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The Most Important Supplements for Men
By: Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CD/N, Nutritionist and Educator Carlson Laboratories

In our modern times of high stress, insufficient sleep, and unbalanced diets, it can be very difficult to maintain balance and achieve optimal wellness. Men are no different than women as far as having hectic schedules which can put quite a burden on the body. Some of the top health concerns for men are heart disease, cancer, prostate issues, and mental health. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 2011, the top four leading causes of death for men are heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. No matter where they are in their lives: 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond there are basic supplements all men need for overall general health. These include a men's multi, omega-3s, additional D3 & K2, and probiotics. Beyond these core supplements, men should consider adding in others for extra support related to cardiovascular and prostate health.

The multivitamin should be a men's multi which will typically have specific nutrients targeted for men's needs. A good quality multi-vitamin-mineral can help ensure we are getting the RDA of important vitamins and minerals. It should contain enough B vitamins to assist with extra stress and energy demands. It will have nutrients more so targeted for cardiovascular and prostate health. A substantial amount of vitamin D3 and K2 as MK-7 should be part of the formula for heart health. Nutrients to support healthy prostrate function include vit E, zinc, and selenium. Blood sugar balancers like chromium, vanadium, and alpha lipoic acid are important as well. It would be excellent if a multi also provided us with some EPA and DHA too.

Beyond any omega-3s found in a multi, additional would be necessary for a variety of reasons. Omega-3s have an immense amount of research backing up how they support mood, memory, brain, nerve, vision, joint, cardiovascular health, and so much more. The American Heart Association and GOED (Global Organization of EPA and DHA) recommend 500mg for the general healthy adult population. We are now seeing 1-2g/day of omega-3s in research being beneficial and recommended for various health issues including cardiovascular support.

Typically, multi's have 25mcg (1000IU) of vitamin D3, but we are seeing through research that we most likely need more. Vitamin D3 is incredibly important as it promotes healthy growth and development, supports teeth, bone, and muscle health, assists with a healthy immune and cardiovascular system, aids with healthier moods, and it is seen as beneficial in various cancer research. It is difficult to synthesize adequate amounts of vitamin D from sunlight due to restricting time out in the sun, sunscreens, latitude, time of year, color of skin, and more; therefore, supplemental vitamin D as an excellent and necessary addition.

Vitamin D3 is important for calcium transport and absorption, and vitamin K2 as MK-7 is critical along with D3 for the formation of a strong bone matrix and cardiovascular health. Without D3 and K2 calcium begins to deposit into arteries which begins to stiffen them, and eventually plaque forms over time which starts a chain reaction in the cardiovascular disease process. Most adult Multi-Vitamin/Mineral formulas have some vitamin D3, however, you don't see any or much vitamin K in multi's for various reasons. They are now putting K2 (as MK-4 and MK-7) in some cardiovascular formulas also. Most adult recommendations for MK-7 are around 45-180 mcg/d.

It has been found that anywhere from 70-80% of our immune system is located in our GI tract. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria located all throughout our body, but mainly housed in our intestines. These lactic acid bacteria promote gastrointestinal support, a healthy immune system, and much more. If we are depleted of these healthy bacteria, then the body cannot maintain homeostasis which is essential for good health. Be sure to look for formulas that provide a variety of strains of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

As mentioned above, some men depending on their age and health status, may need extra support in certain areas. For cardiovascular health beyond extra D3 and K2 (MK-7), other nutrients targeted for cardiovascular health include a vitamin E (mixed tocopherol), CoQ10, and additional antioxidants.

Nutrients that can be added in beyond your basics regarding prostate health include vitamin E, zinc, selenium, and other antioxidants like lycopene, pterostilbene, and curcumin.

Men, like women, should take the basic core four supplements of a multivitamin/mineral, omega-3s, extra D3 & K2, and a probiotic. A men's multi most likely will have some additional nutrients to support specific men's health issues. In addition to those small amounts found in a multi, and the supplemental D3 & K2, omega-3s, and probiotics, they should consider adding in additional nutrients for extra support regarding cardiovascular, prostate, and other health concerns. Whether we start in our 20s or 60s, we can maintain or work to regain our health with a variety of lifestyle, nutritional, and supplemental changes! Be sure to keep up on the core basic supplements mentioned in order to keep up with the pace and demands of life!

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