Nutritional needs for men and women: Is there a difference?

A bottle of Nutrilite Men's Daily lies next to a plate of avocado toast, a glass of orange juice and a pair of men's glasses.

When it comes to DNA, men and women are about 99% identical. The daily balance of protein, carbs and good-for-you fats our bodies need is pretty gender-neutral. And the amount of calories we require each day largely depends on our body size and activity level.

But there are times when men and women have different nutritional needs. Understanding these differences will go a long way toward helping people get the vitamins and minerals their bodies need, both from food and nutritional supplements.

To help us explore this, we turned to our expert team of research scientists and clinical investigators for Nutrilite™. When it comes to selecting the right supplements for our gender and stage of life, don’t assume a blanket approach will work for you. Here’s what to consider.

A bottle of Nutrilite Women's Daily lies next to a smoothie bowl topped with fruit, a cup of tea and a vase of flowers.

Women need more calcium, vitamin K and iron

Women have to make sure they are getting enough calcium and vitamin K to support bone health—at least 1,000mg a day. And a regular supply of iron is critical to resupply what’s lost during menstruation. Experts recommend up to 18mg a day.

While these minerals are key for supporting women’s health, they are widely under-consumed in their regular diets, Associate Research Scientist Becky Bender said.

“This behavior is observed particularly in young female adults,” she said.  “Therefore, a beneficial way to help close the nutrient gap is by taking dietary supplements.”

A man makes a fruit smoothie using Nutrilite All Plant Protein Powder.

Men need more protein

Protein recommendations are based on weight. Because men generally weigh more than women, they generally have different protein needs than women. It’s not surprising since they are genetically designed to have a higher percentage of muscle and less fat than women. The essential amino acids in protein are key nutrients to developing muscle.

Studies also have found that a diet where a quarter of the daily calories come from protein boosts energy and keeps hunger pangs at bay. One way to make sure you are getting enough healthy proteins is to use a supplement, like Nutrilite All Plant Protein Powder, which is sourced from soy, wheat and yellow peas.

Men need more B vitamins

For the same reason, men can benefit from more B vitamins, particularly thiamin, riboflavin and niacin.

“Those B vitamins are essential to support the energy metabolism, helping the conversion of foods – carbohydrates, proteins and fats – to energy to sustain the human body,” Principle Research Scientist Charles Hu said.

The recommended daily allowance for men is 1.2mg of thiamin, 1.3mg of riboflavin and 16mg of niacin. For women it’s slightly lower: 1.1mgs each of thiamin and riboflavin and 14mg of niacin.

Men need more fiber

While too many carbohydrates—especially ones from processed foods—can lead to weight gain, good carbs are crucial to health as a source of fiber. Dietary fiber plays an important role in managing both weight and blood sugars.

On the whole, because they generally weigh more, men need more fiber than women—about 38 grams per day compared to 25 grams for women ages 19-50.

Sachets from the Nutrilite Men's Pack and the Nutrilite Women's pack lay on a table with friends having coffee.

Before, during and after pregnancy

Another major difference, of course, is the ability to have children. Women’s nutritional needs change with every stage—before, during and after pregnancy.

“Women’s nutrient needs are very different during pre-conception, pregnancy and the postpartum period than for a woman not in these life stages,” Holiday said. “Requirements for folate, iron, omega-3, vitamin B6, iodine and choline are particularly important during this time.”

That’s why prenatal supplements are specially-tailored for women, and why a woman’s nutritional needs are different during that time of her life compared to later years.

If you’re expecting, or even planning on getting pregnant soon, talk to your doctor about what nutritional changes and supplements you will need, Holiday recommended.

Bottles of Nutrilite Men's Daily and Nutrilite Women's Daily are surrounded by tomatoes, purple carrot, pomegranate and turmeric, among their other botanical ingredients.

Learn more

Paying attention to your changing nutritional needs as you go through each stage of life will help you get the nutrients you need through your food or supplements.

Need some help? Look for supplements that are designed for your age and gender, such as Nutrilite Men’s Daily Multivitamin and Nutrilite Women’s Daily Multivitamin. The Men’s Daily is tailored specifically to support men’s immunity, energy, muscle and heart health needs, while the Women’s Daily targets a woman’s immunity, energy, eye and bone health needs.†

Both multivitamins help fill nutritional gaps with more than 21 essential vitamins and minerals as well as 200mg of organic plant nutrients.

Want even more nutrients? Choose pre-sorted packs tailored for you like the Nutrilite Men’s Pack and the Nutrilite Women’s Pack, each with extra nutrients targeting men’s and women’s individual needs.

To learn more about these or other Nutrilite products, please visit the websites below. And for more helpful information on vitamins, supplements and other tools for healthy living, check out more blogs at Amway Connections.


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†This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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