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Men Over 50: Here’s What to Look for in a Quality Multivitamin

11 min read
Men over 50: Here's what to look for in a multivitamin tailored to your life stage.
Men over 50: Here's what to look for in a multivitamin tailored to your life stage.

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What’s “healthy aging?” We define it as supporting overall health and wellbeing with good habits and good nutrition as the years go by—all so that you can continue living your life as you see fit, whether you’re 28 or 68.*

But that also means acknowledging the fact that nutritional needs change over time, which is where a daily multivitamin that’s designed for older adults can really come in handy. And that’s exactly what we had in mind when we formulated Essential for Men 50+, our daily men’s multi formulated to help fill nutrient gaps in the diet.*

While our 50+ men’s multivitamin boasts the same nutrient roster as Essential for Men 18+, the dosage amounts are refined to reflect the common dietary gaps that many men over 50 experience—as well as nutrient support for bone health, for example. Let’s dig into the specifics, shall we?*

Formulated with bone health in mind

As we age, lending our bones a little nutrient support may be a good idea. But here’s the thing: Loading up on calcium in a multivitamin isn’t necessarily the answer.

We’ve found that most men can get enough calcium from their diets, but there are other unsung heroes that aid with supporting bone health, too—like vitamin D3, magnesium, boron, and vitamin K2. These “helper” nutrients play an important role in supporting calcium from the food we eat, which is why we focus on them in our multivitamins.*

In other words: Calcium might like to take all the credit, but we like to look at the big picture when it comes to bone health. With this in mind, Essential for Men 50+ contains slightly more of some calcium “helper” nutrients—specifically, magnesium and vitamin K2—than our 18+ formula.*

Men over 50 have different dietary gaps

When it comes to nutrients like omega-3 DHA, vitamin A, zinc, and vitamin D, men 18 and up have pretty similar gaps—which is why we include the same amounts of these ingredients in both Essential for Men 18+ and Essential for Men 50+. But when it comes to some other nutrients, research shows that many older men are falling behind.* (1)

Magnesium is a great example. This essential nutrient doesn’t just lend support when it comes to maintaining bone health—it also works alongside vitamin D to support normal muscle function. The caveat? About 59% of men over 50 are not getting enough magnesium from their diet, leaving about a 20% gap in intake. (Compare that to 53% of men under 50.) That’s why we include more magnesium in Essential for Men 50+.* (1, 2)

We also include higher amounts of folate and vitamin B12. Both are essential members of the B-vitamin complex that lend support to red blood cell formation and DNA, but adults over 50 may have a harder time getting enough of these nutrients from their food due to diet, lifestyle, and genetic factors.* (7)

Key nutrients to look for in a 50+ multivitamin supplement (and why)

So, what key nutrients should someone look for in a 50+ men’s multivitamin? Our in-house team and Scientific Advisory Board pored over thousands of human research studies to identify specific nutrient needs that may be especially important for this life stage. Their research highlighted a few key nutrients to keep in mind, all of which can be found in one daily serving of Essential for Men 50+*:

  • Omega-3 DHA: Omega-3 fatty acids help support heart health and brain health—and it can be crucial to get enough from food and supplement intake, because the body can’t efficiently synthesize them on its own. While there is no established Daily Value (DV) of key omega-3s, experts suggest 250 mg per day of DHA and EPA—yet data shows that 95% of men ages 50 and up are not getting their recommended daily intake, which is where a multi can come in handy.* (2, 3, 4)
  • Vitamin A: A fat-soluble nutrient that lends support for normal immune function and vision health (among other things), vitamin A is an important player in the body. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for men is 900 micrograms RAE, or mcg—but 46% of men 50 and over are not consuming enough from diet. (In fact, according to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, they’re only getting about 70% of the RDA for vitamin A from diet, leaving an approximate 30% gap in intake.)* (1, 2)
  • Vitamin D3: There are two major types of vitamin D the body uses: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3, the latter of which is the form the body naturally produces upon sun exposure—hence why many experts, including those on our Scientific Team, recommend supplementing with D3. And there's good reason, considering that the vast majority of men ages 50 and up—we’re talking 90%—are not consuming enough from the diet.* (2)
  • Magnesium: Although magnesium is found in several foods, it’s easily removed by refining, processing, and cooking, which means diet may not always be the most reliable source. This jack-of-all-trades nutrient is a vital participant in many key functions, including bone health and normal protein synthesis—so the fact that more than half of men ages 50+ are not hitting recommended levels from the diet makes a solid case for supplementation.* (2)
  • Zinc: Zinc is a “vitamin A-helper” nutrient, which means it supports the function of vitamin A in the body. Adult women over 18 have lower recommended daily intakes of zinc than men over 18—8 mg versus 11 mg, respectively, which means they can probably hit their daily zinc intake with the right foods. Men, on the other hand, may need a little more help in the zinc department—which is why we recommend looking for a men’s multi that contains zinc in the formula.* (14)
  • Vitamin K2: Just like vitamin D, there are two main types of vitamin K: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2, the latter of which, when taken in supplement form, has been shown to support bone health (not to mention it can be more difficult to find in typical Western diets than vitamin K1). Out of all the forms of vitamin K, we opted for K2-MK7—a vegan, soy-free form. Get to know our supplier here.* (5)
  • Folate: Folate is an essential vitamin—and not just for pregnancy. It’s involved in multiple processes throughout the body, including DNA methylation, which is why we recommend supplementation. (The best dietary sources of folate include fresh fruits, leafy greens, yeast, and legumes, which can become degraded during food prep and cooking.) The catch? Up to ⅓ of the population has a genetic variation that makes it more difficult for them to efficiently utilize folic acid—hence why we went with a cell-identical, bioavailable form, 5-MTHF.* (6)
  • Vitamin B12: Vegans have a difficult time obtaining adequate levels of vitamin B12 from diet. In light of this, the Institute of Medicine (IoM) recommends that adults over the age of 50 obtain most of their vitamin B12 from fortified foods or vitamin supplements, like Essential for Men 50+.* (7, 8)
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in certain plant-based foods, such as pistachios, walnuts, and flaxseeds. It’s also a nutrient that 73% of men over 50 are not getting enough of from their diets, which is why we added non-soy mixed tocopherols to our Essential for Men 50+ multivitamin.* (2)
  • Boron: Boron works alongside nutrients like vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium to support bone health—especially important as we age. It’s found in many plant-based foods, though seeds, nuts, and veggies contain higher concentrations than fruits or grains—so if not consuming a range of plants, supplementation can help meet sufficient intake. (We source our boron from Futureceuticals in Illinois.)* (9)

It’s important to note that, when shopping for dietary supplements, what’s left out is just as important as what’s inside: Does the formula contain gluten or dairy? What about GMOs or allergens? Does it taste good and go down easily, or is it likely to induce not-so-nice side effects like upset stomach or burpback? Finding a high-quality multivitamin means identifying what markers matter most to you, then opting for a brand with the same values—and the receipts to back it up. (Third-party quality certification—things like Informed Sport and USP verification—are helpful indicators of trustworthiness.)

Housed inside a delayed-release, easy-to-swallow capsule, Essential for Men 50+ Multivitamin is also gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO certified, and formulated without shady fillers or major allergens. Plus, each bottle contains our signature minty tab, infused with nothing but pure peppermint oil from Yakima, Washington.

Sure, these may seem like small details, but that’s not the way we look at it: In the end, the best multivitamin for men over 50 is the one they’ll actually like—and therefore make a habit of taking—so when it comes to the enjoyability factor, we aim to make the experience as smooth and seamless as possible.*

The importance of a balanced diet

With all this talk about nutrients and multivitamins, you may be wondering: Where does diet fit in? It’s a great question—and a salient one, too, especially when it comes to thinking about a long-term wellness strategy instead of a “quick fix” (not that those exist anyway). Like many experts, we recommend a food-first approach to nutrition, aiming to fill the majority of nutrient needs through a whole foods-based diet, then supplementing to help fill the gaps.*

The truth is, we all need a balance of micronutrients and macronutrients to support nutrient needs. And while we’ve been talking a lot about micronutrients (aka vitamins and minerals) throughout this piece, we’d be remiss not to mention the importance of minding the macros, too. Macronutrients are nutritional compounds that we need in higher amounts than their micronutrient counterparts—in this case protein, carbs, and healthy fats.

Protein is one especially important callout: It’s estimated that, from the age of 50 onwards, older adults may lose between 0.5%-2% of their total muscle mass each year. The good news is that we have more sway over this than we might think: Combining physical activity with appropriate nutrition—including adequate protein intake—is considered to be an important way to support the maintenance of muscle mass in older age. That’s why we created Essential Protein Daily Shake 50+, our plant-based protein with calcium HMB to support the maintenance of lean muscle mass for healthy, active aging.* (10, 11, 12, 13)

The essential takeaway

You deserve a multivitamin that was formulated with specific life stages and nutrient needs in mind—and that’s exactly what drove our decision-making as we developed Essential for Men 50+ Multivitamin (and Essential Protein Daily Shake 50+). In other words, we help take the guesswork out of supporting nutrition—one less thing for you to worry about as you get out there and tackle life the way you want. As always, if you have questions about nutrition, supplementation, or men’s health in general, we recommend reaching out to a trusted healthcare provider.*

References:

  1. USDA. Usual Nutrient Intake from Food and Beverages: Mean Amounts Consumed per Individual by Gender and Age, What We Eat in America, NHANES 2015-2016.
  2. USDA, Agricultural Research Service. Usual Nutrient Intake from Food and Beverages, by Gender and Age, What We Eat in America, NHANES 2013-2016. 2019.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. 2015.
  4. World Health Organization. Interim Summary of Conclusions and Dietary Recommendations on Total Fat & Fatty Acids From the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition. 2008.
  5. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin K: Fact sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services, 2021.
  6. Tsang BL, Devine OJ, Cordero AM, et al. Assessing the association between the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677>T polymorphism and blood folate concentrations: A systematic review and meta-analysis of trials and observational studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101(6):1286-1294.
  7. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin B12: Fact sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services, 2020.
  8. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1998.
  9. Mogosanu GD, Bita A, Bejenaru LE, Croitoru O, Rau G, Rogoveanu OC, Florescu DN, Neamtu J, Scorei ID, Scorei RI. Calcium fructoborate. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 Aug;172(2):277-81.
  10. Deutz NE, Bauer JM, Barazzoni R, Biolo G, Boirie Y, Bosy-Westphal A, Cederholm T, Cruz-Jentoft A, Krznariç Z, Nair KS, Singer P, Teta D, Tipton K, Calder PC. Protein intake and exercise: recommendations from the ESPEN Expert Group. Clin Nutr. 2014 Dec;33(6):929-36.
  11. Robinson SM, Reginster JY, Rizzoli R, Shaw SC, Kanis JA, Bautmans I, Bischoff-Ferrari H, Bruyère O, Cesari M, Dawson-Hughes B, Fielding RA, Kaufman JM, Landi F, Malafarina V, Rolland Y, van Loon LJ, Vellas B, Visser M, Cooper C; ESCEO working group. Does nutrition play a role? Clin Nutr. 2018 Aug;37(4):1121-1132.
  12. van Vliet S Van, Burd NA, van Loon LJ. The Skeletal Muscle Anabolic Response to Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Consumption. J Nutr Crit Rev. 2015;145:1981-1991.
  13. World Health Organisation. World Report on Ageing and Health. Geneva, Switzerland: 2015.
  14. Institute of Medicine (IoM), 2001. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. National Academies Press. Washington DC.

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Meet Our Science Team

What happens when a Harvard trained physiologist, a biochemist, and a registered dietician walk into a lab? The answer: Ritual multivitamins.

Science Thumb — Nima

Dr. Nima Alamdari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Nima Alamdari is Chief Scientific Officer at Ritual. He was previously faculty at Harvard University where he researched muscle metabolism in health and disease. He received a PhD in Muscle Physiology and a First Degree in Biochemistry from The University of Nottingham in the UK. He has authored many original articles in top international peer-reviewed journals and presented at world-leading international conferences.

Science Thumb — Nima

Dr. Nima Alamdari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Nima Alamdari is Chief Scientific Officer at Ritual. He was previously faculty at Harvard University where he researched muscle metabolism in health and disease. He received a PhD in Muscle Physiology and a First Degree in Biochemistry from The University of Nottingham in the UK. He has authored many original articles in top international peer-reviewed journals and presented at world-leading international conferences.

Science Thumb — Mastaneh

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, VP of Scientific Affairs

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.

Science Thumb — Mastaneh

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, VP of Scientific Affairs

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.

Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, Ph.D, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, Ph.D, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

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