Are vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other supplements necessary in a mans diet? Do male supplements actually treat various conditions, such as prostate problems, impotence, and low libido? Are they effective for promoting general health and well-being?
In an ideal world, everyone (men and women alike) would get all the nutrition their body needs from food. But David Grotto, a former American Dietetic Association spokesperson, says that is wishful thinking, especially for men.
Male Nutritional Deficits
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), men between the ages of 31 and 50 do not eat enough fruit and vegetables to meet the minimum dietary guidelines. Current statistics show deficits in all nutritional categories, except for meat and beans.
Men suffer various health problems as a result of nutritional deficits. Matt McMillen, writing for WebMD, says that four different nutrients — vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, and multivitamins — were evaluated over a ten-year period. While individual supplements did not have measurable benefits for men, combinations can have a positive impact on health.
Multivitamins For Men
For example, vitamin C and vitamin E alone did not lower the risk of developing prostate disease or cancer. But studies indicate a combination of vitamins C and E, taken along with zinc and beta carotene, may slow the progression of an eye disease known as macular degeneration.
While individual supplements often fare poorly in clinical trials, multivitamins and combination male supplements can benefit mens health. Replicating whole food is nearly impossible in a supplement, but multivitamins that reflect food-based sources may help offset nutritional deficiencies.
Many doctors and dietitians recommend that men take a daily multivitamin to supplement their normal diet. However, Grotto reminds men that multivitamins “are supplements, not replacements.” Men should strive to get most of their nutrition from the food they eat.
Important Dietary Supplements
The best dietary supplements are those that are specially formulated for men. Since men get enough iron from the meat they consume, their multivitamin should contain little or no iron. A vitamin D and calcium supplement is a good addition to the multivitamin, as these nutrients keep their bones strong.
Herbs For Prostate Health
Natural herbs meet some of the specific needs of the male population. For example, prostate health and cancer are important health issues affecting men today. Male supplements that contain saw palmetto, red clover encourage prostate health. Vitamin B6, zinc, and lycopene (tomato extract) also promote a healthy prostate.
Male Sexual Health
Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, affects millions of men. Male supplements that balance a mans sex hormones, promote mental relaxation, and improve blood circulation to the penis are beneficial to treat this condition. Ginkgo biloba, tribulus terrestris, gotu kola, muira puama, and other botanical extracts are common herbal remedies for impotence. L-Arginine supplements are also helpful.
Together, these nutrients are more therapeutic than individual supplements taken alone. A good multivitamin — combined with a balanced blend of herbs and a healthy, balanced diet — provides the most effective nutrients for male health, general health, and overall quality of life.