While biological males and females have similar requirements for most vitamins and nutrients, following puberty, some of those requirements make subtle changes that are best addressed with gender-specific multivitamins. A woman’s menstrual cycle leaves her physically depleted in certain nutrients each month, and then her body barely has time to recover before it begins all over again. For this reason, pre-menopausal women require more iron in their diets than men do. Most women’s multivitamins contain higher amounts of iron than what’s found in the best multivitamins for men. Men should not take supplemental iron unless they are specifically diagnosed as anemic. Because excess iron isn’t eliminated from the body through urination, it can build up to toxic levels—especially in men. Iron overload can cause specific health issues which would need to be diagnosed and addressed.
After age thirty, women’s bone density declines at a faster rate than men’s. This means that a good multivitamin and mineral supplement for women will typically include higher amounts of calcium for bone health and vitamin D, to aid the body in absorbing calcium. Women’s multivitamins are also often higher in folate than those for men. Folate is especially necessary for women during childbearing years because it reduces the risk of specific birth defects.
The best multivitamins for men will typically be higher in zinc than those for women. Women require 8mg of zinc per day, whereas men require 11mg. Zinc is required in a biological male’s body in order to produce testosterone. It also supports a healthy prostate and is needed for protein synthesis. Men require higher amounts of protein in their diets than women.