Men's Health- Good Vitamin and Supplement Choices
By: Dr. Gary Bellman on September 30, 2013
While eating a well-balanced diet is a great way to get the vitamins and minerals, our bodies need for optimum cell function, it’s impossible to get all of them from every meal. Unless you’re growing your own food and it’s all organic, pesticide, and hormone free, you cook all your own meals, and you never eat out, you’re going to need at least a multivitamin…
Scan labels to check if a multi contains 100% of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of the 21 essential nutrients. Rather than mega-doses of nutrients, look for one pill that provides 100% of your daily requirements for as many different vitamins and minerals as possible. (amounts exceeding 100% are generally a waste) When choosing a multi-vitamin, purchasing a men’s formula, without extra iron may be the best choice. Studies that have been published have proven excess levels of the mineral could increase your risk of heart disease. Also, keep in mind most multivitamins don’t contain adequate vitamin D. If a multi provides less than 1,000 IU…and most do, you’ll still need a D supplement.
Vitamin D’s best-known role is to keep bones healthy by increasing the intestinal absorption of calcium. Without enough vitamin D, the body can only absorb 10%-15% of dietary calcium, but 30%-40% absorption is the rule when vitamin reserves are normal. Low levels of vitamin D can lead to low bone calcium stores, increasing the risk of fractures. If vitamin D did nothing more than protect bones, it would still be essential. A deficiency of vitamin D does often occur in men, especially those that are older or aren’t exposed to much sunlight.
Omega-Fatty Acids: Omega-3, one of the most popular supplements today, are essential to building cell membranes. Because the body doesn’t naturally produce omega-3s, we have to get them through diet, but few foods contain significant amounts. Fatty fish is high in omega-3s; a half fillet of salmon contains up to 4,000mg, but if you don’t eat at least two servings weekly or consume flaxseeds, nuts, or canola oil daily, you’re most likely deficient.
Most experts say to take 1,000 to 2,000 mg daily. A supplement that delivers both EPA and DHA, the two active fatty acids in omega-3s may be the best choice. Fish oil is better than plant-derived supplements, which don’t contain both acids.
Selenium has been linked to numerous studies showing that an increased selenium consumption to a decreased risk of cancers of the prostate, colon, and lungs, among others. (200 mg a day; more when you’re sick)
CoQ-10 can lower your blood pressure while boosting your levels of ecSOD, an enzyme thought to protect blood vessels from damage. CoQ-10 may also improve sperm quality, Italian researchers say. Japanese researchers found it can increase fat burning during exercise.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that crowd out the disease-causing bad bacteria in your gut. Some can reduce diarrhea caused by certain infections, antibiotics, chemotherapy, irritable bowel syndrome, and may also boost your immune function.
Protein Powder: You can get plenty of protein in your diet, but protein powder has other advantages; It’s convenient and generally lower in calories than an entire ‘high protein’ meal. Drinking a protein shake after every workout may speed up muscle recovery and supply your body with the amino acids needed for muscle growth. There are two widely used proteins: whey and casein. Whey is absorbed more quickly by the body, while casein is digested slowly-providing the body with a longer-lasting supply of muscle-building nutrients. That’s why many researchers recommend taking a mixture of the two to help sustain the release of amino acids.
Green Tea: Green tea may combat fat. Animals who are given the extract in studies gain less weight and burn substantially more fat than animals getting a placebo. You can drink the tea and ideally it’s recommend about eight glasses a day; or go the easier route and just take a supplement. Aim for 90mg up to three times daily. As there are health benefits, remember that green tea also contains caffeine.
Korean Red Panax Ginseng: Men with erectile dysfunction who took this supplement noticed improvement, according to a Korean study. The herb may also protect your heart; in a recent Canadian study, a daily dose reduced arterial stiffness.
Dose: 900 mg, up to three times a day*
Lycopene: Found in tomatoes, this potent antioxidant may reduce your risk of prostate cancer. Researchers say it may work by altering hormone metabolism and by causing cancer cells to self-destruct. Dose: 15-20 mg/day*
Resveratrol- You can’t stop the clock, but you can slow it down. This chemical, found in the skin of grapes, seems to interact directly with genes that regulate aging. Resveratrol has been shown to promote DNA repair in animals, enhance blood flow to people’s brains, and halt the growth of prostate-cancer and colon-cancer cells.
As these are just some examples, the vitamins and supplements we take may do more harm than good. Be sure to consult with your doctor before making any individual changes to your supplement regimen and to check for any possible counter interactions with medicines you’re currently taking.
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