Can Men Take Women's Vitamins? (a Science-Backed Answer)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: March 20, 2024
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I've spent years researching and understanding nutrition and have seen countless gender-specific products.

Vitamins, however, are not just another marketing gimmick. While I always advocate for a balanced diet, it's clear that our bodies sometimes need a little extra help.

Women's multivitamins might look appealing, but they're not vitamins tailored for men.

Let me share why based on my findings.

Quick Summary

  • Men should not take women's vitamins as both genders have different mineral needs.
  • Men need to take vitamins meant for them as they contain essential antioxidants to support their prostate health.
  • Men require 900 micrograms of vitamin A compared to women's 700 micrograms, and men's recommended daily zinc intake is 11mg, while women only need 8mg.
  • Personally, understanding the distinct nutritional needs of each gender ensures optimal health and prevents potential side effects from inappropriate supplementation.

Can Men Take Women’s Vitamins?

Different women's vitamin capsules on a table

No, men shouldn’t take women’s multivitamins.

Vitamins should support gender-specific nutrition and have a wide range of essential fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, and water-soluble vitamins B and C.

Men and women also have different mineral needs.

The food and nutrition board claims that multivitamins should include:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum

These are daily requirements developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and they help to set the nutritional guidelines in the US.

Adequate calcium intake, along with other nutrients like vitamin D, supports bone health. Nevertheless, a woman's demand for calcium intake, for example, increases significantly in adult women because bone health in the female body loses density faster than men's.

Men’s vs Women’s Vitamins

A close up shot of vitamin tablets

Vitamin manufacturers provide different formulas for men, women, and older adults to provide enough nutrients for a specific age or health concerns.

Here are some reasons why it’s not advisable for men to take women’s vitamins.

Protection Against Gender-Specific Conditions

Men's multivitamins often have more selenium and lycopene, aiding prostate health and potentially reducing cancer risk [1].

On the other hand, good women's vitamins have more of the B vitamin folate, known as folic acid, which is essential for women in their childbearing age to prevent birth defects. This nutrient is typically prescribed to pregnant women.

Multivitamin formulations for women also provide more iron, suitable for pre-menopausal women with an increased need for this mineral because of the losses during their periods.

A man taking a vitamins while holding a glass of water

Separate vitamin formulas for men and women align with their differing nutritional guidelines.

Men require less iron and folate but need more of other nutrients: 900 micrograms of vitamin A (compared to women's 700), 30 more milligrams of vitamin K, 15 extra milligrams of vitamin C, and 3 more milligrams of zinc, plus increased riboflavin, niacin, choline, thiamin, and chromium.

Distinct Nutrient Needs

Women's multivitamins are rich in iron because of their higher dietary needs, particularly during menstruation which can deplete iron levels monthly.

Men don't lose blood like women, so they need less iron. Excess iron intake for men could lead to overload.

“Men can use women's multivitamins if they choose formulas that are low in or free from the mineral iron. Increased iron stores may raise the risk of coronary heart disease.”

- Jody Braverman, CPT, FNS, RYT

Zinc requirements also differ. Women need 8mg daily, while men require 11mg. Zinc is crucial for metabolizing nutrients and producing testosterone, with deficiencies potentially causing erectile dysfunction.

Taking women's vitamins, men might not meet their zinc needs unless supplemented by diet.

What Should Men’s Vitamins Contain?

Men's vitamins tablet on a table

Men’s vitamins should contain the essential antioxidants necessary to support prostate health:

  • Vitamin C [2]
  • Vitamin A [3]
  • Vitamin E [4]

Men's multivitamins should also have the following to promote better nerve function and provide energy:

  • Magnesium
  • Niacin
  • Potassium
  • Zinc

Lastly, it should also have:

  • L-arginine for healthy blood vessel tone and good sexual health
  • L-glutamine to support the immune system and the musculoskeletal system

A women’s multivitamin may contain some of these nutrients, but their doses may not suit men, thus may not provide the expected health benefits. It's better to stick with multivitamins for men, to ensure you're getting enough nutrient dosages.

Hormonal Fluctuations and Needs

Men's and women's vitamin needs differ due to hormonal fluctuations, especially testosterone. Here are five issues men might face if they take women's vitamins:

  • Brain Function: Testosterone impacts brain function; women's vitamins may not have adequate levels for men.
  • Testosterone Production: Women's vitamins might not meet men's specific needs for testosterone production.
  • Anxiety: Testosterone reduces anxiety; imbalances can affect stress perception.
  • Depression: Lower testosterone in men can increase depression; women's vitamins may lack the necessary nutrients.
  • Spatial Abilities: Testosterone affects cognitive capacity; women's vitamins might not support these abilities in men.


What Happens If a Man Takes Women's Multivitamins Regularly?

If a man takes women's multivitamins regularly, he might not get the proper amounts of certain essential nutrients like zinc and could ingest excessive iron, potentially leading to health issues.

Are The Nutrient Dosages in Women's Vitamins Harmful to Men?

Yes, the nutrient dosages in women's vitamins can harm men because they might consume too much iron, leading to iron overload and other health complications.


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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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