The Men's Guide to Essential Nutrients by Emily Hirsch, MS, RD ( Garden of Life )

The Men's Guide to Essential Nutrients   by Emily Hirsch, MS, RD  ( Garden of Life )
Men and women have unique nutritional needs which change with age. While nutritional gaps can be common among both genders, research suggests that men may be particularly vulnerable to shortcomings in their diet, placing them at risk for nutritional inadequacies. To support optimal health, men should focus on specific key nutrients during the aging process. 

Having a varied diet that includes plenty of whole foods can help men maintain healthy levels of essential nutrients to stay strong and fit as they age. In this article, we will explore the key nutrients to help support men’s health through every season of life.  


Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is responsible for maintaining the health of your bones, teeth, and muscles. For men, vitamin D also appears to play an important role in testosterone production. Having enough vitamin D also supports a healthy immune system by helping to regulate your body’s immune response.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D ranges from 15mg (600 IU) for men ages 19 to 70 and 20mcg (800 IU) for men 71 and older. Some men may require higher levels of vitamin D to meet their needs. It is always best to speak with your healthcare provider about how much vitamin D is right for you 

There are several ways you can get vitamin D. Also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D is produced by your body when exposed to sunlight. The amount your body is able to produce will depend on many factors, including your geographic location, age, sunscreen use, time spent outside, and skin pigmentation. Therefore, sunlight may not always be the most dependable source of this nutrient.   

Vitamin D can also be obtained through dietary sources such as fatty fish, egg yolks, fortified dairy and non-dairy milk products and orange juice. You can also meet your vitamin D needs through dietary supplements if you’re not getting enough through sunlight and food.  

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw D3 is whole food nutrition that also delivers 23 powdered organically grown fruits and nutrient cofactors to support absorption. 


Vitamin B12 

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in many aspects of your health. From helping your body produce red blood cells to supporting a healthy mood, having adequate amounts of vitamin B12 can have far-reaching health benefits.  

Vitamin B12 plays a key role in energy production within your body. For men that aren’t getting adequate amounts, taking a vitamin B12 supplement may help support healthy energy levels. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw B12 is a whole food, vegan nutritional supplement that delivers an array of powdered fruits and vegetables along with live probiotics and enzymes. 

The average daily recommended amount of vitamin B12 for men is 2.4 micrograms (mcg). However, you may need more if you’re older than 60, have certain intestinal health conditions, or are following a vegetarian or vegan diet. 

Vitamin B12 can be found in a wide variety of animal foods, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products, and also in certain fortified breakfast cereals.  



Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a critical role in facilitating the function of over 300 enzymatic reactions within your body. These enzymes are responsible for enabling your day-to-day metabolic functions and for converting the foods you eat into energy. Therefore, it may come as no surprise that having less-than-ideal magnesium levels can lead to fatigue, sleep issues, or stress. 

The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for magnesium are 400 mg for men under the age of 30 and 420 mg for men over the age of 30. Dietary surveys continually show that most people are not meeting their recommended dietary intakes for magnesium. In fact, research shows that 53% of men ages 19 to 50 and 59% of men over 50 aren’t getting adequate amounts of magnesium in their diet. 

Magnesium can be found in a wide variety of food sources, including green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. In addition to adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet, you may consider adding a magnesium supplement to ensure you’re meeting your recommended amounts. Garden of Life’s Dr. Formulated Magnesium Gummies offer stress and sleep support so you can get a better night’s sleep while restoring your body’s optimal magnesium levels.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as a powerful antioxidant in your body. Additionally, vitamin C helps your body make collagen, aids in absorbing iron, and supports your immune system.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men is 90mg of vitamin C daily.  

Fruits and vegetables remain the best sources of vitamin C. These include citrus fruits, berries, red and green peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli. However, according to the research, only 9% of men are meeting the recommended intake for fruit, and only 7% of men are meeting the recommended intake for vegetables. 

Besides increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, you may consider adding a vitamin C supplement into your routine to fill in any nutritional gaps. Vitamin Code Raw Vitamin C is whole food nutrition that provides 500mg of vitamin C along with naturally occurring bioflavonoids, organically grown fruits and vegetables, and nutrient cofactors.  


Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

The omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA are excellent sources of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Generally found in fatty fish, nuts, and seeds, omega-3s can help support the health of your heart, brain, eyes, and immune system. 

While DHA and EPA don’t have an official recommended dietary allowance, the American Heart Association recommends eating two or more servings of fatty fish or seafood each week to ensure you’re reaping all the health benefits of omega-3s. 

If you’re not eating fatty fish regularly, you may consider adding a high-quality fish oil supplement to your day to secure this key nutrient. 


Nutritional Needs Change with Age

Your nutritional needs will change as you age. You may be wondering which nutrients to focus on as you enter your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. The following are general guidelines to help you maintain optimal health through the years:  


Nutrients to focus on in your 20s and 30s 


In your 20s, it’s important to focus on bone health as your body will be continuously building bone density during this decade. Make sure you’re getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D from food sources like dairy or from supplementation. Since magnesium also plays a role in bone health, you’ll want to ensure you’re meeting your recommended amounts. Getting adequate magnesium will also help support muscle functioning and healthy energy levels while working out.


Nutrients to focus on in your 40s and 50s 


Both vitamin C and vitamin D are important nutrients that can support a healthy immune system as you age. Additionally, it’s important to ensure you’re eating a wide variety of foods that contain plenty of B vitamins. B vitamins are required for your body to convert food into energy and also to support a healthy nervous system and brain. 


Nutrients to focus on in your 60s and beyond 


Now is a time to focus on getting plenty of antioxidants to support your health and well-being. Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene are needed to help minimize the harmful effects that oxidative stress places on the body as you age. 

Getting plenty of fruits and vegetables will help boost your antioxidant intake to help support a healthy brain, immune system, and vision.  

Additionally, during this stage in life, you may experience reduced vitamin B12 absorption. Therefore, you should consider talking with your healthcare provider about adding a vitamin B12 supplement to your routine.  


The Takeaway 


Nutrition plays an important role in men's health throughout every season of life, and it is essential to consume a well-balanced diet to ensure optimal health and well-being. Key nutrients for men include vitamin D, vitamin B12, magnesium, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also important to recognize that your nutritional needs will change as you age, so you’ll want to focus on specific key nutrients through the years to support your health. 

While a balanced diet is the best way to obtain key nutrients, supplementation may be necessary to help fill in any nutritional gaps. It is always best to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new nutritional supplement regimen.