Selecting Vitamins and Supplements for the Healthy Man

Though proper diet and exercise are universally considered the most important factors for good health, men are increasingly turning to vitamins and supplements in hopes of an improved life. With countless products available at a wide range of prices, a starting point is challenging, though most doctors would recommend a multivitamin become the very first supplement added to one’s diet. While multivitamins ensure the recommended allotment of several essential minerals and vitamins, there are many additional products that can still prove beneficial for men. Supplements can provide males with much-desired benefits like avoiding sickness, improving heart health, maintaining strong bones, increased sexual health, and even boosting energy levels.

Here is a look at some popular vitamins and supplements that men may consider taking.

Multivitamins — If everyone consumed a medically sound diet, there would be no need for multivitamins and men could simply supplement with individual vitamins as necessary. Yet, since 92% of Americans are deficient in one or more essential vitamins and minerals, taking a daily multivitamin makes a lot of sense, especially given the tendency of males to grab fast foods on the go. Many products that are formulated specifically for men are available and most are even tailored for specific ages. Be prepared for these pills to be a little bulky, as a good multivitamin should provide the recommended daily allotment (RDA) of Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B-6, and B-12, as well as folic acid, calcium, potassium, and other essential minerals.

Vitamin C

One often encounters this essential nutrient labelled as ascorbic acid in various foods. Indeed, few things are more critical to overall health than a sufficient amount of Vitamin C, as it provides antioxidant help in letting the body develop collagen for healthy cells. Vitamin C also is believed to keep the immune system strong and many use this nutrient to reduce the risk of a range of ailments, including the common cold. Eating a diet filled with fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, peppers, and strawberries, remains the best way to get this nutrient, but adding it as an individual dietary supplement still makes sense, since Vitamin C is easily absorbed by the body and excess amounts are rapidly secreted in urine.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is essential for bone health , as it enables the body to absorb mineral from food properly, like calcium and phosphorous. A deficiency of Vitamin D becomes increasingly dangerous as a person ages and places one at risk for osteoporosis. The good news is that a balanced diet and an appropriate amount of sunlight usually enable one to receiver a sufficient amount of the nutrient. However, an added supplement often makes sense as one ages, especially if lactose intolerant, a vegetarian, or simply not good at getting sun. Be careful to consume a recommended amount (usually between 600 and 800 IU per day), since an excess of Vitamin D is also not healthy. While osteoporosis awareness is typically raised in women, men sometimes forget robust bone health should never be taken for granted.

Garlic

This herb may primarily be known as a food additive for flavor, but garlic has become an increasingly common supplement to promote cardiovascular health. Though our palettes are familiar with its powerful smell and taste, garlic’s true potency is the ability to produce allicin, which provides many benefits, including the potential to reduce atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Since studies have shown that men are more likely to encounter high cholesterol and heart problems, adding garlic to the diet makes considerable sense. But let’s face it: one can only eat so much. Garlic supplements are highly concentrated and one generally encounters only a modest amount of the herb’s familiar taste.

Fish Oil

Essential for building healthy cell membranes, these popular supplements are an effective way to get Omega-3 fatty acids into one’s diet. Omega-3’s are not produced by the body naturally and can only be acquired by consuming foods such as salmon, nuts, or canola oil. Since it is difficult to guarantee eating those foods in sufficient quantities, supplements are usually the way to go. This is especially prudent advice for men, as a 2008 Mayo Clinic study indicated a daily supplement of Omega-3’s can reduce an array of cardiovascular problems by 45%. Not surprisingly, fish oil pills carry a bit of a fishy taste and the aftertaste is even more powerful if consumed without food or water. Some prefer krill oil, which is similar in benefit, but carries a reduced risk of mercury contamination, since the chemical is often found in fish.

Guarana

Derived from the seeds of a South American tree, guarana has become a trendy supplement for those seeking a higher energy level, which in turn can lead to a healthier life by promoting exercise. As a result, adding this supplement to a diet is something men may consider, especially if they are not coffee drinkers. In fact, guarana offers triple the natural caffeine level of coffee. Though the supplement provides no direct health benefit, the stimulant can help weight loss and mood level like other forms of caffeine. However, men must be careful of the quantity consumed, as guarana carries the usual risks of caffeine, such as dependency, anxiety, and high blood pressure.

Jeff Briscoe is an attorney and writer from Port Charlotte, Fla.

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