By Story By Amanda Harper


No matter how careful you are at counting macros, there are always important vitamins and minerals that are missing from what you eat. Vitamin pills, capsules and powders are designed to supplement shortcomings in your diet.

But how do you know which ones to take? Without the help of a nutritionist, your doctor and a blood panel, it can be hard to know what holes exist in your diet. It gets even more complicated when you take into account that what your body needs changes with your age, lifestyle and basically every single meal you eat.

Research shows that taking a single supplement alone is not always the most effective approach. Often, the absorption depends on a careful balance of other vitamins and minerals. That’s why a men’s multivitamin may be an excellent starting point, especially in combination with a balanced diet that includes lots of leafy greens and carefully chosen proteins. However, even multivitamins may have their pitfalls when it comes to your unique needs. Here are some supplements to consider and compare against your favorite multivitamin.

Vitamin D

If you’re not regularly outdoors with your skin exposed (without sunscreen), you probably aren’t getting enough Vitamin D from the sun. Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D, but it can be hard to know if you’re getting enough. Aside from helping your body process calcium, Vitamin D may help boost testosterone levels in men.


If you haven’t heard that Omega-3 is important, you’ve probably been living under a rock. Its anti-inflammatory properties benefit your cardiovascular health and joints. It boasts a long list of overall benefits, including supporting your vision, offering mental clarity, possibly fighting depression and more. Many multivitamins don’t include Omega-3.

Folic Acid

It’s a common misconception that only women who plan on becoming pregnant need to add folate to their vitamin regimen. In fact, it’s an important tool in everyone’s heart health arsenal. It helps prevent a build-up of homocysteine, a protein that can lead to heart and blood vessel disease if your body produces it in excess.

Vitamin B-12

While you’re young, your body gets most of this vitamin from food. But as you age, absorption declines. B-12 supports the health of your blood cells and nerves. Deficiency can result in anemia, so make sure this is present in your vitamin regimine.


Working out? Creatine helps increase muscle mass, strength and performance. But did you know that it has shown to protect against neurological disease? Research is showing it has promise in fighting Parkinson’s Disease and other conditions. It also may help improve brain function and fight fatigue in day-to-day life.


This powerful antioxidant has been has been linked to a number of health benefits. Research shows astaxanthin may help with male fertility, arthritis, heart health, athletic performance and much more. Eat a lot of Pacific salmon? Congratulations, you’re probably already enjoying the benefits of astaxanthin: it’s what gives the fish its pink color.

What supplements should you skip?

There are supplements on the shelf for just about every vitamin, mineral and herb. However, it’s important to know that there are many that you simply don’t need to add to your daily regimine.


You are most likely getting plenty of selenium in your diet. While this shows promise as an antioxidant, there are lots of other, more beneficial sources for you to check out.


This is much-touted as the best thing for your eyes, but that’s really only because it gets converted into Vitamin A in your body. Most multivitamins have plenty of Vitamin A. Foods rich in Beta-carotene are often nutrient-dense and good for you, so seek those out, instead.


Iron deficiency is rare in men. Trust your doctor’s orders on whether or not you need to add this supplement. Choosing lean meats, seafood, nuts and leafy greens is the best route to getting your daily iron intake.


Talk to your doctor about potassium, especially if you’re on diuretics or are at risk for hypertension and heart disease. For most people, this is an easy nutrient to get through diet alone.

Vitamin C

Science tells us that taking a bunch of Vitamin C to combat the sniffles just doesn’t work. Taking it regularly may reduce the length of a cold by a day, but overdosing when your coworker sneezes is probably a waste of time: just wash your hands!


You’ve probably heard all your life that calcium is needed for health bones. That’s still as true as ever, but new research shows that calcium supplements may not be absorbed properly and may calcify arteries and soft tissues. They may also perpetuate kidney stones. Instead of using calcium supplements, get your calcium from dietary intake. Lactose intolerant? Don’t worry: there are plenty of non-dairy sources, such as leafy greens, salmon, white beans, almonds and broccoli.