Father's Day is around the corner, and the best gift could be the gift of health. Just like certain nutrients are extra important for women, some are key for men. Even if you eat a perfect diet, chances are you’re missing out on one or more of these essential nutrients for optimal performance and health. Here’s a highlight reel of some of the most beneficial supplements for men.
Amino acids: If you are not getting adequate protein, you are not getting adequate amino acids. Amino acids are essential for repair, growth, brain and muscle function, energy, mood and our ability to use and lose fat. One in particular, acetyl L-carnitine, is a derivative of an amino acid called carnitine. It has been shown to help address fatigue and enhance fat burning during exercise, as well as improve and support balanced blood sugar levels, and improve circulation and fertility. If your diet is less than well balanced, you may want to consider a quality protein powder that contains a full spectrum of amino acids.
Fish oil: By now most people have heard about the benefits of omega-3s. High in omega fatty acids EPA and DHA, fish oil has been shown to lower triglyceride levels and increase the “good” HDL cholesterol. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, supports joint health, intestinal health and immune function, and has been shown to help treat mild to moderate depression.
Probiotics: Chronic gas and/or reflux, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation may all be signs that your bowel is not functioning optimally. Start by improving your healthy gut flora with a good quality probiotic. Look for a multi-strain combination (anywhere from 5-10 strains). Probiotics support healthy digestion, as well as being an integral part of the immune system.
Vitamin D: It comes as no surprise to most North Americans that we are generally deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is another big player in the fight against and prevention of a variety of common cancers, including colorectal cancers, breast cancer, cancers of the prostate, pancreas and more. Most people also know about the importance of vitamin D in bone health, helping with the absorption and utilization of calcium. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with increased incidence of depression, and it’s also essential for a strong immune system, with adequate vitamin D levels now known to be one of our best defenses against cold and flu.
40 & Fabulous
Soluble fiber: In addition to promoting regularity and healthy detoxification, soluble fiber also helps to ensure balanced blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol levels, and support healthy weight loss. A diet low in fiber and high in fat is one of the leading risk factors in the development of colorectal cancers. Foods high in soluble fiber include oats and oatmeal, legumes such as beans and peas, and many fruits and vegetables such as apples, avocados and carrots. Again, if your diet needs a little boost, try adding a scoop of ground flax or other soluble fiber supplement to your morning cereal.
Lycopene: It’s never too early to start thinking about prostate health. Lycopene is a carotene with mighty antioxidant powers. It is found in bright red fruits and vegetables and is highest in cooked tomatoes products such as stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce or salsa. Research suggests that lycopene may be a powerful cancer prevention tool, proving most effective in the prevention of prostate, lung and stomach cancers. Lycopene can be found in many supplements aimed at increasing antioxidants, or to enhance prostate health. When eating cooked tomato products, make sure to eat them with a small amount of fat (think high-quality olive oil) to enhance lycopene absorption.
Magnesium: Magnesium can do wonders to reduce muscular tension, cramping and pain due to strain or over use, as well as reducing incidence and severity of tension-related headaches. It is also incredibly important to the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and to help support balanced blood sugar levels, as well as helping to prevent diabetic related neuropathies. We are generally deficient in magnesium, and it is difficult to get enough through diet alone, making supplementation a great option.
50 & Up
Saw palmetto: Urinary frequency, urgency and hesitancy are arguably the most common complaints of men in the 50+ age group. Saw palmetto, rich in phytosterols, has been shown to produce similar results as finesteride – a commonly used pharmaceutical medication used to treat symptoms associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) – but better tolerated than the medication.
CoQ10: CoQ10 provides energy, in the form of oxygen delivery, to all the cells of the body, and is particularly important for muscle cells. The heart is a muscle, and in turn, CoQ10 is vital to optimal cardiovascular function. As we age, our natural production of coenzyme Q10 declines. Statin medications, often prescribed to decrease high cholesterol levels, also greatly interfere with our body’s ability to make its own CoQ10. For some people, ubiquinol CoQ10 varieties are believed to be better absorbed and utilized in the body. Before you take any of these supplements, remember to consult with your doctor or health care practitioner to ensure proper use.
Photo from here, with thanks.