In a perfect world, every one of you would eat an organic, low-processed diet rich in nutrients. This diet would cover all types of foods that provide you with all the vitamins you need. But this is not the case every time. It is not even realistic for most of the men out there.
Most of the people assume vitamin deficiencies to be among the third-world problems. However, research tells that the best vitamins are not generally consumed by men even in developed countries.
A large portion of men these days focus on a typical “western diet.” As a consequence, most of them usually suffer from at least one type of vitamin deficiency.
In 2009, a report was published by a famous news channel depicting that almost 77 percent of the men fail to meet their daily requirements of magnesium. The report further elaborated how most men suffer from a vitamin D deficiency and that their B12 levels are usually disturbed by heartburn medicines.
So, make no mistake. Vitamin deficiencies exist, and men are as susceptible to them as women.
Resolving these deficiencies and eating more vitamins and nutrients can improve a lot of aspects of the overall health of a man. It can improve muscle strength, fasten the metabolism, trigger weight loss, increase energy, enhance sexual performance, and improve the quality of sleep.
Consuming enough vitamins can also protect men from health problems such as heart attacks, colon cancer, and cancer of the prostate.
This is why it is extremely important for men to get as many vitamins as possible through diet. But how do you know which vitamins are the best for you? Keep reading to find out.
What are the Best Vitamins for Men?
Ideally speaking, it is not necessary to take vitamin supplements. However, if you are following a western lifestyle, it may prohibit you to consume a diet rich in every vitamin required for good health.
If you are looking for a multivitamin, it is better to choose a fermented product. Fermentation refers to a type of pre-digestion which helps nutrients get absorbed more easily. This means that you will be able to get more nutrients in every dose of the fermented multivitamins as compared to the non-fermented varieties.
According to the statistics regarding which vitamins are missing from the diets of most of the men, some of the best vitamins for men to take are:
Vitamin D deficiency is among the most common deficiencies faced by both adult women and men. According to an estimate, almost 45 to 75 percent of the adults in the United States alone suffer from a certain degree of vitamin D deficiencies. This is particularly true for people living in colder climates.
Why do men require vitamin D3? This vitamin is essential for the adequate production of testosterone. It is also required to avoid mood disorders such as depression, strengthen strong bones, provide brain protection, and control blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
Vitamin D3 is also important for reducing inflammation. Certain studies have concluded that men who do not have enough vitamin D are 80 percent more vulnerable to experience a heart attack than those who do not have this deficiency.
How can you obtain vitamin D3? Start by eating certain foods such as eggs, mushrooms, and certain dairy products. You can even get this vitamin by getting adequate sunlight without wearing any sunscreen.
Spend 15 to 20 minutes of your day outside in the sunlight without putting on any sunscreen. This will help your body trigger the synthesis of vitamin D. Moreover, it will also help your body detoxify. If you are unable to get sunlight due to colder environments, consider using a supplement to cover up the deficiencies.
A lot of men and women are deficient in vitamin B12, but for different reasons. It has been estimated that most of the men usually get sufficient B12 from eating beef, eggs, and poultry. However, they are unable to properly absorb this vitamin because of certain medicines. This is particularly true for older men who are taking several medicines at a time.
Medicines such as those used to control blood pressure, diabetes, and acid reflux have the capacity to interfere with the absorption and metabolism of vitamin B12. This can be a huge problem since a deficiency of vitamin B12 may cause fatigue and problems related to the central nervous system.
Almost 3 to 4 percent of the adults are at an increased risk of developing severe B12 deficiency. However, 20 percent of them have a borderline deficiency which can be risky.
How can you obtain enough vitamin B12? Try eating animal proteins such as beef, lamb, and salmon. If you do not like animal proteins or are taking medicines on a regular basis, get your B12 levels tested and start a B12 supplement to compensate for your needs.
Consuming a diet full of antioxidant foods such as vegetables and fruits is probably the best way to obtain antioxidant vitamins. These vitamins include vitamin A and C.
These vitamins are important because your body is unable to synthesize them on its own. So it is crucial that you obtain it from an external source. The best advantage of consuming these vitamins is their ability to fight damage caused by free radicals, also known as oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is important to manage since it can speed up the process of aging. It also increases the risk of cognitive decline, heart diseases, vision loss, and cancer in men.
As men tend to age, consuming antioxidant vitamins prove more beneficial as they protect the healthy cells of their body, avoid cell mutations, and prevent tumor growth. They can also reduce muscle wasting, tissue loss, and damage to the arteries.
If you feel like your skin is dry or irritated, your vision has declined, or your sensitivity to light has been disturbed, you might be deficient in vitamin A or E.
Vitamin C deficiency, on the other hand, may manifest itself in the form of a weakened immune system. You will fall sick more frequently, experience nosebleeds, and develop swelling of the gums.
Eating a rainbow worth of foods with different colors, fruits, and vegetables will make sure you get enough vitamin C. Nuts such as almonds and seeds such as sunflower seeds can provide vitamin E. This will go a long way in reducing the risk of problems like atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and skin damage.
Vitamin K is required for building strong bones and maintaining their health. They also help in blood clotting and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Why would a man develop a vitamin K deficiency after all? This deficiency is most commonly seen in men who do not eat enough dairy products or vegetables. It may also occur in those taking antibiotics or medicines for a long period of time.
Another reason for vitamin K deficiency is intestinal problems. Men who suffer from IBD or IBS might have a difficulty absorbing this vitamin.
Vitamin K1 exists in a lot of green vegetables. On the other hand, vitamin K2 is found in dairy products. So the best way to avoid developing vitamin K deficiency is by eating lots of veggies, particularly the leafy greens, collards, broccoli, and cabbage in combination with eggs and wild-caught fish.
In addition to the 4 vitamins mentioned above, it is important for all the men to consume the following fatty acids and minerals:
Magnesium is considered an important electrolyte mineral. It takes part in more than 300 chemical processes occurring inside your body. Magnesium helps in the regulation of calcium, sodium, and potassium. It can also reduce the risk of certain problems such as muscle spasms, blood pressure, heart diseases, and headaches.
The levels of magnesium in modern dietary habits have been constantly going down. This is probably due to factors like soil depletion.
In addition to this, stress seems to play an important role in magnesium deficiency. When a man experiences a lot of stress, exercises, or develops a type of digestive disorder that may hinder the absorption of this nutrient, he is at an increased risk of developing magnesium deficiency.
Omega-3 Fish Oil
A lot of benefits have been attributed to the consumption of wild-caught fish, mainly because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Such fish include sardines, halibut, tuna, and salmon.
Omega-3 fish oil is also important due to the fact that it is generally absent from the typical western diet. Most of the people following this diet tend to eat a lot of omega-6 fatty acids which have pro-inflammatory properties and are found in most of the packaged foods.
However, such foods usually lack enough omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties.
It is ideal for all the men to consume omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio of 2:1 to 4:1. However, this is not the case for most of the men. A lot of men are, in fact, found eating ten times more omega-6 fatty acids as compared to omega-3 fatty acids.
Remember that it is extremely important to balance these fatty acids in order to reduce inflammation, provide protection to the brain, and strengthen the immune systems.
Try eating wild-caught fish multiple times a week or consider taking omega-3 fatty oil supplements in a dose of 1000mg per day.
A low level of potassium increases the risk of encountering cardiovascular problems. These problems include high blood pressure and heart attacks which affect one out of every three adult men.
This deficiency has strong correlations with poor health of bones, a slow metabolism, fatigue, muscle spasms, and poor digestion. Most of the adults in the United States as well as other developed nations tend to suffer from low potassium. In fact, it is even said that these adults don’t even get half the recommended level of potassium they require.
Potassium deficiency is considered to be more common in men taking medicines or diuretics for the treatment of their high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, or diabetes. Moreover, it is also more commonly seen in those who take laxatives for constipation, suffer from adrenal or kidney disorders, or abuse of alcohol.
Men who exercise for more than 2 hours per day can also develop this deficiency.
You may cover up for your potassium deficiency by eating foods such as avocados, beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, grass-fed beef, and salmon. If you suffer from dehydration, fever, or diarrhea, it is possible that you are falling low on potassium and must take the necessary steps to cover up the deficiency.
What are the Risks Factors?
Research says that men tend to have a higher likelihood of developing deficiencies in certain vitamins, especially if they take a highly-processed diet. It is also more prevalent in men belonging to low economic status or in those who are surrounded by people having poor dietary habits. All these factors tend to affect one’s personal habits and their choices of food.
There are about 13 essential vitamins that all men require such as vitamin D, A, C, K, E, and B complex. In addition to this, they also require several important minerals, fatty acids, and electrolytes as well.
It is possible for you to develop any deficiency of these vitamins or minerals without exhibiting any signs. So, if you have no apparent symptoms of vitamin deficiency, do not assume that you do not have one.
The risk factors which put a man at an increased risk of developing a vitamin deficiency include:
- Consuming a poor diet, especially the one with not enough fruit and vegetables
- Having an old age
- Having a family history
- Preventing most of the animal products
- Following a vegan diet
- Suffering from food allergies that interfere with metabolic processes or eliminates some food groups from your daily diet. For example, having intolerance towards dairy products.
- Consuming minimal calories or being underweight
- Consuming medicines that tend to block the effects of certain vitamins
- Recovering from a sickness that had affected your nutrient absorption within the digestive tract
- Belonging to a low socioeconomic status, experiencing poverty, or having a lack of education (as this makes it difficult for you to buy high-quality foods)
Is Your Diet Providing You with Enough Vitamins?
It might be possible that you are already eating a solid diet and including different nutrient-rich foods in your meals daily. Does this mean you are still at high risk of developing vitamin deficiencies?
The risk factors stated above can help you understand if you are at an increased risk of developing them. However, research has shown that certain groups of men are naturally more prone to developing vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
If you belong to one of the following three groups, it is wise to consider taking supplements to cover up the deficiencies:
You hardly eat eggs, meat, poultry, and dairy
Vegetarians and people following a vegan diet are more prone to developing vitamin B12 deficiency. They may also encounter a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids or essential amino acids at some point in their lives.
If you tend to avoid all animal foods, it is better to consider taking a daily supplement. If you do not eat fish or any other seafood on a regular basis, you might benefit from extra omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
Iron deficiency is considered to be one of the most common deficiencies on a global level. While most of the people think women to be its sole victims, men can also develop it. Therefore, it is important that you add a certain level of animal protein to your diet.
You may also pair the plant sources of non-heme iron such as beans and seeds with foods rich in vitamin C in order to improve its absorption.
You have a history of GI problems that interfere with absorption
Even if you are eating a diet rich in nutrients and minerals, it is of no use to your body if your absorption is not good enough. A lack of some digestive enzymes together with the reduction in stomach acids can affect the absorption of certain vitamins.
This problem is normally more prevalent in people suffering from food allergies and inflammatory bowel disease. Older men who experience impaired digestive functions due to natural aging process may also be at an increased risk due to this reason.
You are taking medicines
Consuming certain common medicines can reduce your levels of some important minerals and vitamins. Antibiotics are among these drugs as they can block the absorption of various important minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron.
Cholesterol-lowering medicines, antacids, medicines to control high blood pressures, and those for diabetes can interfere with the natural pH of your GI tract. In this way, they mess with your normal metabolism of various minerals and vitamins.
If you belong to any of the above-mentioned groups, consider getting your vitamin levels tested every year and make arrangements to compensate for any vitamin deficiency, if found.