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Most men are concerned with their overall health and vitality. While there are a large number of vitamins, supplements and herbs to choose from, some of the most important are those for the heart, vascular system, immune system and reproductive system.

Men’s Health And The Importance Of Supplements

Some of the supplements are relatively specific for certain organ systems—saw palmetto, lycopene and Vitamin E, for example, are generally used for the prostate and urinary problems.  Other supplements, like amino acids may be used mainly for maintaining muscle strength and sexual vitality. Still others, like fish oils are generally used to maintain the blood vessels, mental sharpness and heart health.

Other supplements used to maintain mental alertness are the B vitamins, phosphotidylserine and herbs such as Ginkgo biloba and Ginseng.    There are others, like DHEA and melatonin used for anti-aging properties or to help someone sleep. Still others, such as Vitamin D are used to boost the immune system.  The use of HGH to lose weight is becoming more common. Minerals such as selenium, calcium and magnesium may be useful for a variety of purposes.  One thing to keep in mind with all these supplements is that they are just supplements.  Nothing can replace a well-balanced, nutrient-filled diet and no pill can replace sleep. While I am a firm believer that these supplements, if used correctly, can make a huge difference in an individual’s life, I’m also a firm believer in eating well, living well and taking the time to rest.  My suggestion is always to work with a trusted health care professional to ensure you are taking the right supplements—but always remember that this is in addition to a good diet and exercise plan.

Vitamins and Men’s Health

All vitamins are important, but some are tougher to obtain through food than others.  Also, a stressful lifestyle can deplete certain vitamins, so it is important to make sure you have a good supplement.  One thing to remember with Vitamins is that the % Daily Value you see on the label is designed for a 2000 calorie/day diet and  is also designed to provide adequate vitamin and mineral levels for most people.  If you have a chronic condition, don’t have a 2000 calorie a day diet or have some other special circumstance, these values may not be as helpful.  Again, speak to a trusted and knowledgeable healthcare professional to determine what is the right amount for you. As a general guideline— you can take too much of the fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A,E,D and K – you would have to take an awful lot, but there is the potential for taking toxic amounts.  With the water-soluble vitamins—mainly the B complex vitamins, unless you have kidney problems, you have more flexibility.  With minerals, there is some concern about taking too much, so, again, speak to a healthcare professional who has studied nutrition. If one is good, two is not necessarily better and you CAN get too much of a good thing!

Vitamin A and β-carotenes: These are important anti-oxidants which may protect against cancer and cell damage.  Vitamin A and β-carotenes are necessary for cell growth and repair, protect the heart and slows down the progression of osteoporosis.

Vitamin B complex:
There are a number of B-vitamins in B- complex.  Its important to have all of them—but there are some single B-vitamins more important for mood or in high stress levels (e.g. B¬1/ thiamine, and B5/pantothenic acid) and other B vitamins very important for the heart, blood vessels and maintaining normal blood pressure (e.g. B3/niacin, B6/pyridoxine, B12/cyanacobalamin , biotin and folic acid) Other supplements that are related to the B-vitamins are choline and inositol, important in proper liver function.

Vitamin C: Most people know that Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant and helps the immune system.  It is also useful in getting rid of heavy metals, reducing allergic symptoms, helping in wound healing, strengthening the blood vessels and maintaining healthy joints.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D seems to be everyone’s new favorite Vitamin—and it is a vitally important one for maintaining the immune system, maintaining healthy bones and joints and it has been implicated in preventing diabetes, particularly Type 1 diabetes.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E—particularly the gamma (γ) form is an anti-oxidant and appears to be important in protecting against cancer.  It can be used on the skin as well to increase wound healing and minimize scar formation. Vitamin E has been used to prevent and treat BPH and heart disease.

Amino Acids and Minerals and Men’s Health

Amino acids are the building block of proteins.  The “essential amino acids” are those that the body can’t make and needs to obtain from food.  The “non-essential amino acids” are those that the body can synthesize itself. Some of the most important (well, they are ALL important!) amino acids for men are:

Glutamine and glutamic acid -these can be useful to improve mood and memory and help in muscle building.

Taurine-strengthens the heart and used for people with high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Taurine also aids in the breakdown of fats and absorption of vitamins and is used as an energy booster. Another amino acid that provides an energy source for muscles and increases the use of fat as an energy source is l-carnitine.

Tyrosine- stimulates the metabolism and helps to reduce fat stores. Tyrosine is also used as a mood elevator.

Arginine- arginine has been called Nature’s Viagra by increasing blood flow to the penis. It also enhances the immune system and increases muscle mass. 

Vitamins can’t do their work without minerals and the body can’t survive without minerals. They are ALL important, but here are some of the most important for men.

Chromium: This is a vitally important mineral in sugar metabolism and maintaining lean muscle mass and fights fatigue.

Iodine: Iodine is a central component of the thyroid hormones and the thyroid regulates metabolism.  Thyroid disease is the reason iodine was put into all salt in the previous century. Iodine deficiency can result in thyroid disease. With so many people minimizing their salt intake, it is possible that the increase in thyroid disorders is due to a lack of iodine. 1

Magnesium: Magnesium is critical for nearly every bodily system—and it is believed that many people are magnesium deficient—even with a good diet—because the soils in which our food grows is magnesium depleted. 2 Magnesium is important for your heart, nervous system, moods and respiratory system.

Other Supplements and Hormones and their Influence on Men’s Health

Coenzyme Q10 3 , or CoQ10 is found in every cell of our body, but particularly in heart muscle. 4 It is an anti-oxidant and is particularly effective in protecting the heart and blood vessels. CoQ10 has been used with benefit in patients on the cholesterol-lowering statins, because statins reduce the body’s stores of CoQ10.

Fish oil is one of the standard supplements I nearly always recommend.  Fish oils contain high amounts of omega 3 oils—these are anti-inflammatory substances. It is becoming clear that many diseases, including cancer, heart diseases, respiratory diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and others, and many conditions such as pain, obesity, metabolic syndrome—all have inflammation as a major component.  5,6,7  Fish oil is a simple way to decrease the amount of inflammation in your body.

Andropause and hormone support for men

A decrease in testosterone has been associated with a number of adverse effects, including a loss of libido, increased risk of heart disease, coronary artery disease as well as peripheral artery disease. 8 There may also be an association of low testosterone with osteoporosis 9, cognitive decline and mood disorders.8,10 Testosterone supplements may be suggested to help with some of the symptoms of aging.  Another supplement, DHEA is often recommended because it is the natural precursor for testosterone.  Also, low levels of DHEA have been associated with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and Alzheimer's disease—there’s not an absolute connection and more research needs to be done, but DHEA appears to be effective for mood disorders, psychoses, erectile dysfunction and osteoporosis. 11

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  • 8. Kaushik M, Sontineni SP, Hunter C, Cardiovascular disease and androgens: a review. Int J Cardiol - 25-JUN-2010, 142(1): 8-14
  • 9. Burnett-Bowie SA , Effects of aromatase inhibition on bone mineral density and bone turnover in older men with low testosterone levels. - J Clin Endocrinol Metab - 01-DEC-2009, 94(12): 4785-92
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