What Men Should Look For in a Multivitamin (Brought to You by Ritual)

Which ingredients should you keep an eye out for?

This piece is brought to you in paid partnership with Ritual.

You may not eat enough fruits and veggies — plain and simple. Ok, maybe you do. But recent data shows that men, in particular, are falling behind women when it comes to their diets — from general fruit and vegetable intake to specific nutrients like vitamin A and magnesium. (1)

Taking a multivitamin can be an easy way to help nutritional gaps of a lackluster diet. But if a multivitamin lacks quality, absorbability, and key ingredients — then is it helping?

Certain companies may take more care to develop a multivitamin formula. Men and women are biologically different and therefore require a different blend of certain nutrients. That’s why Ritual, a multivitamin brand known for their women’s essential formulas, has formulated a multivitamin to help support men’s nutrient needs between the ages of 18-49 and 50+.*

Regardless of your brand preference, we’ve compiled a checklist of what you should look for when buying a multivitamin:

  • Key nutrients
  • A product backed by science
  • No shady extras or unnecessary ingredients
  • Bioavailable nutrient forms

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Your calories are divided into three macronutrients, or macros — proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. A less common term is micronutrients. Micros, as they’re also called, are the minerals and nutrients found in food. Micronutrients are essential in helping support foundational health.

Why You Need Micronutrients

Micronutrients can be broken up into two main categories: vitamins and minerals.

Ritual Sponsored Content Micronutrients Graphic

Vitamins are food compounds that work together to perform many essential functions in your body. There are 13 essential vitamins — four fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), which are stored in your body for longer periods of time, and nine water-soluble vitamins (8 B-vitamins and C), which are quickly excreted in urine.

There are 16 essential minerals that your body uses. These include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, and selenium, molybdenum, chromium, and fluoride.

Our bodies need a careful balance of both macronutrients and micronutrients to function. The thing to know about micronutrients is that we can’t always produce enough of them on our own. It’s important to seek out external sources, primarily from food. The caveat is that many of us simply don’t meet our daily intake requirements for certain micronutrients in our diet, which is where a quality multivitamin can help out.

Before you take a multivitamin, consult your doctor.

How a Multivitamin Can Help You

Ritual Essential for Men
Ritual Essential for Men
Ritual Essential for Men

Ritual offers men everything they need and nothing they don't in a multivitamin. Their formula includes 10 ingredients that are thoughtfully dosed and sourced transparently.

You probably do (and should) get a bulk of essential nutrients from a balanced and diverse diet. Meats, grains, and vegetables provide a varied amount of specific vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function. Still, it can be hard to get enough of the key vitamins and minerals from your diet alone. To get the daily recommendation of 420 milligrams of magnesium, as an example, you’d have to eat about 12 and a half bananas. Or, you can take a multivitamin containing magnesium to help fill gaps in your diet.

What to Look For in a Multivitamin

Before you close out of this article, run to the closest supplement shop, and snag any old multivitamin — you need to know what you’re buying. The nutrition label on the back of a multivitamin bottle may be loaded with micronutrients, but that doesn’t mean you need all of them and in those specific amounts. That approach is like throwing a bunch of junk at the wall to see what sticks. Instead, you want to know what you need, why you need it, and how much of those nutrients you need.

Key Nutrients

A solid multivitamin doesn’t need to have a kitchen sink of ingredients. If you’re getting an adequate amount of nutrients through a healthy diet, you could be taking in excess with some multis. Overdoing on one nutrient may impact the intake or absorption of another. You may want to identify key nutrients you may not be getting enough of, and then choose a multivitamin that is formulated with that in mind.

Ritual took the guesswork out of the equation and developed Essential for Men, which is formulated with 10 key nutrients to help support brain and heart health, normal muscle function, normal immune function, and bone health.

These nutrients include:

Ritual Vitamins Sponsored Content Micronutrients

Vitamin A (180 micrograms or mcg RAE)

This vitamin covers a few of your health bases, mainly helping support vision and normal immune function. It’s available in many foods such as — carrots, leafy greens, fish, and eggs — but that doesn’t mean you’re getting enough of them. So supplementing with vitamin A is a good idea.

Vitamin D3 (50 mcg)

Vitamin D, which supports normal immune function, bone health, and muscles’ ability to contract, can be obtained by absorbing the sun through the skin. So it’s no wonder why 92% of men take less than the estimated average requirement of vitamin D, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Vitamin E (6.7 milligrams in EFM18+ or 10mg in EFM 50+)

This vitamin is also an antioxidant and protects cells from free radicals. Look for a multivitamin that contains vitamin E sourced from mixed tocopherols — which are the compounds that makeup vitamin E. In this form, the nutrient is of similar quality to what’s found in whole foods.*

Vitamin K2 (90 mcg in EFM 18+ or 100 mcg in EFM 50+)

Getting your daily dose of vitamin K can help support heart health and bones, and, at the same time, helps calcify bones.

Vitamin B12 (8 mcg in EFM 18+ or 16 mcg in EFM 50+)

Vitamin B12 is necessary for cellular division to take place; it also helps support metabolism. Vegetarians and vegans usually lack enough of this vitamin as it’s found predominantly in meat, fish, and eggs.

Methylated Folate (200 mcg DFE in EFM 18+ or 400 mcg DFE in EFM 50+)

A type of B vitamin, folate helps form red blood cells. Folate’s synthetic counterpart, folic acid, is commonly found in multivitamin formulas, but a third of men can’t efficiently utilize folic acid due to a genetic variation called MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase). Therefore, you may want to look for methylated folate, which is a more bioavailable form of Folate.

Magnesium (30 mg in EFM 18+ or 60 mg in EFM 50+)

Magnesium works with Vitamin D to support muscular contractions. However, a lot of men fall short of their 420mg daily goal. Besides eating food high in magnesium, like avocado, nuts, bananas, and dark chocolate, you should consider supplementing with it. Be sure to look for chelated magnesium, which is an absorbable form.

Zinc (2.4 mg)

Men need 11mg of zinc per day, which is why finding a multi that contains this nutrient is essential. Zinc supports bones, vision, and normal immune function.

Boron (.7 mg)

This nutrient works in conjunction with vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium to support bone health.

Omega-3 DHA (330 mg)

You’ve probably heard of Omega-3 DHA since it’s been propped up as a supplement that helps support brain, vision, and heart health. Similar to vitamin B12, Omega-3 DHA is found in meat, mainly fish, and so vegans and vegetarians should search for a multi that contains this fatty acid.

Backed By Science

Look for multivitamins that are third-party tested, meaning a company other than the manufacturer completes product testing. Look for seals from companies such as ConsumerLab.com, NSF International, UL, and U.S. Pharmacopeia. By doing so, you’re avoiding unnecessary extras.

Also, look for products backed by science. Ritual, as an example, conducted a clinical study on their Essential for Women multivitamin.

Nutrient Absorption

While many multivitamins dissolve in the stomach, stomach acid can actually change the forms of certain vitamins and minerals — and not for the better. You may end up losing out on some of your vitamin’s benefits — which kind of defeats the purpose of taking one in the first place, right?

To get the most out of your multi, be sure to look for delayed-release capsules that are designed to bypass the stomach and break down later in your small intestine, an ideal place for nutrient absorption. And one added benefit of Ritual’s delayed-release capsule is you don’t have to take them with food.

The Takeaway

A multivitamin isn’t a replacement for fruits and veggies. But with so many factors that can ultimately have an impact on your nutrient intake — a multivitamin can come in handy. Remember to do your research and invest in a high-quality product that will serve a purpose other than slimming down your wallet, like Ritual’s Essential for Men multivitamin.

Ritual Essential for Men
Ritual Essential for Men
Ritual Essential for Men

Ritual offers men everything they need and nothing they don't in a multivitamin. Their formula includes 10 ingredients that are thoughtfully dosed and sourced transparently.