5 Supplements For Male Health
Navigating the world of supplements can be confusing, fraught with pitfalls put in place by snake oil salesmen looking to lighten your wallet.
In fact a lot of supplement articles you read online now just sponsored editorials with no real value or merit to their recommendations.
So where can you get reliable information?
For my money, there no better place then Examine.com. They provide independent analysis on supplement studies through an approach known as meta-analysis.
Meta-analysis means taking all of the current research and studies available on a supplement, discarding any that don’t meet the basic qualities of sound scientific methodology, then combining and analysing the results and conclusions from those that are left.
Examine also take it a step further by grading the quality of the research and also the magnitude of each of the effects of that supplement.
This helps you to distinguish the supplements that are most effective, versus those that only have a slight effect. Something that can be hard to do when looking in a store or online, as although a supplement company could be telling the truth about an overall effect, you have no clue has to the magnitude of the effect that supplement actually has. Which could be almost nothing.
You also get up to date recommendations on dosages, another important factor in the effectiveness of a supplement. Another great trick supplement companies like to pull is adding a highly effective and well known supplement to their product to make it appealing, but in reality it is such a small dose that you will no benefit from it.
My Top 5 Supplements For Male Health
What I have done here is to compile a list of my top 5 recommended supplements, based upon my experience, and have then backed that up with the information found on examine.com to help give some clarity on supplements you should be taking
For male health, zinc is probably the most important supplement you should take as it has a direct effect on testosterone levels (which naturally start to decline in your mid 30’s). It is also an important anti-oxidant and co-factor for over 300 bio-chemical reactions in your body.
Zinc deficiency is very common, especially in those who train hard regularly as you can deplete your zinc levels through sweating.
Food sources: Meat, eggs, legumes and oysters.
Supplementation: 20-40mg per day (elemental value)
Be careful to use the elemental value displayed on the supplement as different variants contain different amounts of actual zinc.
Zinc supplements tend not to be very expensive and there is not a massive difference in absorption between different types (as long as it is a chelated form!), although Zinc Picolinate is considered the most effective.
2. Vitamin D
Another important supplement for testosterone and also important for Immune health, bone health, cognitive function and mood.
Can we indeed make vitamin D from sun exposure, but current studies are suggesting that you would have to be in the sun butt-naked for an hour a day to come close.
There has also been one study suggesting there is a mechanism that allows us to generate vitamin D through movement – which could be why MS sufferers show extremely low levels in their blood tests.
Food sources: fish and eggs.
Supplement: 1,000IU to 2,000IU per day (IU = International Units)
You want the D3 ( cholecalciferol) version over D2 ( ergocalciferol) and be sure to get the small fat filled capsules (shown in the picture above), as vitamin D is best absorbed in the presence of fat.
3. Fish Oils
Used as a blanket term to cover EPA ( eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA ( docosahexaenoic acid) in capsule form.
Health benefits include healthier blood vessels, lower blood lipid count ( blood fats – cholesterol and triglycerides), increased mental cognition and they also act as an effective anti-inflammatory.
For optimal health you want to aim to achieve a balance of 1:1 omega-3: omega-6 fats in the diet. Most people have FAR TOO MUCH omega-6 in their diet from red meat, nuts and egg consumption.
CAUTION: Be careful with taking fish oil if are on any prescription medication to promote blood thinning or blood pressure. Always consult your medical practitioner first.
Food sources: oily fish such as salmon
Supplementation: 1-6g per day (go to the higher range for an anti-inflammatory effect)
Top tip: if you get “fish oil burps” when taking the capsules, try chilling them in the fridge or taking them with meals.
Along with zinc, magnesium deficiency is also extremely common, especially in those who exercise regularly.
Magnesium has been shown to have a highly positive effective on blood pressure and also positive effects on insulin sensitivity, depression and ADHD.
Food sources: nuts and leafy vegetables
Supplementation: 200-400mg per day – like zinc you want it in a chelated (bound to an amino acid) form and check the elemental value.
Any type can be used (except magnesium L-threonate due to its low elemental magnesium content), but beware that taking too much in one go of any kind can result in gastric distress and diarrhoea.
Extracted from the spice Tumeric, curcumin has been show to be a potent anti-inflammatory.
It also has positive effects on some forms of cancer progression, reducing blood lipid and arterial plaque to aid heart health and blood pressure, and also reducing the risk of and side-effects associated with diabetes.
Curcumin has very low bio-availability, meaning it is very hard to absorb in effective amounts. As such, to get any benefit it is recommended to take in in supplement form BUT it must either be in the Meriva/BCM-95 form or paired with piperine (black pepper extract) in the supplement you take.
Supplementation: Standard recommendations are 80-400mg per day.
I highly recommend curcumin for those with high chronic stress levels or those who train/compete with high volume and frequency to mitigate the inflammatory responses associated with both.
Brands to Buy
There are 100’s of supplement brands available, but here are the few that I have had experience with and can recommend based upon their quality control:
- Herbs of Gold (great brand that is available locally in Sydney)
- Thorne Research
There are many more supplements I could recommend, but as ever, the best advice is always dependent upon your specific circumstances.
The five above will give anybody a reasonable foundation to cover the most common deficiencies and keep their health robust for years to come.