Meat is a great source of B12. :)

5 Essential Vitamins for Men

Meat is a great source of B12. :)

We’ve talked about essential supplements quite a bit; those pills and powders that help us recover, train longer and with more intensity. But what about vitamins? You know, those things you can find at the local grocery store – no need to even set foot in a supplements store.

In this article we’ll look at the vitamins men need most. The list is dominated by things that we may have deficiencies in, or nutrients that we simply need more of because they’re so vital to our health and performance.

1. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 helps our bodies produce red blood cells. Why are red blood cells important? They’re the cells that carry nutrients and take away waste from our organs and other cells in our body – in our case, namely our muscles.

They usher in testosterone, HGH, and other powerful hormones and nutrients to our muscles when we’re training. They also take away the glycogen and lactic acid that builds up in our muscles when we work out. B12 also gives us more energy. Although deficiencies are rare because B12 is found in meat, take 1,000 IU daily in the morning or after training. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian you NEED to add a B12 vitamin to your daily routine as our source for this powerful nutrient is animals – whether it’s their meat or dairy.

Other reasons to supplement with B12…

As many as 30 percent of people hospitalized for depression are reported to have a vitamin B12 deficiency, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Vitamin B12 has also been shown to increase mental clarity and reduce short-term memory loss.

2. Vitamin D

Study after study is showing that we don’t get enough vitamin D – even in sunnier climates. Vitamin D helps improve mood, among various other benefits. It also “free’s” the testosterone in our body that is bound to a protein.

Free T is viewed by many as the only relevant form of testosterone in our bodies as it’s the only form that is free to repair tissue. Get your D levels tested by your doctor, but you may need to be taking up to 3,000-5,000 IU twice daily; once upon rising, then again before bed.

3. Zinc

You have to be careful when supplementing with zinc as we can overdose. When we DO overdose it’ll show itself in a metalic taste in our mouths. So start off with 15 IU’s daily, but once again, you may need more, so check your levels with your doctor.

Zinc is very important for men as it inhibits aramatase from working. Aramatase is an enzyme that converts testosterone in to estrogen – something we clearly don’t want to happen. Many of us suffer from low levels of zinc in our system to deffinitely think about grabbing some at your local grocery store next time you’re out shopping.

4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C not only helps men maintain healthy testosterone levels but it helps prevent many common diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, cataracts, and lead toxicity. Vitamin C can also assist in the treatment hypertension, cancer, diabetes, and the common cold.

Men should be taking about 90 mg a day.

5. Fish Oils

Monounsaturated fats, namely omega-3’s have many a healthy benefit. They improve brain function and mental clarity, but they also help guys like you and I maintain and even gain healthy testosterone levels.

It’s hard to take too many fish oils, they’re that good for us. I take 3, 1200 mg pills upon rising and before bed. When choosing a fish oil, quality is very important. Just like the quality of the meat and fish you consume is very important. With that said, here’s the fish oil supplement I recommend: Omega Blue Fish Oils

Why do we take vitamins?

We no longer fulfill the nutrient requirements our bodies need from our foods. We don’t eat enough of the right meats, fruits, and vegetables, and those food groups no longer contain the same quality or potency of nutrients – they’re “watered down” from where they were even 50 years ago.

Couple that with the fact that we’re breaking our bodies down in the gym and on the playing field – or in the ring – and the need for these essential vitamins becomes even greater. To maintain our health – both long term and short term – head to your local grocer and pick up the vitamins above.

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  • moises

    Great post! sometimes we just remember to train and forget the vitamins … good job!

    • Chad Howse


  • Jake

    I find that just taking 1000 IU of Vitamin d, it ends up going to waste. Sometimes our bodies dont need such high amounts.

    • Chad Howse

      Interesting, Jake. How do you test this? For some 1K might be too much, but it’s rare. We need much more than was previously thought – in many cases. The best thing to do is to go to your doctor and get your levels checked.


    Great post Chad!

  • turling

    Are these deficiencies you reference picked up on a standard blood test? Meaning, how do I find out if I’m zinc deficient, for example?

    • Chad Howse

      Yes you can ask your doctor to test for these.

  • Vincent

    Great post as always. I’ve read the most of your blog in the past and I saw you referring to some books through out your articles. I’ve you find the time, a post about some great books would be appreciated.

    Besides that, keep up the good work. Just bought the PowerHowse Challenge and started this week. Great read and the program seems to be great for improving your athleticism and gaining lean muscle mass.

    • Chad Howse

      Great to have you on the PHC team man! Can’t wait to see your transformation. I’m writing an article “4 authors every man needs to know” right now. Should give you 5-10 books to read.

  • Todd – FM

    That 30% depression stat for those lacking B12 is surprising.

    I live in a sunny climate (San Diego) and get about 10 hrs a week in the sun in just shorts. But November through March a bit less as I don’t run on the beach as much. Would you suggest taking vitamin D during those months?

    • Chad Howse

      I would, and I would regardless of the sun you get, just a bit less. Check your levels but maybe do 1K IU’s daily.