Did you know, New Zealand men live on average four years less than women and despite this, still remain much less likely to consult a doctor about an issue? And as a population, we’re not in the best shape – 6 out of 10 New Zealand males are overweight, nearly one in four of us smoke and 40 of us are diagnosed each day as having diabetes. Of course, it doesn’t help matters that many men now lead a more sedentary lifestyle and foods once considered ‘nutritious’ are now highly processed. The confronting reality is we’re overfed, underexercised and undernourished.
When the odds are not in our favour to begin with, supplementation is a great way to ensure we give our bodies’ the best possible chance at life by feeding it with the necessary nutrients.
With the above in mind, it’s important to bear in mind that not all males’ needs are one and the same. Location, diet, stress and lifestyle, are all unique factors to consider when it comes to vitamins. While a multivitamin is a great way to ensure you fill any general nutrient gaps, it’s not always the best solution for addressing individual vitamin and mineral deficiencies. That’s where a personalised approach, like Vitally, comes in. (Oh and hey, if you’re a woman reading this, consider these valuable recommendations for the man in your life, whether it’s your father, husband or son.)
A nutrient-dense diet or vitamin subscription can deliver a wealth of benefits including better muscle strength, boosted energy, a good night’s sleep, enhanced sexual performance and overall health.
Based on studies about which vitamins a high percentage of men might be missing, here are some of the most important supplements to make sure you get enough of:
Studies show 77 percent of men have insufficient magnesium intake, which plays an integral part in overall wellness. Magnesium is an essential mineral linked to many functions in the body, including r regulating calcium, potassium and sodium levels, which in turns helps to prevent conditions like high blood pressure, muscle twitches, difficulty sleeping, headaches and heart disease. Men who exercise regularly or who are prone to stress may be experiencing low magnesium levels. Likewise, those that suffer from any digestive or bowel disorders could also be experiencing insufficient magnesium absorption.
This is one for the Kiwi men in particular – 45 percent to 75 percent of all adults experience at least some degree of vitamin D deficiency. In New Zealand we tend to ‘overprotect’ against the sun due to our thin ozone layer and high incidence of melanoma skin cancer. We get the majority of our vitamin D from directly being exposed to the sun but this does not mean scale back on the sunscreen – simply consider a daily vitamin. Men require vitamin D to produce enough testosterone, maintain strong bones, regulate mood and ensure optimum brain health. Low vitamin D has also been found to increase the risk of heart disease and decrease bone density.
Many men (and women) tend to be low in vitamin B, although usually for different reasons. Studies show that most men usually consume the daily recommended intake of vitamin B through consuming foods like beef, poultry and eggs. However, it’s often lost through poor absorption due to medication use, especially older men taking several prescriptions at once. Often, medications used to manage blood pressure or diabetes can interfere with how vitamin B is metabolised in the body. A vitamin B deficiency can result in fatigue (often crashing in the afternoon!), nervous system response problems and poor mood regulation.
There are numerous benefits associated with high omega-3 fatty acids (i.e. fish oil), which are anti-inflammatory and beneficial for health. Omega-3 cannot be produced by the human body so need to be a part of our diet. Sufficient Omega-3 levels ensure can help to keep inflammation to a minimum, protect the heart, and ensure optimum brain function.
Lesser known than perhaps the above, although not to be overlooked, is glucosamine – traditionally used for joint support. It is considered one of the world’s most popular supplements for addressing joint problems. Glucosamine is a major building block for the chains and lattices that make up cartilage, making it a particularly important supplement for men who exercise regularly. Glucosamine can help to rebuild cartilage and connective tissue as it is worn down.