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Have You Met Our Men’s Multivitamin?

9 min read
Introducing Essential for Men 18+ and Essential for Men 50+—our multivitamins formulated to fill the gaps in men's diets.
Introducing Essential for Men 18+ and Essential for Men 50+—our multivitamins formulated to fill the gaps in men's diets.

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The truth is, while a one-size-fits-all, complete multivitamin may be a nice thought, the data shows it might not be the most effective approach. Why? For starters, men and women have slightly different nutrient needs—and those needs will likely evolve throughout life.

Like our other daily multivitamins, Essential for Men isn’t just scientifically formulated to help fill gaps in men’s diets—we also designed it with considerations like age, genetic variations, and dietary considerations in mind.

Based on all this, we ultimately landed on 10 key nutrients, as well as two daily men’s formulas: Essential for Men 18+ and Essential for Men 50+. (For the younger set, we have Essential for Teens Multivitamin for Him, our minty multivitamin supplement featuring essential vitamins for teen boys ages 13-17—complete with omega-3 DHA and vitamin D3.)*

For starters, men’s diets may be falling behind.

Some of us may have blind spots when it comes to our nutrition. But according to the Healthy Eating Index—a national scoring system that monitors American dietary patterns over time—men are consistently scoring lower than women when it comes to things like fruit, vegetable, and whole grain intake. (1)*

As for why that matters: Like many experts, when it comes to nutrient needs, we believe in a “food-first” approach—that is, aiming to meet most of the recommended daily values through a balanced, whole foods-based diet. Focusing on that healthy foundation is a crucial first step. It’s also why our science team examines the eating habits for different ages, assigned sexes, and dietary preferences when formulating our multivitamins—all the better to zero in on the most common nutrient gaps, even for those who consider themselves pretty healthy eaters.*

Men need more of certain essential nutrients than women, and less of others.

Consider magnesium, which plays an important role in supporting bone health as well as vitamin D metabolism. The recommended daily intake of magnesium is slightly higher for men than women, and both men and women are falling slightly short of their RDA for magnesium when it comes to their diets.* (2)

Then there’s zinc, which helps support normal immune function, bone health, and vision health. Women have a lower RDA, so it might be easier to meet their daily needs through diet alone. On the flip side, women have higher iron needs than men†.* (3)

More isn’t always more when it comes to nutrient intake—overdoing it on one nutrient can impact another. That’s why we skip iron in our men’s multivitamins, but include zinc—and do the opposite for Essential for Women 18+. Something else you won’t find in Essential for Men? Vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports the immune system. Similar to B-vitamins like biotin, vitamin C is water-soluble (unlike fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K)—and as long as someone is eating a fair amount of fruits and veggies, they’re probably getting enough to meet the RDA. Same goes for selenium and calcium, nutrients that US adults typically get adequate amounts of from their diets. (Curious about the relationship between vitamin C and immune health? Click here.)* (4)

There are other nutrient gaps that may be more difficult to bridge through diet alone.

Look—we kind of wish multivitamins didn’t need to exist. (True story: Our founder and CEO never consistently took vitamins before launching Ritual, and most of our customers are reformed vitamin skeptics, too.) But while we wish we could consistently meet all of our nutritional needs through a healthy diet, that can also be really tricky. And that’s why common dietary gaps are just one part of the equation when we’re formulating our multivitamins. (5)

For example, you may have a genetic variation that impacts your ability to efficiently utilize folic acid (a form of folate commonly found in dietary supplements and folate-fortified foods), or you’re a vegetarian (or vegan!) and can therefore have a trickier time getting enough vitamin B12. Or, you may be one of the 75% of Americans who run low on getting enough vitamin D from the diet. The bottom line is that there are a lot of factors that can ultimately have an impact on nutrient intake—which is where a multivitamin can come in handy.* (6)

A multivitamin created with different life stages in mind.

Basically, we want everyone to feel empowered to support an active lifestyle and their nutrient needs as they age—and part of that means addressing changing nutrient needs. While Essential for Men 50+ contains the same nutrient lineup as Essential for Men 18+, we upped the levels for certain nutrients where gaps might be more likely for those over 50—such as magnesium, vitamin B12, and vitamin E. It’s all about supporting that foundation, so you can keep doing life as you see fit.*

In addition to being made without common allergens, Essential for Men is vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free. It’s also made with efficacy in mind: Rather than choosing other delivery forms, we opted for delayed-release capsules, which are designed to dissolve later, in the small intestine—an optimal place for nutrient absorption. We also looked at the enjoyability factor, adding in our food-grade minty tab to keep things feeling fresh. (In the end, the best multivitamins for men are the ones they like and therefore, take—a helpful factor for habit formation.)

Don’t forget about protein.

While we're on the topic of evolving micronutrient needs, we'd be remiss not to underscore the importance of minding macronutrient levels, too—like when it comes to protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient—and consuming the optimal amount is critical for supporting muscle protein synthesis. (The RDA for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 7 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight—FWIW, though, the RDA simply represents a sufficient daily intake for a nutrient, not necessarily the optimal. The most recent scientific evidence actually indicates that athletes require a daily protein intake of 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight—or about 9-18 grams of protein for every 20 pounds—which is higher than the current RDA.) (8, 9, 10,11)

There are a multitude of reasons why someone may fall short on their protein needs, but a good place to start is diet. For example, someone who is largely plant-based could be more likely to experience gaps in their protein intake. That’s because while many animal sources of protein are considered complete proteins (eggs, fish, and meat, for example), complete plant-based proteins are harder to come by as a single source. (Another data point worth noting: Many U.S. adults tend to over consume red meats and processed meats, like bacon and sausage, while under consuming seafood and plant-based protein sources, such as beans and peas.) (12, 13)

The necessity of dietary protein, along with differing nutrient needs throughout the lifespan, was the driving force behind why we launched Essential Protein—our plant-based protein powder designed to help fill gaps and support protein synthesis at different life stages. (Men should reach for either Essential Protein Daily Shake 18+ or 50+, depending on age). Powered by regeneratively-farmed pea protein (instead of whey protein), and enriched with L-Methionine to provide a complete amino acid profile, each serving provides an excellent source of high-quality vegan protein. It’s also delicious, thanks to notes of sweet Madagascar vanilla, subtle caramel, and a hint of warm spice. (Did we mention it’s Informed Sport Certified, too?)

The essential takeaway

In the end, we think wellness is about creating nourishing habits that can last a lifetime—so keep things simple and eat a healthy, balanced diet, then supplement with a multivitamin (and a protein powder) to help fill the gaps. As always, if you have questions regarding men’s health, supplementation, or wellness in general, we recommend reaching out to a trusted healthcare provider.*


  1. Reedy J, Lerman JL, Krebs-Smith SM, et al. Evaluation of the Healthy Eating Index-2015. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2018;118(9):1622‐1633.
  2. Office of Dietary Supplements - Magnesium. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Institutes of Health.
  3. Office of Dietary Supplements. Zinc: Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. 2021.
  4. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. 2021.
  5. Ritual Brand Sentiment Survey, 2019-2020.
  6. Ginde, A. A., Liu, M. C., & Camargo, C. A. (2009). Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin the US Population, 1988-2004. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(6), 626. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2008.604
  7. Food Security and Nutrition Assistance. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2020, from the USDA
  8. National Academies of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients). 2005.
  9. Phillips SM. Current Concepts and Unresolved Questions in Dietary Protein Requirements and Supplements in Adults. Front Nutr. 2017 May 8;4:13.
  10. Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplements for Exercise and Athletic Performance. Fact sheet for health professionals. 2019.
  11. Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116(3):501-528.
  12. Shan Z, Rehm CD, Rogers G, et al. Trends in Dietary Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat Intake and Diet Quality among US Adults, 1999-2016. JAMA - J Am Med Assoc. 2019;322(12):1178-1187.
  13. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. 2015.

Meet Our Experts

This article has been reviewed by members of our Science Team.

Dr. Nima Alamdari PhD

Dr. Nima Alamdari, Ph.D, Ritual's Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Nima is Ritual's Chief Scientific Officer. He has a Ph.D in Physiology & Muscle Metabolism, and has spent his career studying the relationship between nutrition, exercise, and the human body.

Dr. Nima Alamdari PhD

Dr. Nima Alamdari, Ph.D, Ritual's Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Nima is Ritual's Chief Scientific Officer. He has a Ph.D in Physiology & Muscle Metabolism, and has spent his career studying the relationship between nutrition, exercise, and the human body.


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