Important Men’s Vitamins for Good Health
Vitamin A is the converted product of beta carotene in the body. Beta carotene is an antioxidant that is said to have many benefits. It boosts the immune system, prevents cancer and heart disease, slows the progression of cataracts and macular degeneration and protects the skin from sunburn. Men over the age of 18 should take 900 mcg per day or 3000 international units (IU).
Niacin is a form of vitamin B3 that is essential for the maintenance of energy in the body. It helps to convert carbohydrates from food into glucose, which is burned to produce energy. Niacin also helps men metabolize fats and proteins and is an important vitamin for proper functioning of the nervous system. Men need at least 16 mg but no more than 35 mg of niacin per day.
Vitamin C is an important men’s vitamin as 60% of men do not get enough in their diet. Vitamin C provides protection from free radicals produced by exercise. It also helps to heal wounds and is important to the production of collagen found in healthy ligaments and tendons. Men need 1000 mg per day, taken in intervals. Vitamin C can be found naturally in citrus fruits and broccoli.
Vitamin D3 helps bones absorb calcium. It has also been linked to reduced levels of depression, a decreased risk of colorectal cancer and reduced risks of heart attack. Men should consume 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. Natural sources are milk, fortified juice and cereals and 15 minutes of exposure to sunshine without sunscreen.
Vitamin E is a valuable men’s vitamin as it helps to slow the effects of aging. A potent antioxidant, Vitamin E may help decrease the risks of certain eye diseases, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. Men should take up to 400 IU per day. Most multivitamins carry only 45 IU, so consume more nuts and healthy oils to increase vitamin E levels. Tip: The natural vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) is easier for the body to process than synthetic (dl-alpha tocopherol).
Folic Acid is important in the list of men’s vitamins as it helps prevent clogged arteries and encourages blood flow to the brain by restricting the levels of homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine have been linked to Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory loss. A study in Sweden determined that patients with Alzheimer’s have a higher degree of folic acid deficiency than people without the disease. Men need approximately 400 to 500 mcg per day, so look for a vitamin carrying these amounts.
Reduce the risks for any number of health problems with ingestion of a daily multivitamin. Look for one that contains 100 percent of the recommended intake for core nutrients, along with other important disease fighters like selenium, lycopene, lutein and omega-3 fatty acids. Note: Iron can increase the risk of heart disease and Parkinson’s disease in some men, so look for a product without it.
Selenium is a leading nutrient in the prevention of prostate, colon and lung cancers. Men should take 200 mcg per day and more when ill. A good natural source of selenium is the Brazil nut, which carries 100 mcg per nut.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is twice as strong as beta carotene for fighting free radicals. Good levels of lycopene appear to lower risks for prostate, lung and stomach cancers. Men can consume cooked tomatoes for lycopene or look for a vitamin that contains this important ingredient.
Lutein is important to eye health. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the primary cause of vision loss in elderly adults. Research suggests that higher levels of lutein may reduce the risks of AMD and cataracts or slow the progression once the disease is established.
Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) found in fish oil can reduce triglycerides, elevate HDL cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. These healthy fats may also lower risks of colon and prostate cancer, reduce inflammation in the body and enhance cognitive performance. Natural sources are salmon and tuna.