How to Support Men’s Health
Written by: Ryah Nabielski, MS, RDN
With all the nutrition and fitness information available, knowing how to live a healthy lifestyle that prevents disease can feel overwhelming. Men are known for skipping wellness exams and brushing symptoms under the rug, and society tells men to suck up pain and discomfort. Yet, nothing is more important than taking care of your body so you can live a long and vibrant life.
The best advice for overall health is to get back to the basics with a nutritious diet, regular exercise, good sleep, low stress, and fulfilling relationships. With this foundation, you can target specific issues with nutrients, herbs, and other strategies.
This article will cover many critical men’s health topics, including:
Keep reading to learn what nutrients support more energy, a better mood, a sharper mind, and more. Plus, we’ll dive into Twenty2 Nutrition’s new Men’s Multivitamin and best practices for use.
Good energy brings the ability to thrive in daily physical and intellectual activities. Energy requires fueling the body with macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat). And many micronutrients, like B vitamins, are necessary for turning the fuel you eat into energy (as ATP).
If you are feeling sluggish or tired, here are some nutrients and herbs to consider:
- B vitamins – B vitamins are vital in the chemical reactions inside cells that produce ATP. B vitamins support red blood cell formation and neurotransmitter synthesis. Every body cell requires them, from the brain to your muscles.
- Panax ginseng – Panax ginseng has been an important medicinal herb used in traditional medicine in Asia for more than 2000 years. Its active constituents, including ginsenosides, offer many health benefits. Panax ginseng is a gentle stimulant known for relieving fatigue, lowering stress, combatting aging, and increasing vigor. No wonder it’s called the “king of all herbs.”
For more energy tips, read How to Improve Your Energy.
Often, women get the most attention regarding mood changes and mental health; they are more susceptible because of large hormonal fluctuations and transitions. However, even though men’s hormones are more stable, men are also at risk for mood swings and mental health symptoms. Men are also less likely to seek help when needed.
Nutrition is a crucial mood regulator. A healthy eating pattern and balanced blood sugar mean less depression and other mental health symptoms. Also consider:
- Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb; it helps regulate the body’s stress response. Ashwagandha works via the HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis) and GABA and serotonin pathways to combat stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
- B vitamins – B vitamins are essential in brain health, neurotransmitter synthesis, and energy production. B vitamins are often depleted in times of stress, and boosting B vitamins may support a balanced mood.
Men have 15 times more testosterone than women. Abundant testosterone supports muscle mass, athletic performance, sex drive, sperm production, and more.
From peak levels, testosterone declines by 1 to 2% per year. A faster decline may cause fatigue, decreased muscle mass, increased body fat, mood changes, memory changes, poor metabolic health, and changes in sexual health.
Understanding the root cause of low testosterone is important for proper treatment. In addition, nutrition helps support healthy testosterone production. Consider:
- Zinc – Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a role in testosterone production and sperm health. Supplementing with zinc improves testosterone levels in men with low testosterone.
- Maca – Maca root is a medicinal herb with a long history of use in Peru for vitality and sexual function. In men, maca may improve symptoms of low testosterone with a high safety profile.
- Eurycoma longifolia - Eurycoma longifolia is a medicinal herb native to Southeast Asia with a history of traditional use for sexual dysfunction and infertility. In modern research, supplementation may help improve testosterone levels.
Cognition, memory, and other measures of brain health are also significant men’s health issues, especially with age. Nutritious food, exercise, trying new things, and having a purpose all help keep your brain healthy and adaptable. In addition, consider:
- Inositol – Inositol is a natural molecule found in cell membranes. It’ for cellular communication and function. Depleted inositol levels are associated with neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Inositol supplementation is protective against weight gain, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.
- Acetyl L-carnitine – Acetyl L-carnitine is another natural molecule involved in energy metabolism. While this is important throughout the body, it plays a significant role in the brain and may help protect against dementia.
Infertility is defined as trying to conceive without success for 12 months, affecting around 8 to 12% of couples globally. Until recently, fertility issues were primarily discussed as a women’s problem, but new research suggests male factor accounts for infertility in 50% of cases.
Sperm health is vital beyond conception; it influences the pregnancy, fetal development, and health of the child into adulthood. In addition, sperm health is a window into overall health. If sperm count and quality is suboptimal, there may be issues with general health, such as excess weight, insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, etc.
In addition to healthy lifestyle behaviors that promote fertility, consider:
- A quality multivitamin - Prenatal vitamins aren’t just for women; male partners should consider beginning a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement at least 3 to 6 months before trying to conceive.
- Antioxidants – Antioxidants are critical for protecting fragile sperm cells from oxidative stress and DNA damage. Antioxidant nutrients include vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, alpha lipoic acid, acetyl L-carnitine, and others.
- Astaxanthin – Astaxanthin is a carotenoid compound that gives salmon its pink color. It’s a powerful antioxidant with anti-aging, metabolic health, and fertility-enhancing properties for both men and women. Animal studies suggest astaxanthin has protective effects on sperm, contributing to increased sperm count and quality.
According to the CDC, the leading cause of death for men is heart disease. Over 40% of adult men in the U.S. are obese, and almost 52% have high blood pressure. Poor metabolic health and chronic disease are largely lifestyle-related, and risk increases with age.
Building healthy habits today sets you up for a long and healthy life. Begin with eating well, balancing blood sugar, and tending to your physical and emotional health. In addition, consider:
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D plays many roles in healthy aging, from strong bones to a robust immune system. Vitamin D deficiency is common and may be a risk factor for accelerated aging and cognitive decline. Tip: Be sure to take vitamin K2 with vitamin D3; vitamin K2 helps direct calcium into bones instead of arteries.
- Alpha lipoic acid – Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a natural compound in human mitochondria. ALA supports cardiovascular, cognitive, detoxification, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory functions but decreases with age. Supplementing with ALA may help with disease prevention.
Vision is another system that declines with age, and antioxidants play a critical role in preserving vision. In addition to eating fruits and vegetables, consider:
- Vitamin A – Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient with antioxidant properties that plays a vital role in vision. A deficiency in vitamin A causes night blindness. Active vitamin A is found in animal foods, while plant foods contain carotenoids (such as beta-carotene) which are provitamin A forms.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin – Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoid compounds found in yellow, orange, and leafy green vegetables. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants and protect against age-related eye diseases. A 5mg to 1mg ratio of lutein to zeaxanthin is desirable in supplements.
Men’s Health Multivitamin
A quality multivitamin can be part of your overall men’s wellness plan. In addition to nutrition and lifestyle support, a multivitamin provides vitamins, minerals, and other important compounds to support energy, vitality, and healthy aging. Think of it as your nutrition insurance policy!
Twenty2 Nutrition Men’s Multivitamin (Add link to product) contains all the nutrients discussed here (and more) in their most optimal, bioavailable forms. The new men’s multivitamin contains:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K2
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B7
- Vitamin B9
- Vitamin B12
Bioactive compounds, antioxidants, and plant extracts:
- Acetyl L-carnitine
- Betaine anhydrous
- Panax ginseng
- Alpha lipoic acid
- Digestive enzymes
Take two capsules with breakfast and two with lunch for best results. With consistent use, notice how you feel in terms of energy, mood, libido, and cognition.
Please don’t discount the power of healthy habits and solid nutrition regarding men’s health. Taking care of your health with simple changes, such as adding a multivitamin, is something you can begin today for a lifetime of wellness.
This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, take medication, or have a medical condition.
Ryah Nabielski, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian, functional nutritionist, writer, and recipe creator. Ryah helps clients use a natural, food-as-medicine approach to improve fertility, pregnancy, hormone balance, autoimmunity, and discover a healthy relationship with food and body. Learn more about Ryah and her private practice at econutrition.co.