A guy’s guide to supplements
As a young man, you feel invincible. But as you get older, you start noticing changes. More fat, less muscle. Higher cholesterol levels. More fatigue. Poorer memory. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help you stay fit. And so can certain supplements.
So where exactly do you start? Begin by taking a daily high-potency multivitamin. Then consider some of the following individual supplements to reduce your risk of health problems and maybe even turn back the clock.
Mitochondria in your body’s cells burn food molecules for energy. But damage to mitochondria increases with age, making them less efficient. Compounding the problem, most mitochondria are found in muscle cells, which also decrease with age. Several nutrients are essential for normal energy production in mitochondria.
CoQ10 (50—200 mg a day of a fat-soluble form) was the basis of the 1978 Nobel Prize in chemistry, given to Peter Mitchell, PhD, for his explanation of energy production in mitochondria. L-carnitine (1,000—2,000 mg a day) helps cells burn fat for energy. And alpha-lipoic acid (100—600 mg a day) plays a key role in energy production.
Heart disease is still the leading cause of death among men, and several nutrients can make a huge difference in heart health. Chief among them are omega-3 fats (1,000—2,000 mg a day). These healthy fats can reduce inflammation, thin the blood, slow the heart rate, and improve blood vessel flexibility. They also help regulate heart rhythm and reduce triglyceride, a fat related to cholesterol.
To lower cholesterol, opt for beta-sitosterol (2—4 grams a day). The B-complex vitamins, particularly folic acid (400—800 mcg a day), lower levels of homocysteine, a blood protein that increases risk of heart disease and stroke. Magnesium (200—300 mg a day) can lower blood pressure.
The omega-3s (1,000—2,000 mg a day) can also help preserve brain function. Studies have found that omega-3s can help people with depression, impulsiveness, aggressiveness, and bipolar disorder. DHA (300—500 mg a day), one of the omega-3s, can help with memory.
Another memory aid: L-theanine (100—200 mg, one to three times a day), found in green tea. In a recent study, a combination of L-theanine and green tea supplements improved memory and attention in men and women with mild cognitive impairment, a common prelude to Alzheimer’s disease.
Muscle mass declines with age. Exercise can slow this deterioration, and some amino acids can help boost muscle mass in seniors. Chief among them are the branched-chain aminos (BCAAs)—leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Of these, leucine (3—6 grams a day) is the most important because it helps convert protein to muscle. In a European study, researchers found that leucine helped increase muscle synthesis in older men almost to the level found in younger men.
Other helpful amino acids include beta-alanine (2,400 mg a day), L-ornithine (2 grams a day), and multi-amino acid supplements (8 grams a day) .
Night blindness, characterized by difficulty seeing in the dark or being blinded by headlights, is a classic sign of vitamin A (10,000 IU a day) deficiency. Lutein (6—10 mg a day) and zeaxanthin
(1 mg a day) form the macular pigment, which helps eyes register tiny details. These two nutrients might also slow the progression of macular degeneration. And astaxanthin (4—6 mg a day) might enhance visual acuity, perhaps by working with lutein and zeaxanthin.
Benign enlargement of the prostate is common in men over age 50. Lycopene (5—30 mg a day), found in tomatoes, can slow the increase in prostate size and lower levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a marker of prostate cancer risk. Other supplements that support the prostate include saw palmetto (200—300 mg a day) and stinging nettles root extract (100—200 mg a day).
Inflammation of the prostate, called prostatitis, can lead to pain during urination and intercourse. Studies show that quercetin (1,000 mg a day) can help. Combining quercetin with bromelain (600 GDU daily) and papain (50 mg a day) improves the odds of recovery.
L-arginine is the precursor to nitric oxide, a compound that regulates the flexibility of blood vessels. While good for the heart, arginine can often enhance a man’s ability to maintain an erection. Supplemental arginine (750—2,000 mg per day) has been shown to improve the ability of blood vessels in the penis to dilate. Also, the herb maca has been traditionally used to enhance sexual desire and performance.
Men’s Shopping List
Top high-quality products to address all types of male-related health concerns
These pharmaceutical-grade Vcaps with L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine help improve muscle mass and repair muscle.
Saw Palmetto & Pygeum Extract
Certified gluten free and boasting a unique delivery system, these vegetarian capsules combine saw palmetto with pygeum, another herb used for prostate health.
Men’s One Daily
A gluten- and soy-free multivitamin featuring nutrients made from 100% whole food, including certified organic herbs. All you need is one easy-to-digest tablet per day.
Give your prostate and your heart a health boost with naturally derived lycopene extract and pomegranate.
Maca Lift, a new product, contains organic maca, which has been used for hundreds of years to invigorate the people of the high Andes of Peru.