Supplements for Men

Many men take a multivitamin and mineral supplement providing around 100 per cent of the recommended daily amount of as many micronutrients as possible. As a nutritional safety net to help safeguard your general health, this is an excellent idea.

Other supplements are also beneficial for men at different stages of their life. My list of top supplements for men includes the following:

Antioxidants

Antioxidants help to neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals - chemicals produced as a by-product of metabolism, smoking, drinking alcohol and exposure to pollution. Free radicals have been linked with inflammatory conditions, coronary heart disease, genetic malformations, cancer and premature ageing. Vitamin E (800iu) reduces the risk of a heart attack in those with heart disease by up to 75 per cent. Men with low levels of vitamin C are 3.5 times more likely to have a heart attack while men taking 200mcg selenium daily are 50 per cent less likely to die from certain cancers including those of the prostate, bowel and lung.

Daily dose: Some researchers suggest daily intakes of

100-3000mg vitamin C (take high doses in the form of ester-C to avoid acid indigestion)
30-600mg vitamin E (NB 67mg = 100iu)
50-200mcg selenium

Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, berries and dark green vegetables. Vitamin E is found in avocados, wheatgerm oil, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and fish. The richest dietary source of selenium is Brazil nuts.

Zinc

Male zinc deficiency is common as each ejaculation contains around 5mg - one third of the adult daily requirement. Lack of zinc can cause lowered fertility, low sex drive, loss of taste and smell sensation. Zinc lozenges boost immunity and reduce and shorten symptoms of the common cold. Zinc supplements can also help to overcome male infertility in some cases.

Daily dose: To treat a cold (20mg one to four times daily for short-term use only) As supplement: 10mg-25mg daily.

Cautions: Higher doses may cause nausea or indigestion and interfere with copper and iron metabolism. Interferes with absorption of tetracycline antibiotics, so take a few hours apart.

Test for zinc deficiency by obtaining a solution of zinc sulfate (5mg/5ml) from a chemist. Swirl a teaspoonful in your mouth. If the solution seems tasteless, zinc deficiency is likely. If the solution tastes furry, of minerals or slightly sweet, zinc levels are borderline. If it tastes strongly unpleasant, zinc levels are normal.

Good food sources include seafood (especially oysters), nuts, seeds and wholegrains.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a vitamin that can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in men with high levels of the amino acid, homocysteine. One in ten men are thought to have high levels, tripling their risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Daily dose: 400mcg-650mcg

Cautions: Take with vitamin B12 if using long-term; Interacts with some anti-epileptic drugs and with methotrexate (used in severe psoriasis and some cancers) - folic acid should not be taken with these drugs except under medical advice.

Good dietary sources of folic acid include dark-green leafy vegetables.

Garlic

Garlic has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thin the blood, dilate blood vessels and improve blood circulation. Standardized garlic powder tablets reduce the risk of stroke by up to 40 per cent and the risk of a heart attack by up to 25 per cent. Garlic also has an anti-viral action.

Daily dose: 600-900mg standardised garlic powder

Cautions: Some find the odour unpleasant. Coated tablets help to control odor.

Omega-3 Fish Oils

Omega-3 fish oils contain important essential fatty acids. These can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, halve the risk of a stroke or heart attack and can help prevent cardiac death. In those who have had a heart attack, eating fish significantly reduces the chance of a second heart attack and also of dying from it. Fish oils can also improve long-term inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, eczema, asthma, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis and boost immune function.

Daily dose: Usually 1-4g daily. Added vitamin E stops rancidity. Some researchers suggest you take 30-200iu Vitamin E and 50-200mcg selenium daily as well.

Cautions: Some research suggests fish oils increase blood sugar levels in diabetics. However, omega-3 fish oils also protect against the increased risk of coronary heart disease associated with diabetes. Monitor sugar levels carefully. Seek medical advice before taking if you have a blood clotting disorder or are taking a blood thinning drug such as warfarin or aspirin (may increase tendency to bleed).


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