In addition to a healthy diet and active lifestyle, there are a few key nutrients for men’s health. Learn about the most essential nutrients for men’s health and find out how you can include them in your diet and supplement routine.
Although vitamin D is most well-known for its role in bone health, it’s also important for muscle development, healthy testosterone levels, and mental health. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D ranges from 15 mcg (600 IU) for men ages 19 to 70 and 20 mcg (800 IU) for men above age 71. Some men may require higher amounts to support healthy vitamin D levels, and doses up to 100 mcg (4,000 IU) are considered safe. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about your vitamin D needs.
You can get vitamin D in a few different ways:
- Sunlight. This is why vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.” Your body can make vitamin D with exposure to sunlight. Keep in mind that this amount can vary based on geographic location, environmental conditions, sunscreen use, age, and skin color, so sunlight may not always be a reliable source of vitamin D.
- Food. Vitamin D-rich foods include fatty fish (think salmon, mackerel, herring, or tuna), egg yolks, and liver. Unfortunately, few foods naturally contain vitamin D, but some are fortified with vitamin D, like milk and orange juice.
- Vitamin D supplements. If you don’t think you get enough vitamin D through food and sunlight, you may consider taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement to make sure you get enough of this vital nutrient.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 is a vitamin-like nutrient produced in the body and found in small amounts in food. CoQ10 plays an important role in energy production within the body, and may also help support heart health and male fertility.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Commonly found in fish, nuts, and seeds, omega-3s help support brain, eye, heart, and immune health. EPA and DHA, two of the most researched types of omega-3 fatty acids, are a great source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
While there is no official adequate intake level for EPA and DHA, it’s clear that omega-3s are essential for overall health. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating two or more servings of a variety of fatty fish or seafood each week.
For those who do not eat fatty fish regularly, a high-quality omega-3 fish oil supplement may be beneficial to help you get enough omega-3s. If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or allergic to fish, consider an algae-based omega-3 supplement instead.
Along with carbohydrates and fat, protein is one of the big three macronutrients. It helps support healthy tissues and muscles throughout the body, plays an important role in immune health, and helps support satiety and a healthy weight. There’s no shortage of protein sources – think lean meat, poultry, fish, nuts, beans, seeds, dairy, eggs, and tofu. With so many great options, most men have no trouble getting enough protein from their diet. Although protein needs are different for everyone, adult men usually need around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. So, a 160-pound (72.7 kg) man would need about 58 grams of protein per day. Male athletes or those trying to build muscle may have higher protein requirements. Talk with a registered dietitian if you’re curious about your own protein needs.
Other Important Nutrients for Men’s Health
Vitamin D, CoQ10, omega-3s, and protein aren’t the only important nutrients for men’s health. Vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, and zinc all deserve an honorable mention. Vitamin A helps support eye health, vitamin C and zinc support your immune system, B vitamins are involved in energy metabolism, and vitamin K helps support healthy blood clotting.
While you should aim to get your nutrients from food first, a multivitamin can help you fill in the gaps. Nutrient needs vary between genders and life stages, so make sure you choose a high-quality multivitamin that’s right for you. Many multivitamins formulated for men won’t have iron – that’s okay. Men have lower iron needs than women, and many men can meet their iron needs through diet alone.
Choosing High-Quality Supplements
Our final health tip is for men on the search for a high-quality supplement. When choosing any supplement, look for one that has been third-party tested and certified by either USP and NSF International. These companies certify that products contain what they say they do and that they are free from contaminants. Testing and certification can help you to feel more confident in the safety of your supplements.