Prenatal vitamins are meant for pregnant women or those who are trying to conceive. However, this does not stop males from taking over-the-counter prenatal vitamins too.
As per Dr. Elist, this is because of the prevalence of various nutritional deficiencies in both men and women. Prenatal vitamins with the inclusion of many nutrients seem like a good thing to consume.
Jason M Scovell points out in his research that while there is a link between congenital abnormalities in babies and micronutrient deficiency in parents, there is no conclusive study that shows that supplements like prenatal vitamins have a positive effect on the link. Hence, if you are taking the medication for this reason, you might as well not.
However, the question that arises is, can men take these vitamins to begin with?
Can Men Take Prenatal Vitamins? - The Answer Might Surprise You
Increase in Calcium
Regardless of whether you are a male or female, your body needs calcium for proper bone development and strength. According to Katherine Zeratsky of Mayo Clinic, men do not require calcium supplements since they get the desired amount via their diet.
However, for those of you who are deficient in it, taking prenatal vitamins can allow you to fix the deficiency. This is because over-the-counter prenatal vitamins have up to 300 mg of calcium, which allows both men and women to meet their nutritional requirements.
However, various Harvard Health Publications mention the fact that taking prenatal vitamins for boosting the calcium level in the body can also lead to cardiovascular diseases in men.
A primary ingredient of prenatal vitamins is iron. This is included in the medication since pregnant women need the extra iron to supply enough oxygen to the baby and placenta.
However, men only need up to 8 mg of iron. This is quite low when you consider the 27 mg women need and the 30 mg offered by over-the-counter prenatal vitamins. According to Jill Lee of Livestrong, these statistics show us that prenatal vitamins may contain too much iron to be advantageous for men.
Instead, it can cause various diseases in males which include gastrointestinal issues, liver problems, low blood pressure, and liver damage. Hence, if you are a healthy male, a prenatal vitamin will do you more harm than good.
However, those of you who have kidney problems or are in need of extra iron might find these vitamins to be useful. Just make sure you use them after being prescribed by your doctors.
Risk of Prostate Cancer
One of the major arguments against the intake of prenatal vitamins by men is the fact that it tends to cause prostate cancer. According to MenHealth, most prenatal vitamins contain one ingredient that is not a friendly one for men, and that is omega 3.
It is a known fact that omega 3 is the culprit which tends to cause prostate cancer in men. Additionally, the inclusion of a high amount of folic acid does not help the case either.
Most prenatal vitamins contain up to 1000 mcg of folic acid, and men require none of it. It is safe to say that such an amount is very high for men and is bound to lead to the occurrence of adverse consequences.
One of this consequence is prostate cancer. A study conducted by the University of Southern California authenticates this conclusion since it showed that those men who took folic acid supplements found themselves to be at a higher risk of prostate cancer than those who didn’t.
Healthy Skin and Immune System
One silver lining of taking over-the-counter prenatal vitamins is that the supplements play an integral part in improving your immune system.
Since it is equipped with various vitamins and minerals, it comes as no surprise that the product tends to strengthen the immune system so that it can ward off diseases. This is also a much-needed feature since expecting mothers need to fight off infections to ensure the safety of their unborn children.
Men who take prenatal vitamins can also expect to benefit from this advantage. Moreover, they can reap the perks of the product by exhibiting healthier skin than before. This is because these vitamins tend to aid in healthy cell growth that leaves the skin with a glow.
Is It Worth It?
The question that remains is, are the handful advantages of consuming prenatal vitamins worth the various disadvantages men expose themselves to? Before you take the supplement, ask yourself whether you are ready to be at a risk of prostate cancer and liver diseases.
All in all, no hard and fast rule states that men are prohibited from taking over-the-counter prenatal vitamins. In some cases, your doctor might even prescribe them to you.
However, we advise you to take the supplements only if your physician prescribes them. Do not buy them over the counter at a local drug store. Instead, opt for other supplements which contain nutrients in the amount you require them.
You don’t want to put your long-term health at risk merely for a few advantages. Trust us when we tell you that the benefits that you reap are not worth getting cancer, and that is a severe risk of the vitamins.
Make wise decisions and do not put your health at risk. You deserve better than this.