Typically, men are still less likely than women to see a doctor when they get sick or at the first sign of a bothersome health symptom. And it's even more unlikely that they'll take supplements to prevent illness. Whether it's your significant other, brother, father or best guy friend, there are some basic supplements every guy should take for optimal health. Here are the top six you should encourage the men in your life to take:
1. Zinc for optimal testosterone levels
A man's testosterone level tends to taper off with age, obesity and stress. It's important for men to keep their testosterone levels balanced because low testosterone has been linked to depression, osteoporosis, obesity, heart disease and even death. Encourage your guy to take zinc, which is needed to maintain testosterone levels in the blood and the secretion of LH, the hormone that stimulates the production of testosterone. Zinc also appears to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Take 25 to 50 mg a day with food.
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2. Fish oils for heart and prostate health
Fish oils are anti-inflammatory and are protective to the heart, brain, eyes and blood vessels. They help to protect the brain from the deleterious effects of a stressful lifestyle and help to reduce the risk of heart disease. The benefits also extend to the prostate. According to a study in Cancer Prevention Research, men with prostate cancer who combined a low-fat diet with fish oil supplements had a slowed growth rate of cancer cells - with changes noticeable in as little as four weeks. Other studies have found that fish oil can reduce triglyceride levels - a type of fat - by 25 to 30 percent. Furthermore, they've been found to reduce the severity of brain damage after a stroke. Not a bad resume for one supplement! I recommend taking two to three capsules (or one teaspoon) twice daily with meals.
3. Antioxidants for anti-aging and blood pressure
Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10 and alpha lipoic acid are essential for anti-aging and overall health. They work to prevent cellular damage that occurs from pollution, exposure to the sun, exercise, stress and normal metabolic processes in the body. In one study, men with the highest intake of vitamin C had a significantly lower risk of dying from cancer than did their counterparts with the lowest intakes. Taking coenzyme Q10 can lower your blood pressure while boosting your levels of ecSOD, an enzyme thought to protect blood vessels from damage, and may also improve sperm quality and in turn, male fertility. Supplement with a high potency antioxidant formula daily to reap the full benefits.
4. Whey for muscle, strength and recovery
Whey protein isolates can serve as source of glutathione, the most potent antioxidant in the body, and has beneficial effects on the immune system and prostate health. In one study, males who supplemented with whey protein had a greater relative gain in lean muscle tissue than their counterparts that received a placebo. Adding creatine monohydrate to this mixture can provide even more body strength. One to two daily smoothies with a whey protein isolate (including one immediately post-workout) will go a long way towards keeping your guy healthy and strong.
5. Sterols for cholesterol, stress, and immunity
Plant sterols help regulate the immune system: if your immune system is running low, sterols help to boost it and prevent infection; if your immune system is overactive, as in the case of autoimmune diseases or allergies, sterols help to make it less reactive. Regulating an overactive immune system can also help to prevent and reduce damage to the joints. Studies have shown that taking a phytosterol/sterolin mixture prior to a stressful physical event can help to protect against immune suppression and excessive inflammation associated with high physical stress. With potent anti-inflammatory and anti-stress compounds, sterols can also help improve cholesterol levels. Phytosterols lower serum cholesterol by inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine. I recommend taking one capsule one to two times daily without food, such as on rising or before bed.
6. Vitamin D for reproductive health and testosterone
Vitamin D has been proven to lower insulin, improve serotonin levels, enhance the immune system, control appetite and even help with fat loss. One study conducted at Copenhagen University showed a positive correlation between reproductive health and vitamin D levels. In fact, men with vitamin D levels of up to 75 nmol/l had significantly higher sperm motility than their vitamin D-deficient colleagues with levels up to 25 nmol/l. Another study of more than 3300 males found a link between low testosterone and vitamin D levels. I recommend taking 2000iu to 5000iu daily with breakfast and a higher dose of 4000iu to 5000iu during the winter months.
Natasha Turner, N.D. is a naturopathic doctor, Chatelaine magazine columnist, and author of the bestselling books The Hormone Diet and The Supercharged Hormone Diet. Her newest release, The Carb Sensitivity Program, is now available across Canada. She is also the founder of the Toronto-based Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique. For more wellness advice from Natasha Turner, click here.
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