If you are like me, you have heard most of your life that you need to take a multivitamin. It started when I was a kid and my mother gave me Flintsone vitamins every morning.
If you are also like me, you have some conceptual idea of why you need to take a multivitamin; but the truth is you don’t know what multivitamins do or which multivitamin to take. And if you are really like me, you are now probably wishing that you had paid closer attention in your high school science class (sorry Mr. Yager for blowing off your Science class in 11th grade).
Well, forget about the past, this article will tell you why you should take a multivitamin and which are best for men over the age of 40.
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As you are getting older you have learned the importance of a more active and healthier lifestyle. You want to include a multivitamin but you have questions such as,
- What are vitamins?
- Do I really need to take a multivitamin?
- I don’t know the difference between vitamins and minerals or if they are the same.
- I don’t know if my body produces vitamins and minerals on its own.
- Which multivitamin should I take?
- And most importantly, do multivitamins work?
Well, let’s get started and get you on your way to your best health and lifestyle.
What are Vitamins and Minerals
Before we get into vitamin supplements, let’s learn what are vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are nutrients that our bodies need to survive and maintain optimal health. Although our bodies are wonderfully made, we require nutrients to help keep them wonderful and fully functional.
Vitamins and minerals perform different functions for the health and well-being of our bodies such as helping to fight off infections, strengthen your nerves, they provide your body energy by helping the enzymes that generate energy from nutrients. Vitamins and minerals serve and have many other required functions and benefits.
What is the Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals?
So, a question that I had, and perhaps you have it as well; is there a difference between vitamins and minerals, and if so, what?
- Vitamins are organic substances that are made by plants or animals.
- There are 13 vitamins that are broken out into two types – fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in our fat cells which requires fat in order to be absorbed. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in our bodies so consequently they must be replenished on a daily basis. Our bodies take what it needs and excrete what it does not need as waste.
- Minerals are inorganic elements that come from the earth, soil, and water and are absorbed by plants.
- Our bodies need many different minerals known as Essential Minerals. Essential minerals like vitamins are broken out into two categories – major minerals (macrominerals) and trace minerals (microminerals).
You may be surprised to learn that when you eat foods that are non-processed and plant-based you are able to get the proper vitamins and minerals your body requires.
Of course, there are those with certain rare diseases whose body cannot absorb certain vitamins and minerals and may need to take a supplement, but for the vast majority of folks, we can get the required vitamins and minerals through a healthy eating routine. Read my article on Superfoods.
Now that you have a better understanding of vitamins and minerals, let’s jump right into multivitamins.
Multivitamins are a supplement that packages vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients—herbs, amino acids, and fatty acids—into one neat little pill, tablet, capsule, powders, or in liquid form.
Typically, multivitamins are taken once or twice a day as directed. But here is something important for you to know, dietary supplements such as multivitamins are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So, what does that mean? The supplement can have more or fewer levels of nutrients that are listed on the label or even none at all.
Is it Necessary to Take a Multivitamin?
As I researched this topic, what I discovered is that because we can get the required nutrients (vitamins and minerals) from a proper diet (eating healthy foods), taking a multivitamin may not be necessary.
However, as you and I get older, we find that we need more of a particular vitamin and/or mineral than we did when we were younger. Working with your doctor he or she will be able to identify what vitamin and/or mineral you may be lacking. I know personally, I am deficient in vitamin D and you may be as well.
Note: What I found very interesting is that it is possible to have too much specific vitamin and/or mineral in your body which can be harmful. Not to mention if you are taking a multivitamin and you don’t require the additional supplement or added ingredients, then you are paying for something you may not need. In researching multivitamins, I learned that it is wise to stay away from products with the label “mega-dose.”
According to the article, Providing Healthy and Safe Foods As We Age; as you get older there are vitamins that you are not getting enough of such as vitamin E, vitamin B6, Magnesium, vitamin B12, Folate, and vitamin D.
Work with your doctor and if he or she informs you that you are lacking a certain vitamin or mineral, your doctor may tell you to supplement it with the specifically required vitamin.
So, what’s the answer to the question, do you need to take a multivitamin? Well, that depends, if you learn that you are actually missing or not getting enough of a certain vitamin or mineral and you are 40 and older and/or you are not getting the proper nutrients from your diet, then chances are a multivitamin is perfect for you.
Which Multivitamin is Right for Me?
Because you are over 40 you require a multivitamin that is specifically designed for you. Here is a list of top multivitamins with their pros and cons for men aged 40 and over.
Click on the images to learn more about the products.
Nature Made Pros:
- Low price.
- Popular brand.
- It contains no iron.
- 22 key nutrients for daily nutritional support.
Nature Made Cons:
- May interact with certain medications.
Centrum Silver Pros:
- Popular brand.
- Easy-to-swallow tablet.
- Product claim: Heart, Brain, Eye & Whole-Body Health Support.
Centrum Silver Cons:
- Do not take this product if taking vitamin A supplements.
- Gluten and gelatin-free.
- Product claim: Provides nourishment for heart, digestion, energy, immunity, eyes, & bone support.
- May need to get accustomed to the taste.
- GMO-Free, Soy Free, Gluten Free, No Gelatin, No Preservatives, Coloring, or Flavoring.
- It’s in capsule form for better digestion support and faster absorption.
- A bit pricey
New Chapter Pros:
- Made with Certified Organic Vegetables & Herbs, Non-GMO Project Verified, Vegetarian, Certified Kosher, Certified Gluten-Free, No Synthetic Fillers, No Animal Gelatin (added to some gummy vitamins).
New Chapter Cons:
- A bit pricey.
- Contains food-based Orchard Fruits & Garden Veggies powder blend (60 mg per serving), plus Cardio, Digestive Enzyme, Daily Greens, and more blends.
- Gluten-free. No artificial colors.
- May upset stomach.
- Made without GMOs, tested for 125+ herbicides and pesticides, Free of dairy and soy; Certified B Corp; Certified Glyphosate Residue Free; Certified Kosher.
- A bit pricey.
Vitamins and minerals are important nutrients that your body needs to survive and maintain optimal health. Many of the natural foods and plant-based diets provide the required vitamins and minerals you need. But as you get older, your body will need help acquiring those much-needed vitamins and minerals. In comes the multivitamin. No matter the form you take your multivitamin, as a man over the age of 40 taking a multivitamin should become a part of your daily routine.
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Definitions of Health Terms: Minerals. 2019. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/definitions/mineralsdefinitions.html
Institute of Medicine (US) Food Forum. Providing Healthy and Safe Foods As We Age: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2010. 5, Nutrition Concerns for Aging Populations. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK51837/
Minerals: Their Functions and Sources. 2020. Michigan Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ta3912
Vitamins: Their Functions and Sources. 2020. HealthLinkBC. Retrieved from https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/ta3868
Vitamins: Their Functions and Sources. 2020. Michigan Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ta3868