Research shows men have a higher probability of being deficient in certain vitamins if they eat a mostly processed diet (one with lots of packaged foods or takeout, as opposed to home-cooked meals), experience low economic status, or if they’re usually surrounded by other people eating poor diets, especially their family members and close friends. All of these factors affect someone’s personal habits and therefore their food choices and intake of things like vitamins, trace minerals and antioxidants.
There are 13 essential vitamins all men need — including vitamins C, A, D, E, K and the B vitamins (such as thiamine and vitamin B12) — plus a number of important trace minerals, electrolytes and fatty acids too. (11) You can experience low vitamin or mineral levels without showing any noticeable signs or symptoms, so don’t assume that because you feel mostly “normal” your diet is definitely sufficient in the best vitamins for men.
Risk factors that make a man likely to have a deficiency in at least one of the best vitamins for men or other essential nutrients include:
- eating a poor diet, especially one low in fresh vegetables and fruit
- being elderly (studies show nutritional status in older men can be impacted by a decrease in basal metabolic rate and appetite, decreased gastric secretion of digestive juices, changes in fluid and electrolyte regulation, and chronic illnesses) (12)
- family history of deficiencies (13)
- avoiding most or all animal products (being a vegetarian or vegan)
- having any food allergies that eliminates certain food groups and interfere with metabolic processes, like an intolerance to dairy products, for example
- being underweight and consuming too little calories in general (“underweight” is generally considered below a BMI of 18.5)
- being of low socioeconomic status, having a lack of education and experiencing poverty (which can make it harder to buy quality, fresh foods)
- recovering from an illness that affects nutrient absorption within the digestive tract
- taking medications that block the effects of some vitamins