Vitamins play an important role in our nutrition and growth. Food -- provided that we're eating right -- offers plenty of vitamins and nutrients. But, the truth of it is, men don't get enough vitamins in their daily diet. On average, men need to eat 350 percent more vegetables and 150 percent more fruit than they're currently taking in [source: McMillen].
There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Absorption occurs once vitamins get to the small intestine. Water-soluble vitamins have active transports for absorption, which means molecules in the intestines pick them up in the intestine so they can then enter the bloodstream. Since they dissolve in water, they are eliminated from your body daily. That's why some critics of vitamin supplementation say it simply results in the creation of "expensive urine."
As the name implies, fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat. This happens via fat-digesting bile in the liver and small intestine. After the vitamins are broken down, they're absorbed into the intestinal wall and stored until needed.
Regardless of whether you choose fat-soluble or water-soluble vitamins, it's important not to overdo it, as mega doses can cause serious problems.
And, yes, the nutritional needs of men and women are somewhat different. Men need certain vitamins more than women and vice versa. Over the course of the following pages we'll help you understand which vitamins should be on your radar.