Men, men, men, men, manly men,” goes the theme song of the popular CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men.” And as the main characters in the TV show clearly demonstrate each week, men will go to all kinds of extremes to maintain their manly personas. While diet and exercise play a major part in helping us guys in the real world maintain “manly” status, the role of nutritional supplements cannot be overlooked. Here’s a look at 5 supplements all men should be taking.
Although the idea of supplementing with Boron may sound “boring” to us red-blooded American men, the good news is that taking Boron could keep cancer from boring into our prostates. In fact, statistical studies have shown that men whose daily intake of boron is on the high end are 65 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than men whose intake is on the low end. The bad news is that, compared to the rest of the world, American men have the lowest boron levels.
That being said, beefing up your daily intake of boron is a smart thing to do. Although boron is found in many foods, with almonds, raisins, and hazelnuts being among the best sources, to get the proper amount of boron—3 mg. a day according to the USDA—you will need to take a supplement. As a bonus, there is evidence that boron may also enhance memory and concentration.
Found in soil, selenium naturally finds its way into our food supply. However, poor soil conditions can lead to foods with low levels of selenium, resulting in inadequate selenium intake. Low selenium levels have been linked to an increase in the incidence of certain kinds of cancers, along with impaired heart disease and diminished male fertility. Caution should be exercised when supplementing with selenium, as taking too much can lead to toxicity, which may worsen some conditions.
According to studies, the safest and most absorbable form of selenium is an organic form known as l-selenomethionine. The recommended dosage is 200mcg per day. Those taking a multi-vitamin that contains selenium should adjust their intake accordingly.
As you get older it becomes more and more difficult for your body to maintain lean muscle, even with exercise. Creatine can help improve the muscle-building efficiency of weight-bearing exercise, due to its ability to assist the body in maintaining adequate stores of ATP—the compound your body uses for energy.
Studies have shown that men who added daily protein shake containing 5 gms. of creatine to their daily weight lifting regimens were—after just 2-3 months—able to bench press an average of 15 more pounds while adding 21 more pounds to their squats. Other research by scientists in Australia suggests that creatine can also improve memory and cognitive abilities.
Coenzyme Q 10
Manufactured by the body, Coenzyme Q 10 or CoQ10 plays a key role in helping your cells to regulate your body’s energy supply. As we age our bodies produce less and less CoQ10, so supplementation is essential to reap the beneficial effects. Loaded with antioxidants, CoQ10 in daily doses of 100 mcg have been shown to boost energy and help combat inflammation in the joints and the cardiovascular system that can lead to arthritis and heart disease. In choosing a CoQ10 supplement the soft gel containing ubiquinol is preferred, as it is the active form and is more readily usable by the body—especially if you’re over 40.
Another negative side-effect of the aging process is the loss of cartilage, leading to an increase in joint pain and stiffness. Glucosamine, an amino sugar extracted from the shells of crabs and lobsters, has been shown to enhance the body’s natural ability to produce cartilage and actually rebuild joint tissue. A 3-year study published in the medical journal Lancet involving 212 people, showed 25% of those who got glucosamine—1500mg/day—experienced significant reduction in joint pain and stiffness, along with a lesser incidence of osteoarthritis in the knees. When taking glucosamine don’t expect to see the full benefits for at least 2-3 months.