Recent research has shown that men are missing out on some vital nutrients that are very important for their overall health. Typically, men are less likely to see a doctor when they get a sign of bothersome health symptoms.
You know the rules of living healthily – eat a balanced diet, get enough rest, exercise regularly, and so on – but the question is, “do you even keep to all of these?”
A report from the International Food Council Foundation claims that the majority of men know the importance of a change in their diet can bring to their overall health, but very few go through with this change. The truth is, you can get almost all the nutrients you need, only if you can pay close attention. But sadly, not all men pay attention, and nutrition needs usually vary with age.
For instance, men who are over 70 years need more vitamin D than those in their mid-30s, because they do not get enough of it, and some don’t even get it.
In reality, men of all ages are deficient in almost every nutritional category, and you need to eat diets that are rich in whole grains, healthy oils, fruits, and vegetables to have healthy nutrition.
Essential Vitamins for Men
It is hard enough not getting enough vitamin D from the consumption of food and its notably worse for those who work inside all day and do not get enough exposure to the sun. And this is very needed by the body in the production of vitamin D.
When your body absorbs sunlight, it converts cholesterol to vitamin D, then vitamin D is transported to the entire body by your liver and kidney, to create healthy cells, the skin inclusive. Vitamin D plays a significant role in skin tone and may help treat psoriasis.
Vitamin D becomes more vital as you age, because it is essential in the absorption of calcium, to prevent weak bones and muscles. Research also indicates that being deficient in vitamin D may increase your risk for colon cancer, and men who have low levels of vitamin D are twice prone to have a heart attack than those with normal levels. Vitamin D is needed to support protein synthesis, and this is essential so you can stay strong and healthy. It also helps to promote mood balance, absorption of nutrients, and insulin.
Also, vitamin D has been proven to improve serotonin levels, strengthen the immune system, and even aid in weight loss.
However, excess intake of vitamin D can lead to muscle weakness and tiredness, so it’s important to stay below 2,000 UI unless your doctor gives you the go-ahead to exceed that.
Good nutritional sources of vitamin D include milk, egg, yoghurt, orange juice, salmon, and sardines. You can also raise your vitamin D level, by getting 10 minutes of sun exposure daily, but consult your doctor first, particularly, if you have a history of skin cancer.
Vitamin A is essential because it aids in sustaining good vision. Because of its role in supporting activities of the immune system, it is termed the “anti-infective vitamin.” Vitamin A is unlike any other vitamin, as it promotes protein synthesis, and it is also needed in the creation of glycogen. Vitamin A also helps in fighting free radicals, and it aids in healthy and strong bones.
Because vitamin A plays an essential role in the development of cells, it may be able to reduce your risk of developing certain cancers.
The recommended intake of vitamin A is 3,000UI, and excess intake can cause nausea and vomiting, sometimes it can result in brittle bones.
A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to night blindness, often referred to as nyctalopia, and that’s because vitamin A is a major component of the pigment rhodopsin. People who have this condition would be able to see during the day, but experience difficulties at night, due to reduced vision.
Having vitamin A deficiency in the United States of America is a rare occurrence, as you are expected to get enough vitamin A, as long as you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. However, it can also be made deficient by some environmental factors such as low-fat diets, alcohol, and health conditions like diabetes.
The best sources of vitamin A are apricots, sweet potato, fatty fishes, spinach, carrots, milk, and cod liver oil.
Vitamin B12 can also be referred to as “cobalamin”, and it is a very crucial vitamin, but your body cannot produce it. This vitamin is naturally found in animals but can be gotten from supplements.
As you grow older, your body’s need for vitamin B becomes higher, as it helps improve the brain’s health and prevent any medical condition like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Vitamin B enhances the functioning of the nervous system, memory inclusive. Depression and dementia are both symptoms of low serum B12.
The effect of vitamin B12 on mood isn’t fully understood yet.
Still, it plays an important role in the synthesizing and metabolism of serotonin, which is the chemical responsible for controlling mood. Therefore, having a deficiency in vitamin B12 may lead to a depressed mood or severe depression.
Vitamin B12 helps your body in the production of red blood cells, which is responsible for transporting oxygen to the muscles. For this reason, vitamin B12 is considered vital in muscle growth. This vitamin is also needed for DNA synthesis, and can even help prevent certain heart diseases.
Due to its role in cell production, vitamin B12 is necessary to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. When you are deficient in this vitamin, it can cause different dermatologic symptoms, such as nail discoloration, vitiligo, and Hyperpigmentation. But if you do not lack in vitamin B12, and you increase your intake, it might not improve the health of your skin, nails, and hair.
Having an adequate amount of vitamin B12 would help support your bone health. For older men, bones with decreased density become a normal occurrence when they are deficient in vitamin B12. Low blood levels of vitamin B12 have been linked with a higher risk of osteoporosis (weak bones).
Maintaining a balanced level of vitamin B12 can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, and it may lower homocysteine – an amino acid found in the bloodstream.
Macular degeneration is an eye condition that affects your central vision, and having adequate levels of vitamin B12 would reduce homocysteine levels in the blood and prevents the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Vitamin B12 supplements have been said to be a great source of energy. All B vitamins play an essential role in energy production, although it doesn’t provide energy itself. There is currently not enough research to prove that vitamin B12 directly helps to boost energy in those who have enough of this vitamin. However, if you are deficient in vitamin B12, increasing your vitamin intake would most likely boost your energy level.
Your daily dosage of Vitamin B12 should be 2.4 mcg, and this can be easily gotten from your diet if you eat right. Just a single serving of fortified breakfast cereal would give you more than enough amount of this vitamin for the day. Vitamin B12 can also be added to your multivitamin. Although high dosages of vitamin B12 haven’t been proven to have any adverse effect on the health, you should not exceed the recommended dosage, unless your doctor recommends it.
A note of warning, vegans, and vegetarians have a higher risk of being deficient in this vitamin, so make sure you eat soybeans and some fortified cereals.
The best sources for vitamin B12 include beef, chicken, salmon, milk, and eggs.
This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that plays a protective role in the body by counteracting free radicals that work in attacking healthy cells. A high level of intake may work to slow down the signs and symptoms of aging. However, research has proven that vitamin C might not be so effective in preventing you from getting a cold, but it is a vital building block for excellent nutrition.
Having high blood pressure puts you at risk of developing heart diseases, which is a major cause of death globally. So many studies have shown that adequate intake of vitamin C may help reduce high blood pressure in those who have high blood pressure.
Vitamin C can help prevent iron deficiency because it is essential in the production of red blood cells and the transporting of oxygen throughout the body.
When you are deficient in vitamin C, it can cause anemia and even scurvy which is still present in some underfed older adults. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for men is 90 mg per day.
Excess vitamin intake would not have any adverse effect on you, because your body cannot store it, but you might have an upset stomach.
Taking supplements and eating enough fruits and vegetables would give your body an adequate level of this nutrient.
The best sources of vitamin C include oranges, cabbages, watermelon, asparagus, and tomatoes.
However, some health conditions may need special dietary supplements, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about your nutrition needs.
For the majority of men, the main point on vitamins and men’s health is: if you eat enough balanced diets, take standard multivitamins, and then your nutrition needs would be balanced.