Essential Nutrients for Men

Nutrition
June 27, 2011

The best nutrients for men that do everything from raising good cholesterol to increasing fertility.

Whether men want to build strong muscles or prevent chronic disease, specific nutrients can help them stay healthy throughout their lives. Vitamin A, beta-carotene and zinc are a few of the essential nutrients men should make sure they get daily.

Beta-carotene. When beta-carotene is digested, it breaks down into vitamin A, which is essential for good vision. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, studies have shown that beta-carotene may help slow progressive diseases of the eye like macular degeneration. Beta-carotene also helps prevent heart disease and cancer and can help men develop a resistance to sun damage. In a study published in the “Archives of Internal Medicine,” beta-carotene can help prevent the decline in mental function and cognition that a large percentage of men experience later in life.

Niacin. Overall, men tend to have higher levels of cholesterol than women. While prescription medications for cholesterol are still being developed, niacin offers an alternative for cholesterol control. Along with helping the body break down carbohydrates into energy, niacin can help raise good cholesterol by 15 percent to 35 percent, the Mayo Clinic reports. An increase in good cholesterol can mean a reduced risk of heart disease later in life, the leading cause of death in men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zinc. Zinc is essential for men planning for a pregnancy. The Bastyr Center for Natural Health reports that a study published in “Fertility and Sterility” indicates that zinc can help men increase their sperm count, making it a good supplement to take when trying to get pregnant. Zinc may also offer men a natural alternative to fertility treatments.

Vitamins C, E and selenium. Found in fresh fruits and vegetables, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium are powerful nutrients for men. Though not as effective in supplement form, vitamins C and E can help prevent chronic disease for men later in life, while selenium works to protect cells from free radicals, helpful when trying to prevent cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies involving these three antioxidants have indicated they might aid in preventing the risk of prostate cancer in men.

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