Are There Specific Vitamins, Minerals Or Supplements That Men Should Be Taking Daily?

Question: Are there specific vitamins, minerals or supplements that men should be taking daily?

Answer: There are many different supplements out there, but if one looks closely at the evidence there isn't a lot of evidence supporting most dietary supplements. Even for multivitamins, a couple of studies this past year did not show much benefit. If someone chooses to take a multivitamin there probably isn't much risk, but it may not provide as much benefit as what people realize, either, particularly when compared with a healthy diet.

One supplement for which there is some evidence is vitamin D. Much of the population doesn't get enough vitamin D, and we can't get enough from the sun, either, particularly when we're trying to avoid sun exposure to decrease our risk of skin cancer. That's why for many of my patients I'll recommend a vitamin D supplement of anywhere from 400 to 1,000 units daily, which may not only be good for bone health but may help many other conditions as well.

Calcium is important in that in can act with vitamin D, and that's a reasonable supplement to take. And finally, Omega-3 fatty acids, or fish oil, are involved in many different processes in the body and may offer some benefit.

For many other supplements about the most you can say is: it might help, it probably won't hurt. But there are some that people should avoid, such as ephedra and other supplements that have been shown to have negative beneficial effects.