When you hear the phrase “vitamin deficiency” it conjures up black-and-white images of 19th-century orphans. Words like “rickets” and “scurvy” sound as outdated as someone calling a Tesla a “motor coach.” It just doesn’t happen anymore.
Or does it?
The Centers for Disease Control reports that millions of Americans are deficient in Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, and more. And men are particularly at risk. Ironically, a fit lifestyle can increase your chance of having an empty vitamin tank. Intense exercise and a restrictive diet can quickly deplete and limit stores of nutrients. The good news is, a solid daily multivitamin can pretty much eradicate a man’s risk for vitamin deficiencies.
Here are some specific details why men -- all men -- should make a multivitamin part of their daily routine.
Science Says So
The last decade has seen an epidemic-level of Vitamin D deficiency in all sorts of people, not just men. But a recent study published in the journal Archives of Osteoporosis showed that young men are far more likely to suffer from a lack of vitamin D compared to women or older men.
There are very few nutritional sources of Vitamin D. (Milk is the best one, but not because it occurs naturally. Milk has traditionally been fortified with Vitamin D.) The single best source of vitamin D is sun exposure. With greater awareness about the dangers of skin cancer and premature aging and the increased use of sunblock, which inhibits Vitamin D absorption, it’s no wonder most of us could use more Vitamin D (link to ingredient?). That’s where a multivitamin comes in.
Men Sweat. A lot.
Some men sweat like they are a human-sized sponge being wrung out. Sure, women sweat. But most women don’t sweat to the point where they make any machine in the gym absolutely swampy after just one set.
Magnesium is an important nutrient that is lost in sweat. One study showed that magnesium stores can be depleted by 20 percent just through perspiration. And if you sweat that hard, you need magnesium even more than other people. Low levels of magnesium lead to weakness, muscle aches, and fatigue. If the gym is part of your daily routine, you need to stay on top of your magnesium intake.
Men Drink. Sometimes a lot.
It’s no secret that men engage in more risk-seeking behavior than women. Motorcycles, fistfights, and binge-drinking aren’t the exclusive domain of men, but let’s be honest: women are just a little too smart to challenge their friend to beer-bong a forty of Mickey’s.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control found that men are twice as likely to binge drink as women, defined as consuming five or more drinks in a two-hour period. Alcohol intake robs the body of B vitamins. Since three B vitamins (B6, B12, and folate are on the CDCs list of nutrients that are commonly deficient, it’s a good idea to pop a multivitamin if you plan to go to happy hour.
Sex Feels Better
Here is a vitamin tip specifically for men. A single and somewhat common nutrient deficiency can blunt the feeling of an orgasm in men. The famous sex researchers Masters and Johnson found that “the more seminal volume ejaculated, the greater the subjective sensation of pleasure.” Since then, scientists have discovered that zinc is a major component of ejaculate. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition describes how a short-term zinc deficiency can reduce semen volume by almost one-third. Incidentally, these researchers also found that significant levels of zinc were lost during male orgasm, making zinc all that more important if you are sexually active.