A multivitamin for men over 50 is one that addresses the specific nutritional needs of older men. While the difference between these and other multivitamins is not dramatic they do take into account certain physiological factors.
For instance, many vitamins for older men either have no iron or a reduced amount of iron. That’s because it is believed that taking too much iron may contribute to diabetes, heart disease or cancer in older men. Also, the amount of vitamin E is typically increased because of its ability to enhance memory and immune function.
Some multivitamins for older men will also increase the amount of B12 (which aids in memory and red blood cell production). That’s because the older you get the less B12 you are able to absorb via your normal diet. And selenium is often included due to its ability to promote prostate health. We examined dozens of different multivitamins before deciding on these, the 10 best multivitamins for men over 50.
1. Nature’s Way Alive Once Daily Men’s 50+
Nature’s Way brings their reputation for quality and substance to the table with their Alive Once Daily Men’s 50+ multivitamin. It’s loaded with antioxidants, brimming with B-vitamins and rich in key minerals that aid in prostate health and cognitive function. There are more expensive men’s 50+ multivitamins out there but you’d be hard pressed to find better.
What we like: The company has gone to great lengths to cover all the nutritional bases for older guys. We like that. We appreciate that they load you up with vitamins A, C, E and B12 and that each tablet is rich in antioxidants. The fact that they throw in selenium also indicates they’ve done their homework.
Flaws: Includes the amino acid phenylalanine. As such, if you are taking diabetes or high blood pressure meds consult your doctor before taking this multivitamin.
2. Centrum Silver Men 50+
In the vitamin space it’s impossible to get around Centrum. And in this case there’s no reason to. Their Silver Men 50+ multivitamin is rich in vitamin D for healthy bones, contains lots of vitamin C and other antioxidants and provides generous amounts of potassium, zinc and magnesium for prostate health and overall energy.
What we like: We appreciate Centrum’s rock-solid reputation for quality. We like that this supplement is antioxidant rich and that there’s lots of B12 and vitamin A. We also appreciate that they’ve kept the formula simple and focused.
Flaws: The tiny smattering of calcium is a bit of a head scratcher. And there’s no way to sugar coat the fact that these are big pills. So take with lots of water.
3. One-a-Day Men’s 50+
One-a-Day Men’s 50+ is a full-service multivitamin for older guys. It’s designed to provide energy, address memory issues, provide a defense against free radicals that destroy cells and bolster prostate health. It’s also mindful that adding iron isn’t such a good idea. And that older guys could often use a shot of zinc.
What we like: Includes lots of vitamin C, D and B12. That’s good. Plus there’s selenium for prostate health and plenty of magnesium to boost physical performance. We appreciate that they’ve left out the iron and that there’s a fair amount of calcium.
Flaws: Like some of the other big brand names these are not exactly cheap. And there’s not quite as much vitamin A and vitamin E as we’d like to see.
4. Nature Made Men’s Multi 50+
Nature Made Men’s Multi 50+ offers a smart combination of vitamins and minerals designed to address the specific needs of older guys. That includes copious amounts of B12 to help boost energy and enhance memory. Along with key minerals like selenium, zinc and copper.
What we like: We like that they touch all the important vitamin bases (A, C, D, E and the B-vitamins). We appreciate that they didn’t overlook the selenium or zinc and that the tablets are fairly easy to swallow. We also tip our cap to them for the extra copper, as that mineral is important in treating osteoarthritis.
Flaws: Vitamin A content is a little less than ideal. And, although we appreciate them lathering on the B12 it’s doubtful you’ll ever need anything close to what they provide.
5. Rainbow Light Men’s One Multivitamin
Rainbow Light earned a place on our list by virtue of the outstanding balance they bring to their Men’s One Multivitamin. Though not marketed specifically as a 50+ multi it nonetheless manages to satisfy most all the requirements. And does so while retaining its vegetarian credibility.
What we like: We appreciate that there is plenty of vitamin A, C and D in this supplement. All important for older guys. And we like that they have not used genetically modified organisms (GMOs) at any point in the sourcing process. It’s also a plus that there are no artificial ingredients of any kind included.
Flaws: In their attempt to be all things to all men they include a ‘Vitality Blend’ that includes caffeine in the form of green tea leaf. Be aware.
6.GNC Mega Men 50 Plus
In typical GNC fashion their Mega Men 50 Plus multivitamin is well researched and overloaded with important nutrients. They address the needs of older guys to get a bit more B12 than others. And they don’t shy away from providing help for memory, prostate, immune system health and cardiovascular health.
What we like: We like the fact that this supplement is antioxidant rich and that there is plenty of selenium and saw palmetto for prostate health. We also note that it includes more calcium than just about any other men’s vitamin. And that, unique among our listed multivitamins, it includes a bit of fish oil to help with memory.
Flaws: Not for vegetarians as it contains fish byproducts. Also if you are soybean intolerant be aware it contains that as well.
7. Garden of Life Multivitamin for Men
This is one of the few mainstream vitamin companies that produces certified vegetarian supplements. But they don’t use that as a crutch to excuse shortfalls. Instead, they find useful sources of important nutrients and bring them together in these multifaceted, easy to swallow tablets.
What we like: This is a well-rounded supplement for older men that hits most (not all) of the nutritional bases. Besides the vitamins and minerals they include numerous probiotics for digestive health and lycopene for prostate health. GoL supplements are gluten and dairy-free, and free of genetically modified organisms.
Flaws: They seem to have forgotten about magnesium and potassium. And instead put all their energy into a ‘vegetable blend’ of questionable value.
8. Vimerson Health Men’s Daily Multivitamin
Vimerson is not exactly a household name but don’t let that dissuade you from giving them a try. Their Men’s Daily Multivitamin is not specifically targeted at the 50+ crowd but it hits that bullseye anyway. On top of touching all the important nutrient bases it’s also free of common food allergens and loaded with beneficial antioxidants.
What we like: We appreciate that they’ve put the focus on antioxidants and that there’s plenty of B12 to help with things like memory. It’s nice to see plenty of vitamin D as well. Saw palmetto is also potentially useful in maintaining prostate health.
Flaws: Underwhelming amounts of vitamin A, calcium and magnesium. In addition, they boast about their proprietary blend. But that’s not really something you want to see. Also, these multis include caffeine. So be aware.
9. MegaFood Men Over 40 One Daily
MegaFood Men Over 40 One Daily addresses the specific health needs of older guys without trying to bludgeon those needs into submission. In other words there are modest amounts of a wide array of important vitamins and minerals. Those include vitamins A, C, D and B12 as well as zinc, selenium and copper.
What we like: We were attracted to this multivitamin because of its more measured approach. Rather than bombarding you with huge amounts of this vitamin or that it stays within the lines and just makes sure it touches all the bases.
Flaws: Contains nary a whiff of calcium. And the ‘nourishing food and herb blend’ is largely superfluous.
10. The Vitamin Shoppe Ultimate Man 50+ Multivitamin
Nothing revolutionary about Vitamin Shoppe Ultimate Man 50+. Instead it’s a solid performer that hits most of the nutritional beats and does so at an affordable price. It’s rich in beneficial minerals while not containing any common food allergens or genetically modified organisms.
What we like: We like the mixture of important minerals and antioxidants. We like that it contains plenty of selenium, saw palmetto and zinc for prostate health. And that it includes ginkgo biloba to help out with memory.
Flaws: It’s wanting when it comes to potassium, magnesium and calcium. And, since they recommend 3 tablets a day, it can get kind of pricey.
Do Men Over 50 Really Need a Multivitamin?
As a man ages his nutritional needs change (1) as does the ability of his body to effectively absorb nutrients. Simply drifting along without paying adequate attention to your specific nutritional needs can lead to nutrient deficiencies and an array of cascading health problems. A simple yet effective way to prevent nutritional shortfalls is the multivitamin supplement.
A good multivitamin can help fend off a loss of bone mass, loss of muscle mass and ensure you have the energy you need to meet the demands of your life. Multivitamins can also prevent free radicals from rampaging through your system, undermining your health at every turn. And there is some evidence that they can help prevent memory loss and perhaps lessen your chance of developing prostate, colon or other types of cancer. So do men over 50 really need a multivitamin? Only if they want to improve their chances of living a long happy life.
How We Ranked
Neither the FDA or any other official agency has laid down ironclad standards regarding what constitutes a multivitamin. As such, it tends to be every manufacturer for themselves. And, by extension, every customer for themselves. Nonetheless, there are certain things we want to see in a multivitamin for men over 50.
First, any decent multi for 50+ men should include antioxidants. That means vitamins C and E. We also want to see vitamin D. Why? Because vitamin D is what allows calcium to do its job strengthening your bones. And older folks really can’t afford to let their bones become weak and brittle. In addition we want to see potassium, since it is one of the most abundant minerals in the body and is involved with myriad metabolic processes. And vitamin A is important for good eyesight and other functions.
It’s also important that the multi be produced in a reputable facility, preferably in the US where the FDA has at least some oversight. And it can only help if the multivitamin also includes a generous complement of essential minerals, including magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc. Finally, we believe a good multivitamin should be priced for everyone. Not just a select few who can afford it.
Multivitamins for men over 50 can help boost their immune system. As we age our immune system trends ever downward (2), unless we take steps to arrest or at least slow this decline. Vitamins B6, C and E all provide crucial support to the immune system (3). When a healthy immune system is combined with the resistance the older man has built to certain pathogens during his lifetime, the result is a much-reduced chance of succumbing to conditions like pneumonia. Which claim the lives of so many older individuals (4).
Multivitamins for men over 50 may help prevent heart disease. Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in both men and women worldwide. In recent years evidence has emerged that multivitamins rich in antioxidants including vitamins C and E can help older men reduce the risk of developing heart disease (5). Of course, to enjoy any such benefit you will need to be a non-smoker and eat a reasonably healthy diet as well.
Multivitamins for men over 50 help fill in nutritional gaps. As men get older they often pay less attention to their nutritional needs. To make matters worse the aging body typically does not absorb nutrients with the same efficiency it did when the man was younger. And all-too-often older men on fixed incomes simply don’t want to spend extra on nutritious foods. As a result nutritional gaps can emerge because essential vitamins and minerals are not being consumed in sufficient quantities. That can lead to all manner of health problems. Multivitamins are a convenient and inexpensive way to ensure men over 50 fill in any nutrient gaps left by poor dietary habits.
Multivitamins for men over 50 can help improve memory. There are a lot of potential factors that weigh on memory. Poor circulation caused by a sedentary life can rob the brain of oxygen. This can and does affect memory. Anemia causes the number of red blood cells to plummet and this too robs the brain of oxygen and affects memory. A lack of vitamin B12 is also thought to have a negative impact on memory (6). A multivitamin can provide the B12 your brain needs, along with vitamin D to spur red blood cell production and other vitamins that provide the energy needed to counteract sedentary tendencies (7).
Multivitamins for men over 50 can help reduce overall cancer risk. While more research needs to be done recently published data suggests that multivitamins can reduce a man’s risk of developing cancer in general and prostate cancer specifically. There is also scientific evidence to suggest that multivitamin supplements can reduce the risk of colon cancer (8).
Multivitamins for men over 50 help them build stronger bones. As people age they tend to spend less time outdoors than they did in their younger years. This is understandable but it can lead to a vitamin D deficiency. That’s because the sun is a major source of vitamin D production (9). Multivitamins can offset vitamin D lost by not going outside as much. Most every men’s 50+ multivitamin on the market contains vitamin D. Many also contain calcium. That’s good because these two work together to help build stronger bones.
Multivitamins for men over 50 enhance the effectiveness of workouts. Researchers have discovered that not only is it possible for older individuals to retain muscle mass as they age, it is also possible for them to build muscle mass as they age (10). That is, it’s entirely possible to go from being overweight and out of shape at 60 to lean, muscular and highly energetic at 70. But while resistance training for older men can do wonders for their overall health they need to maintain proper nutrition. And a good multivitamin taken on a daily basis can help them do that.
Multivitamins for men over 50 boost energy levels. They do this by ensuring you continue to fulfill your nutritional needs as you age. Without proper nutrition everything from the creation of red blood cells to the creation of muscle to the ability to activate muscles begins to suffer. Since red blood cells carry the oxygen necessary to power your muscles ensuring your body is producing enough red blood cells is critical. Multivitamins can help ensure that you do that.
Multivitamins for men over 50 can help fight free radicals. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘free radicals’ suffice to say that being able to fight them is an important feature of multivitamins. Free radicals (11) are known to be one of the primary causes of cellular death and degradation which causes age-related health problems. The most effective natural defense against the scourge of free radicals is the antioxidant (12). Vitamins C and E are natural antioxidants. As such, they help prevent oxidation, which is the process that causes certain atoms to lose an electron and become ‘free radicals’.
Multivitamins for men over 50 can help improve eye health. As people age their eyesight tends to deteriorate (13). Some of this is normal. In other cases it may have something to do with a vitamin deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency for instance can lead to night blindness and other problems (14). While a shortage of vitamin B12 can lead to blurry vision (15). It may also create long term damage to the optic nerve if left untreated. The bottom line is that if you want to retain your good vision well into old age you would be wise to take a multivitamin.
Q: What are multivitamins?
A: Multivitamins are dietary supplements that provide a range of essential vitamins and minerals, typically in a tablet or capsule form. Most multivitamins are taken on a daily basis. Sometimes more than once per day, depending on the recommendation of the manufacturer. Any supplement that includes 2 or more vitamins can rightly claim to be a multivitamin. Most, however, contain far more than that. With some containing 2 or 3 dozen different vitamins, minerals and other complementary nutrients, probiotics and the like. Most multivitamins are available over the counter or over the internet without a prescription. Taken as a whole multivitamins constitute the largest segment of the supplement industry.
Q: Do multivitamins actually work?
A: There are few medical questions today that will generate more heated debate among researchers and health professionals than this. For instance, there is a proven connection between vitamin D and calcium absorption. And doctors routinely recommend both supplements to patients with osteoporosis. At the same time you don’t have to dig too far to find researchers in the field of nutrition who will swear that multivitamins are a complete waste of time (16). So who is right? On the one hand it’s hard to argue with the researchers and their rigorous methodologies. On the other hand, it is equally difficult to deny that patients with osteoporosis often see improvement in their condition when they take supplemental calcium and vitamin D. The same can be said for people suffering from anemia who take supplemental iron. They show improvement.
Q: Can multivitamins really reduce the risk of cancer?
A: There is a growing body of evidence that suggests vitamin D can play an important role in reducing the risk of colorectal and other types of cancer (17). In addition, a large cohort health study run by Harvard Medical School recently concluded that those who take supplemental multivitamins significantly reduced their total cancer risk (18). This is not a guarantee that if a man takes multivitamins every day he won’t get cancer. But it does suggest strongly that there is a positive connection between multivitamins and reduced cancer risk.
Q: Can multivitamins address all the health concerns of men over 50?
A: There is no one pill that will address all the myriad health challenges a man faces as he gets older. In addition, most everyone has certain unique nutritional needs that may require more of one type of vitamin or mineral than another. Those with arthritis, for instance, may require more calcium. Those who rarely venture outside may require more vitamin D. And vegetarians may require supplemental protein and other nutrients to make up for those they lose by not eating meat or fish (19). In any event taking a wide ranging multivitamin and mineral supplement can help to address a nutrient shortfall regardless of the cause. But it’s certainly not going to address all possible health concerns going forward.
Q: Are some vitamins more important than others?
A: What’s important is that you get a well-rounded balance of all the essential vitamins and minerals either from the food you eat, or from your regular diet and vitamin supplements. That said, there are some vitamins that often play a more central nutritional role. These vitamins should always be included in any multivitamin supplement you choose.
Q: Is vitamin D important for men over 50?
A: Yes it is. Vitamin D is renowned for its symbiotic relationship with calcium (20). Vitamin D helps your body absorb any calcium you ingest. This in turn helps ensure healthy bones as you age. A multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains both calcium and vitamin D is a good idea for older folks. It will help stave off the threat of broken bones that often devastate the quality of life for both older men and women. It’s recommended that men get just over 400 mg of vitamin D per day up to age 70. After that the amount should be increased to 550 – 600 mg per day.
Q: Is it true that older people shouldn’t take iron?
A: Iron is a crucial mineral that is a fundamental building block of red blood cells (21). So there is no way a human can survive without adequate amounts of iron. If a person, regardless of their age, is not getting sufficient quantities of iron in their diet they will develop anemia (22) which is often characterized by an all encompassing fatigue. Still, taking iron when you don’t really need it can lead to the body storing the excess iron in cells. A condition known as hemochromatosis (23).
Q: What are the risks of hemochromatosis?
A: Hemochromatosis, or excess amounts of iron in the system, can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It may also increase the risk for certain types of cancer. And it may pose a grave threat to the health of the liver. So, unless you have a compelling reason to take supplemental iron it’s probably a good idea to pass on it. At least until you discuss it with your doctor.
Q: Do men over 50 need to worry about multivitamin side effects?
A: For the most part men over 50 who partake of regular multivitamin supplements don’t have anything to worry about. Any vitamins or minerals that are not absorbed by the body are typically released during urination. There have been cases, however, where men taking vitamin supplements have claimed to suffer constipation, stomach upset, diarrhea or other unwanted side effects. But again, these claims are few and far between and nearly impossible to quantify. It is possible though that men with specific food allergies or intolerances may experience a reaction to something that is in a vitamin supplement. Say, if the tablet contains a dairy byproduct or gluten (24) for instance.
Q: Why don’t multivitamins offer more potassium?
A: This is a question we encountered quite a bit when researching these multivitamins for men over 50. A bit of research revealed that the FDA actually has a regulation in place that states that if a supplement contains more than 99 mg of potassium it must carry a warning that it may not be safe (25). This is due to scientific evidence that suggests that excess potassium can lead to the development of small-bowel lesions (26). Because manufacturers don’t want to scare customers off with dire health warnings they often voluntarily limit the amount of potassium in their supplements to 99 mg or less.
Q: What time of the day is best for taking a multivitamin?
A: There is no particular time of the day that can be considered the ‘best’ for taking multivitamins. As most doctors will tell you the best time is whenever you remember to do so. If you want to make sure you don’t forget to take your multivitamin it’s a good idea to make it an integral part of one of your daily routines. Such as having one right after dinner. Or with your morning coffee. Or at a particular time every day. There are some who believe that taking a multivitamin with food may fend off an upset stomach. Certainly if you have a sensitive stomach this seems like a good idea.
Q: What are GMOs?
A: GMO stands for ‘genetically modified organism’ (27). A genetically modified organism in this case is typically a plant or animal of some kind that has had its genetic code purposely modified. Sometimes DNA is modified to make it grow faster or larger. Sometimes it’s done to make a fruit or vegetable larger or more flavorful or disease resistant etc. Some companies use genetically modified plants and/or animals as a source for the vitamins and minerals in their supplements. A lot of people, however, object to consuming anything that has been modified in such a way. Some of the vitamins on our list may contain GMOs. Most, however, do not.
Multivitamins for men over 50 provide a convenient way for them to ensure they fulfill their changing nutritional needs as they age. When taken regularly these multivitamins can help prevent bone loss, memory loss and loss of eyesight. They may also help prevent osteoarthritis, prostate problems, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
When selecting a multivitamin there are a number of things you should keep in mind including antioxidant content, the presence of vitamin D and whether the supplement includes complementary minerals. You should also be looking for B vitamins that boost the immune system and buttress the health of your skin, brain, liver and more.
All of the multivitamins on our list met the criteria we laid out to determine effectiveness and desirability. And any one should help you – or the man in your life who is over 50 – stay physically fit and active for many years to come.
For cpoe.org’s #1 recommended multivitamin for men over 50, click here.