There are a variety of supplements available, many marketed specifically to men. And, with all the flashy packaging and exciting health claims, it can be tempting to reach for the latest products. Despite all this advertising, food should be your first source of nutrients.
Following a balanced eating pattern is the best way to get the nutrients your body needs, including protein, vitamins and minerals. You can get these key nutrients from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein foods and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
Some supplements mention they boost energy. But, if you are not following a balanced eating pattern, getting enough sleep or physically active on a regular basis, you may not have good energy levels. When you're not getting all the nutrients you need or in the recommended amounts, your body also may have trouble fending off illness, and dietary supplements may be necessary for an additional nutrient boost. But before taking a supplement, talk with your health care provider. It's important to know about safety and usefulness of supplements before starting a new routine.
Safety of Dietary Supplements
Be careful when choosing supplements. While dietary supplements are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, they are managed differently than conventional foods and drugs. Manufacturers do not have to prove a supplement is safe or even that it works before it is sold. The FDA can take action to remove or restrict the sale of a supplement only after it has been on the market and is proven unsafe.
There are different reasons supplements may be recommended for men. A few might include:
Bone Health: Calcium and vitamin D are key nutrients for bone health. If you fall behind on getting these nutrients, you may need a supplement separate from a regular multivitamin, since multivitamins usually do not contain enough calcium to meet recommendations.
- Men need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Men older than 70 need 1,200 milligrams a day, and teens need 1,300 milligrams a day.
- Men also need 600 IU of vitamin D each day. After age 70, this increases to 800 IU of vitamin D.
Vegetarian Diet: People who follow a vegetarian or vegan eating style may not get adequate amounts of vitamin B12, a nutrient that supports the nervous system.
Eye Health: Carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, may play a role in eye health. Focus on including fruits and vegetables such as kale, spinach, carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and broccoli into your day.
Factor In Fortified Foods
Supplements don't only come in a bottle. Many foods including cereals, breads, pastas, energy bars and drinks are enriched or fortified with vitamins, minerals, herbs and amino acids — the building blocks of proteins.Foods should be factored in when considering a dietary supplement. Consuming too much of one nutrient may pose serious health threats. Consult a registered dietitian nutritionist to help evaluate your daily eating pattern prior to starting a supplement regimen.
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