That men`s health is generally worse than women has been made clear by strong evidence from several sources. For example, according to a study published in 2014, the women were outliving men by an average of almost six years (31).
So what explains this gender inequality? According to numerous sources, men’s poorer survival rates may be explained by several factors:
- Greater exposure to physical and chemical threats (31, 41)
- Behaviours linked with male norms of risk-taking and adventure (31, 41)
- Behaviour related to masculinity (31)
- The fact that men are less likely to visit a doctor when they are ill (31, 41)
- Men are more vulnerable to stress over time (42, 43)
- Top diseases that kill men are heart disease, cancers, injuries, stroke (cerebrovascular accident, CVA), chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, suicide, kidney disease, alzheimer’s disease (42)
- In addition, men eat more meat and poultry than women, therefore they may lack some certain vitamins (44).
And even if a man’s diet is varied, in some cases it can be difficult to obtain all the vitamins, minerals and other vital nutrients. Therefore the long-term health, stress resistance and well-being are sacrificed.
In this article, we write about the important vitamins, minerals and nutrients that a man’s body needs to cope with the hard work of being a man. To strengthen the nervous system and better cope with stress, to strengthen the immune system and better cope with viruses, as well as to strengthen your masculine strength, which helps a man cross any mountain!
How do You Understand Which Vitamin or Nutrient Your Body May Need The Most?
Depending on genetics, location, food availability, and lifestyle, everyone has unique nutritional needs. For example, if a person consumes a lot of leafy vegetables, he may have enough potassium in the body. However, if the same person is rarely exposed to direct sunlight, they may be deficient in vitamin D. For this reason, multivitamins may not always be the best solution to eliminate vitamin and mineral deficiencies (5).
Therefore, it is always wise to approach the consumption of food supplements according to personal needs and to consult a doctor in advance or to perform analyzes to determine the possible deficiency of certain nutrients.
There are also other factors that can help determine which supplement might be best for you, such as family history, activity levels, as well as stress levels. In addition, variables such as alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption, physical activity and even travel may play a role. For example, those who drink too much alcohol may be at higher risk of developing vitamin B deficiency (5).
Here are the main vitamins that could be suitable for adult men and may help with the most common health concerns such as stress, nervous system, cholesterol levels, immunity, general well-being, sexuality, strength and muscle mass.
5 Vitamins and Nutrients For Men
1. Men’s Health and Vitamin D – One of The Key Factors in Testosterone Levels and Healthy Bones
Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide health issue, as around 1 billion people from all around the world suffer from vitamin D deficiency (1). But why are we talking about this in the context of men’s health, and why is vitamin D so important for men?
- Testosterone levels. Firstly, vitamin D may increase testosterone levels in men. Although further research is still needed, recent research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may also lead to low testosterone levels. Because low testosterone levels can cause a variety of health problems in men, such as sleep apnea, poor metabolism, low libido, and fatigue, maintaining adequate vitamin D levels is critical to men’s health (2, 3, 4).
- Skeleton. Secondly, together with calcium, optimal amounts of vitamin D may also help support bone health, and prevent osteomalacia (softening of the bones due to a disorder of bone mineralization) and osteoporosis (thinning of the bone, which results in a decrease in bone density and mild fractures). This is especially important for older men who are more prone to falling (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
- In addition, cancer. Moreover, low vitamin D levels have also been associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer (such as prostate cancer) (5).
Average daily recommended vitamin D amounts for men:
- Up to 12 months: 10 mcg (400 IU)
- 1-13 years: 15 mcg (600 IU)
- 14-18 years: 15 mcg (600 IU)
- 19-70 years: 15 mcg (600 IU)
- 71 years and older: 20 mcg (800 IU) (32).
Vitamin D rich foods:
- Fatty fish like for example sardines, herring, salmon, and mackerel
- Red meat
- In addition, egg yolks (35).
Read about vitamin D foods here.
2. Men’s Health and Magnesium – The Nervous System, Muscles and General Well-being
Magnesium is a mineral that is important for many bodily functions (2, 12). It is critical for blood glucose, protein synthesis, nerve function, and more. Like vitamin D, the body may not get enough magnesium for a variety of reasons.
- Cardiovascular diseases. Firstly, several studies have associated normal or higher serum magnesium levels with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. According to one study, individuals with a serum magnesium level of at least 0.88 mmol / L had a 38% lower risk of sudden cardiac death than those with a serum magnesium level of 0.75 mmol / L or less (12).
- Diabetes. Secondly, several long-term studies have linked increased magnesium intake to a reduced risk of diabetes. According to one study, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was reduced by 15% when an additional 100 mg of magnesium was given daily (12).
- Bone density. Thirdly, several studies in both men and women have also found positive associations between magnesium intake and bone density (12).
- Muscles. Moreover, magnesium may help prevent injuries by relaxing tight muscles. In the absence of enough magnesium, the muscles cannot relax properly and this can cause cramps (13).
- Mineral loss. In addition, due to the higher fluid loss due to sweating, especially active lifestyle or sports enthusiasts have a higher than usual need for magnesium. Similarly, according to several studies, magnesium may increase performance during exercise (14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19).
- Migraine and depression. In conclusion, there is strong evidence for the role of magnesium in migraine and depression. Magnesium also has a potential effect on both chronic pain and the psychiatric disorders that often accompany it, such as anxiety (20).
Recommended Daily Allowance for Magnesium (RDA) for men:
- Up to 6 months: 30 mg *
- 7-12 months: 75 mg *
- 1-3 years: 80 mg
- 4-8 years: 130 mg
- 9-13 years: 240 mg
- 14-18 years: 410 mg
- 19-30 years: 400 mg
- 31-50 years: 420 mg
- 51+ years: 420 mg (12).
* AI – (AI – amount of nutrients needed to ensure nutrient adequacy) (12).
Magnesium rich foods are:
- Green leafy vegetables like for example kale, lettuce, spinach, etc.
- Dark chocolate
- In addition, cereal products (36).
3. Men’s Health and Testosterone – a Source of Masculine Strength and Libido
A hormone called testosterone is produced mostly in the testicles of men and is vital for the development and growth of male qualities. For example, for muscle mass and bone development; for the development of facial and groin hair; voice development; sexual desire; mood and quality of life as well as for verbal memory and thinking ability.
Testosterone production increases about 30-times in adolescence and early adulthood. However, after early adulthood, this level will start to fall slightly every year. For instance, after the age of 30, testosterone in your body starts to drop by one percent every year.
If you are concerned about possible low testosterone levels, talk to your doctor so that you can discuss possible solutions together, one of which may be testosterone replacement therapy. Moreover, although it is natural for testosterone levels to be slightly lower with age, some symptoms, such as decreased muscle mass, increased body fat, or erectile dysfunction, may be signs of other health conditions.
It is important not to start treatment yourself, because if your testosterone levels are normal, raising your testosterone levels may not provide additional benefits. These health benefits listed below have only been studied in individuals who have low testosterone levels (23).
Restoring testosterone levels to normal levels using testosterone replacement therapy may help alleviate several symptoms of hypogonadism, such as (22, 24):
- Mood and well-being
- Energy level
- Sexual function
- Strength and muscle mass
- Erythropoiesis and bone mineral density (BMD)
- In conclusion, cardiovascular diseases (21, 22).
According to some sources, these following foods may increase testosterone levels:
- Egg yolks
- In addition, beans (37).
4. Men’s Health and Antioxidants – To Support Immunity and Cell Health
- Cell and DNA protection. Firstly, antioxidants prevent or slow down free radical damage in cells (25, 30).
- Immunity. In particular, antioxidants stimulate and increase the body’s defense against pathogens and strengthen the immune system (26, 27, 28).
- Detoxification. Secondly, they help to eliminate harmful toxic substances, inhibit and prevent the development and development of many dangerous diseases, and contribute to the treatment of many chronic diseases (26, 27, 28).
- Cholesterol. In addition, antioxidants may lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) (29).
- Premature aging, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and certain tumors. In conclusion, it has been argued that antioxidants can also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, slow down premature aging, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and reduce the risk of developing tumors, but there is currently insufficient evidence to support these claims (30).
The best way to provide your body with antioxidants is to eat foods rich in antioxidants. Foods rich in antioxidants are:
- Dark chocolate
- Red cabbage
- Dark grapes
- In addition, orange fruits and vegetables, etc. (33, 34).
5. Men’s Health and Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Great Health From Head to Toe
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are not produced by the body itself and are known for their anti-inflammatory effects. However, omega-6 fatty acids are in contrast known to cause inflammation. Therefore, it is very important for the body to maintain a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. However, it is said that most men consume 15 times more omega-6 fatty acids. Therefore, they may have this vital balance shifted (2, 38).
- These fatty acids may support cardiovascular health
- In addition, omega-3 fatty acids are said to be beneficial for joint health
- In conclusion, they may also help support brain health (2, 38, 40).
The recommended daily amounts of omega-3:
Please note, that there has been no established recommended amounts for omega-3 fatty acids, except for ALA, which is one of the three prime omega-3 fatty acids:
- ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) – mainly found in plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils.
- EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) – found in fish and other seafood.
- DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) – found in fish and other seafood (39).
Average daily recommended amounts for ALA are listed below (39).
- Up to 12 months: 0.5 g
- 1-3 years: 0.7 g
- 4-8 years: 0.9 g
- 9-13 years: 1.2 g
- 14-18 years: 1.6 g
- 18 years and older: 1.6 g (39).
Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are:
- Fatty fish (especially fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel)
- In addition, nuts and seeds
- In conclusion, vegetable oils (39).
NB! The information provided here is for informational purposes only, so do not consider it as health care or medical diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, do not consider this information as a guarantee of the results you want to achieve. In addition, this information here is not intended to replace the advice of your physician or other healthcare professional.
Even more, you should not use it to diagnose or treat a health problem. Before changing or discontinuing your existing medication, treatment, or care, or taking any dietary supplements, be sure to consult with your healthcare professional or doctor before starting any diet or program, or if you suspect you may have a medical condition.
Edited by Maria-Helena Loik
Pictures: Pexels.com, Pixabay.com. Shutterstock.com