Beef (7 mg per serving)
  • Pumpkin seeds (7 mg per 1oz)
  • Spinach (1 mg per 1/2 cup)
  • Beans (1-2 mg per 1/2 cup)

However, the bioavailability of zinc from plant sources is lower than from animal foods.

Supplementing with Zinc

Since getting sufficient zinc from food sources can be a challenge, supplementation may be beneficial. The tolerable upper limit is 40 mg per day.

When selecting a zinc supplement, opt for zinc gluconate, citrate or acetate. Avoid zinc oxide as it is poorly absorbed. Zinc picolinate may be the best absorbed form.

Be sure to balance zinc intake with copper, as high doses of zinc can deplete copper status. A supplement providing zinc with copper is ideal.

Saw Palmetto for Prostate Health

As men age, they require more prostate support. The herb saw palmetto provides a safe, natural way to take care of prostate health.

Studies show saw palmetto can improve urinary symptoms linked to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It may also support prostate health in other ways.

How Saw Palmetto Works

Saw palmetto contains fatty acids and plant sterols that have several beneficial mechanisms of action:

  • Blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT. DHT contributes to prostate enlargement.
  • Prevents testosterone from binding to prostate cells, reducing growth effects.
  • Exerts anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is linked to prostate diseases.
  • Helps relax smooth muscle tissue in the prostate and urethra.

This herb has been used traditionally for centuries to support prostate health and urinary flow. Today it's one of the most popular supplements among older men.

Using Saw Palmetto for BPH

Benign prostatic hyperplasia causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms that disrupt sleep and quality of life. Research shows saw palmetto can help:

  • A trial of over 1700 men found saw palmetto reduced nighttime urinary frequency after 90 days of use.
  • Multiple reviews conclude saw palmetto significantly improves urine flow rate and symptoms compared to a placebo.
  • Saw palmetto provides urinary symptom relief comparable to prescription medications like finasteride, without side effects.

Saw palmetto is safe to take long term. It may also help with chronic prostatitis. Always talk to your doctor before discontinuing BPH medications.


Magnesium is an essential dietary mineral involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body. Research shows many men don't get adequate magnesium.

Supplementing with magnesium provides benefits for heart health, sleep quality, stress management, workout performance, and more.

Why Men May Need More Magnesium

Some reasons why magnesium needs are higher for men include:

  • Athletic demands: Magnesium is lost in sweat. Male athletes require more replacement.
  • Cardiovascular health: Men have higher rates of heart disease and hypertension that deplete magnesium.
  • Stress: The hormones cortisol and adrenaline increase magnesium excretion.
  • Alcohol consumption: Alcohol increases urinary magnesium wasting.
  • Medications: Drugs like diuretics and antibiotics disrupt magnesium reabsorption.

Higher needs plus inadequate dietary intake sets the stage for deficiency.

Top 5 Benefits of Magnesium

Here are some of the evidence-based benefits men can get from optimizing magnesium intake:

  1. Heart health: Magnesium reduces blood pressure, plaque formation, and heart disease mortality.
  2. Energy: Magnesium is needed to produce ATP energy. Deficiency causes fatigue.
  3. Muscle performance: Magnesium supports muscular contraction and strength.
  4. Sleep: Magnesium helps relax muscles and nerves, allowing deeper sleep.
  5. Stress resilience: Magnesium blunts elevations of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

Magnesium supplements can help men address deficiencies and attain these benefits.

Supplementing with Magnesium

The RDA for magnesium is 420 mg per day for adult men. Supplement doses range from 200-400 mg.

Magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate provide good bioavailability with fewer laxative effects. Avoid magnesium oxide as it is poorly absorbed.

Take magnesium supplements with food to minimize side effects. Spread doses throughout the day.

Pairing magnesium supplements with a diet high in magnesium-rich foods like nuts, seeds, leafy greens, beans and avocado ensures optimal status.

Ashwagandha for Stress Management

The Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha has been used for millennia to enhance vitality and longevity. Modern research confirms its ability to help men manage stress.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb. This means it helps normalize the damaging effects of stress and restore balance to mind and body.

How Ashwagandha Works

Research reveals some mechanisms behind ashwagandha's stress-relieving abilities:

Top 5 Benefits of Ashwagandha

Here are some of the top evidence-based benefits ashwagandha provides for men:

  1. Reduces cortisol: Ashwagandha blocks stress pathways in the brain and lowers cortisol levels.
  2. Improves stress resilience: Taking ashwagandha for 2-3 months reduces perceived stress scores.
  3. Increases testosterone: Ashwagandha has been shown to boost testosterone and improve male fertility.
  4. Enhances muscle growth: The herb supports exercise recovery, endurance, and increased muscle mass.
  5. Supports brain health: Ashwagandha may improve cognition, memory, and even neurodegenerative diseases.

By nourishing the nervous system and adrenal glands, ashwagandha helps men thrive in the face of physical, mental and emotional stressors.

Is Ashwagandha Safe?

Ashwagandha is very safe when taken as directed. Sourced from reputable suppliers, it contains no stimulants.

Potential side effects are mild and uncommon but may include headache, abdominal pain or drowsiness.

Ashwagandha has a long history of traditional use as an anti-aging tonic for both men and women. It does not alter hormone levels when taken in moderation by healthy adults.

To manage stress and increase energy, men can take 500-600 mg capsules of high-concentration ashwagandha root extract each day. It may take two months to see the full adaptogenic benefits.


Boron is a trace mineral with diverse roles in men's health. Though research on boron is still emerging, studies suggest it can support bone strength, brain function, and testosterone levels.

Boron is found in certain fruits and vegetables. Supplements provide convenient access to therapeutic doses.

Why Men May Need Boron

Here are some reasons why boron is especially important for men:

  • Builds stronger bones: Boron increases bone density and strength better than calcium alone. Older men need this.
  • Boosts testosterone: Boron acts as a building block for sex hormones like testosterone.
  • Enhances cognition: Animal studies show boron improves brain electrical activity and cognition.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Boron helps regulate inflammatory cytokines. This protects joints, the prostate and the heart.
  • Supports muscle growth: Some research finds boron helps increase lean body mass.

Men over 50 should pay special attention to boron intake, as levels decline with age. Supplements can help bridge the gap.

Benefits of Boron Supplements

Here are some of the key benefits that research has linked to boron supplementation:

  • Raised testosterone: Studies show daily boron can increase free testosterone in older men by up to 29%.
  • Improved bone density: Boron supplements significantly improve bone density over time, especially in postmenopausal women.
  • Cognitive gains: Studies demonstrate short-term boron supplementation mildly improves attention, visual perception and cognitive performance.
  • Reduced inflammation: Boron helps regulate inflammatory factors like hsCRP, TNF-a, and IL-6.

Though more research is still needed, these findings are promising. Boron's role in supporting men's health deserves further exploration.

Supplementing with Boron

While toxic overdoses are nearly impossible, it's unwise to exceed the upper limit of 20 mg per day from supplements.

Doses of 3-6 mg per day are commonly used in studies. This amount seems sufficient to provide benefits without going over the limit.

Look for boron glycinate for better absorption. Avoid consuming for long stretches without cycling off periodically.

Boron can be stacked safely with other supplements like magnesium, vitamin D3 and zinc that also support men's health.


The right supplements tailored to men's unique health needs can make a significant difference.

Top supplements for men provide key nutrients for overall health, vitality and performance. They help shore up diet gaps, protect major organs, and support muscle building, testosterone, and energy levels.

Always talk to your doctor before taking any new supplement, especially if you take medications or have a medical condition. With professional guidance, supplements are a safe, natural way to thrive and feel your best.


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