The Best Workout Supplements For Older Men [Complete Guide]

Welcome friend! In this post, you will find out what are the best workout supplements for older men looking to improve strength and muscle mass.

As we get older our ability to build muscle mass and strength declines due to metabolic and hormonal changes. Workout supplements can be used to deter these changes to an extent.

Many older men also suffer from reduced appetite and can have tough time-consuming enough protein to optimize building and maintaining muscle mass.

For men, the greatest hormonal change that happens with age is the reduction in natural testosterone levels. Testosterone is an extremely important hormone for muscle strength and mass as well as overall male health.

Besides doing strength training and having an active life, it’s possible to support your natural testosterone production with supplements. We are not talking about hormones or anabolic steroids but supplements that allow your body to function optimally for producing testosterone.

There are also supplements and minerals that improve your ability to increase strength and muscle mass no matter what your age is.

The important thing to remember is that there are no magic bullets when it comes to physical fitness (except anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs). The most important things are a well-formulated exercise program, a healthy diet, and sufficient rest that allows you to recover from the stress of exercise.

Supplements are exactly what the name suggests, supplements. They won’t magically make you muscular and burn fat if you are not willing to put in the work, rest enough and eat healthily.

Supplements can sometimes have a noticeable effect if everything else is done correctly, especially in older men because supplements can help you achieve a hormonal and metabolic state that more closely resembles that of a younger man.

DISCLAIMER: Even though the supplements displayed here are considered generally safe, we can not take any responsibility for possible negative health effects you may have from them. We are simply providing the information and product recommendations for your to make the decision of use. Always talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet because they may have negative side effects with your medication and medical conditions.

The Best Workout Supplements For Older Men To Build Muscle

The most important supplement for building muscle mass in older men is protein powder. Supplemental protein powder is in no way mandatory for building muscle mass, however.

If you eat a healthy diet with several meals of protein a day, you won’t probably need a supplemental protein powder. If you have trouble composing a daily diet that includes enough protein, a protein powder can be an easy solution.

High protein foods are The Best Workout Supplements For Older Men

Older people actually need more protein than younger people to keep their muscle mass because of the hormonal and metabolic changes that tend to make your body to lose muscle mass.

So if you are not getting enough protein, you will likely lose both strength and muscle mass. This study showed that older men gained strength and muscle mass simply by adding 30 grams of whey protein to their normal diet. What’s the most remarkable thing is that this group didn’t even do strength training.

The group that had both the protein supplement and exercised, got even better results as would be expected. This just goes to show how much impact simply diet can have on your health and that exercise and diet combined are the route to victory when it comes to health and physical performance.

The two muscle-building supplements we would suggest for older men are both protein powders due to this fact.

Whey

Our first recommendation is a milk-based Whey protein. Whey is one of the two proteins found on cow’s milk, casein being the other one. Whey is very easily digestible and easy on the stomach. The science is very clear on whey protein ability to improve muscle mass like shown by this study.

Whey protein contains a perfect combination of essential amino acids in a biologically available form and it has become the supplement industry standard for improving recovery and muscle mass.

There are different quality grades of whey depending on how pure they are. The purest form is referred to as whey protein isolate and it contains only trace amounts of casein and lactose. This is important for the fact that lactose and casein can both cause digestion and even allergic reactions to some people.

My recommendation for whey isolate is the Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate. It’s made from the purest ingredients and doesn’t contain even trace amounts of antibiotics and hormones like some brands.

Rice Protein

Our second protein recommendation is meant for vegans and vegetarians. If you are a vegan it is especially important to supplement with protein as a senior as it’s much harder to obtain enough digestible protein from a vegan diet.

Fortunately these days there are many completely vegan protein options. The most common ones are soy protein, hemp protein, rice protein, and pea protein. My top recommendation would be rice protein because of the amino acid profile, taste, and texture.

Unfermented soy has some question marks towards its possible hormonal functions and it’s a known allergenic and can be hard on the stomach. Hemp and pea protein generally taste rather bitter and their amino acid profile is not as good as rice proteins.

Rice protein is virtually as effective as whey protein so there is no need to suffer from lack of high-quality protein in your diet if you are a vegan (which is encouraged if you know how to plan your diet wisely).

Our recommendation for rice protein is the NAKED RICE – Organic Brown Rice Protein Powder which has no added ingredients, only pure rice protein.

 

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Supplements for increasing testosterone in older men

Magnesium

Magnesium is a common mineral found in many foods in our diet. It seems to be very beneficial for improving testosterone, especially in older men. This review of the scientific literature concluded that undernutrition and resulting mineral deficiencies frequently coexist with reduced hormonal levels in older men. They found that magnesium seems to play an especially important role as stated in the abstract:

“In particular, there is evidence that magnesium exerts a positive influence on anabolic hormonal status, including testosterone, in men.”

Even though magnesium is an abundant mineral in the soil that is vital for our health, it seems that many older men suffer from a lack of magnesium. Besides causing low testosterone levels, magnesium deficiency can cause symptoms like muscle cramps, osteoporosis, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, constipation and it’s even associated with mental disorders. Magnesium is a mineral that helps your muscles relax and lower your blood pressure and stress.

In nature, we get our magnesium from the food and water we digest. Magnesium is especially high in whole wheat and many vegetables and fruits like spinach, nuts, cocoa, black beans, avocado, and banana. If you have been eating a diet consisting mainly of processed red meat and white wheat without an abundant amount of vegetables your magnesium levels are likely not optimal.

Besides including whole foods high in magnesium you can increase your magnesium levels with a magnesium supplement. There are several different common magnesium salts that are used in the supplements. They differ mainly in absorption, meaning that you need to eat less of the types with better absorption. Common magnesium salts include magnesium oxide, citrate, taurate, stearate and several others.

My recommendation is the MgSport High Absorption Magnesium (affiliate link) which is a high absorption magnesium that has a patented formula consisting of magnesium hydroxide and magnesium oxide monohydrate that is claimed to be three times more effective than magnesium citrate which is the industry standard. It includes vitamin B6, E, and D for better absorption.

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Zinc

The second supplement recommendation for improving testosterone levels is another mineral that we often get too little of in the diet. We are talking about zinc. Zinc, just like magnesium is abundant in nature but our modern diet unfortunately is low in zinc.

Zinc is related with testosterone levels in men of all ages. This study showed that testosterone levels correlated with cellular zinc concentrations. Even young men had significant reduction in testosterone levels after 20 weeks of zinc restriction. This tells us that all men, including older men, should make sure they are getting enough zin in their diet just like magnesium.

Besides increasing testosterone levels zinc is very important for skin and prostate health, immune function, and hair growth, and protein synthesis. So zinc supports building strength and muscles both directly and indirectly through increased testosterone levels.

Good sources of zinc include seafood, meat, legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains, dairy, and eggs. Even if you include all those in your diet consistently, it might beneficial for testosterone levels to supplement with zinc.

My recommendation for a zinc supplement is the Pure Encapsulations Zinc Picolinate (affiliate link) which is a highly absorbable form of zinc.

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Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is an old Ayurvedic herb that has been regarded as an adaptogen and source of male virility. The science on ashwagandha is unclear if it actually increases testosterone in healthy males but it has been shown to increase testosterone levels in infertile men and improve fertility. It is possible older men suffering from low testosterone levels will benefit from the herb in a similar way.

Besides potentially increasing testosterone, fertility, and libido, ashwagandha is very good for reducing perceived stress levels. It has also been shown to increase strength and muscle mass in men doing resistance training. This is likely partly due to the increases in testosterone.

With herbal supplements, it’s especially important to keep in mind potential drug interactions. Many herbal supplements consist of hundreds of organic compounds that aren’t that well researched, so the effects can be unpredictable when combines with pharmaceuticals.  That’s why I would recommend ashwagandha only under the supervision of a medical professional.

D-Aspartic Acid

D-Aspartic Acid is a controversial supplement for increasing testosterone. It has been shown to increase testosterone in untrained men but to have no significant effect in (strength)trained men. This study speculates that

“elderly population, with decreased testosterone levels, may benefit from DAA supplementation combined with resistance training, as some research has demonstrated that DAA can improve testosterone levels in untrained men.”

So DAA might be something you could try to improve your testosterone levels. The usual recommendation is to take 3 grams per day. My recommended brand is the KOR Naturals DAA

The KOR Natural DAA comes in capsules, which is great because DAA tastes pretty horrible as raw powder form.

The best supplements for improving physical performance in older men

The three supplements for improving physical performance and fitness for older men are the three C’s: Creatine, (L-)Carnitine, and Carnosine. I know the names seem very similar to each other and might sound very foreign to you, but they all possess significant potential for boosting your physical and even mental ability.

Even though the names are very similar, the substances have very different functions and purposes for use.

Creatine

Creatine is a substance found in your body and a supplement that has been extensively researched and been shown to improve your physical strength and improve muscle mass and anaerobic performance.

Creatine is naturally found especially found in red meat as it’s stored in the muscle cells. It is an organic compound your body produces to offer energy to muscle cells under heavy anaerobic work like lifting heavy objects and sprinting.

Supplementing with creatine is especially beneficial for vegans and vegetarians. My recommendation for a creatine supplement is OPTIMUM NUTRITION Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder (affiliate link)

L-Carnitine

Carnitine is an organic compound involved in metabolism in most mammals including humans that has been associated with increases in muscle mass and strength. It has been shown to be particularly effective in enhancing post-exercise recovery in seniors at risk of skeletal decline.

Carnitine may also offer use in treating male infertility as it’s been shown to improve sperm quality and testicular health. It’s not a far fetch it might improve testosterone levels as well through this function.

Natural sources for L-Carnitine include meats, dairy, and asparagus. Older men might benefit from an L-Carnitine supplement however and my recommendation is the Divine Bounty Acetyl L-Carnitine (affiliate link).

Carnosine

Our last recommendation is carnosine. Carnosine is a compound found in very high concentrations in the muscles and the brain. It has been associated with longevity and strength. Especially older people can benefit from its use. My recommendation for a Carnosine supplement is the Life Extension Super Carnosine (affiliate link).

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Essential vitamins for older men

Many people, not just older men, suffer from significant mineral and vitamin deficiencies that prevent their bodies from functioning optimally. It’s important to realize the vitamin and mineral needs are different for men and women.

Older men can especially benefit from a high-quality vitamin that’s target specifically for male health. These vitamins usually contain optimal levels of minerals and vitamins needed for healthy hormonal function, libido and male health.

My recommendation for male vitamins is the Swisse Men’s Premium Ultivite Multivitamin(affiliate link).

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Conclusion

I hope you found our tips for the best workout supplements for older men useful and will try them yourself. If you have any questions or suggestions, please please them on the comments section below and I will get back to you soon.

Supplements can be a great way to make sure your body is functioning optimally and performing to its full potential. They can’t replace a healthy diet, exercise, and rest however and you should only use supplements once you have all those in check.

Supplements can sometimes have a significant performance and cognitive boost if you are deficient in a crucial vitamin or mineral. Otherwise, the benefits are supple but usually noticeable after a couple of weeks.

If you enjoy reading about strength training and health tips for older people and seniors please subscribe to our newsletter and bookmark this site.

See you next time,

Elder Strength

10 thoughts on “The Best Workout Supplements For Older Men [Complete Guide]”

  1. Another well thought out post. This is the kind of piece that can easily take bad and dangerous turns, but I think you lay out a good case, with reasonable suggestions and appropriate cautions throughout.

    I really liked the line, “Supplements are exactly what the name suggests, supplements. They won’t magically make you muscular and burn fat for you if you are not willing to put in the work and eat healthy.” That cannot be said enough. I do supplement with protein powders (appreciate the brown rice suggestion, hadn’t thought of that) and various minerals and the like, but it’s all for nothing if you don’t don’t take care of the rest of the equation.

    One part did make me laugh, “Many older men also suffer from reduced appetite…”

    If ONLY that were my problem!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment John! You can’t really emphasize that part with supplements enough, after all they are basically just small pieces of your overall diets. The true foundation of health(and to some extent youth) is a reasonably healthy diet, enough exercise and activity, enough sleep, avoiding stress and generally enjoying living. Supplements won’t magically take your problems away, but they can definitely help in some purposes, if your lifestyle is in check otherwise. One other important thing to take into account is that supplements are not medicine, but they can still have drug like effects, side effects and dangerous interaction with medical drugs you might be taking.

      I know what you mean about the reduced appetite lol, but it really is a thing. Especially with elderly men in hospital care often suffer from lack of appetite that can cause malnourishment. Then again most senior men likely suffer from the opposite problem just like you stated. All the best to you!

      Reply
  2. Hey Elder Strength,

    Great article!

    Good to see other people “banging the drum” about how hormonal changes and lowering testosterone levels for men can have a negative impact on the ability to gain muscle and even lead to a loss of existing muscle.

    I’m personally a fan of Whey protein and have been advising that it is something my dad starts supplementing with as well.

    Great advice for supplements that aid with testosterone production. The only ones I would add are Vitamin D & boron.

    Highly informative as always, keep putting this great info out there!

    Reply
    • Thank you for the comment Nate! Vitamins and minerals are definitely useful for boosting testosterone levels in many older men as deficiencies are surprisingly common. Vitamin D and boron are definitely supplements we would recommend, especially if you live up north and don’t get much sunshine during the winter months.

      Reply
    • Hi Mike and thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s been a while since I looked up the actual research for Tribulus, but it’s my understanding that there isn’t any real evidence for it raising testosterone levels. I remember it might have some benefits for libido but that’s about it. A more important consideration is that most herbal supplements are expensive, don’t have any meaningful effects, and can potentially interact with medications or be toxic if consumed in large doses. Unfortunately sometimes with lethal consequences. So definitely not something you should mess around with without running it by your physician. A healthy balanced diet, healthy bodyfat and enough sleep will do much more for your testosterone levels. Once those are in check you can consider the supplements I recommended here. But now that you mentioned tribulus, I think I’ll look into the research and do a short article about my findings.

      Reply
  3. I have found intermittent fasting really beneficial. Is it a good idea taking these on empty stomach ? This site has been very helpful thank you for your time, and sharing your knowledge.

    Reply
    • Glad to hear intermittent fasting is working for you Mark! Proteins should be safe and comfortable to take on an empty stomach since they are basically food. With everything else, it’s pretty much personal preference. Some people have iron stomachs and others are very sensitive. Magnesium especially can cause diarrhea and gas if you are sensitive and taking it with a large meal will likely reduce the effect.

      Reply

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