6 Vitamins and Minerals all Men should be taking
Sean Ward provides an overview of the six key minerals and vitamins that all men should be taking.
“May you live in interesting times”. This Chinese proverb is not a well-wishing prayer, far from it, it is supposed to be a curse. Some people interpret it the following way: we live in the age of massive information access and opportunity, which is interesting, and yet, we are faced with glaringly ridiculous statistics when it comes to common-sense decisions.
One such area is our nutrition. Despite the enormous amount of research pointing to the dependence of human health on micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), it is astounding to realize that 95% of American adults are deficient in vitamin D and 61% are deficient in Magnesium, two of the most important micronutrients for the human body (according to a study by ewg.org).
For men, these deficiencies in essential nutrients have a direct result on the endocrine system, increases the susceptibility to erectile dysfunction, and lowers the free testosterone in the blood as well.
Owing to the difference micronutrients can have on a man’s sex life, it is a no-brainer to at least know about, and incorporate vitamins and minerals for sexual health.
95% of adults deficient in a fundamentally required vitamin, is quite a shocking statistic. According to a study submitted to the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in 2015, researchers found compelling evidence suggesting the link between low levels of vitamin D and erectile dysfunction.
And yes, the reason such a study was presented at a “heart association”, is because its deficiency raises the probability of stroke and heart attacks.
Furthermore, this vitamin is essential in maintaining the health of the skeletal system and regulating cholesterol as well.
Dietary intake of vitamin D is possible through both plants and animal products. While plants like mushrooms can provide vitamin D2, animal products contain vitamin D3, which has a much stronger effect in raising serum vitamin D levels, than vitamin D2.
But by far, the most potent and beneficial way to cater for a deficiency in this vitamin is to get enough sun every day, without sunscreen. Even half an hour would suffice.
A person must be careful not to end up with poor cardiovascular and sexual health in fear of skin problems from the sun!
One of the greatest scientists to ever live, and one of only four people to have won more than one Nobel Prize, was also probably the most vocal admirer of vitamin C and its potential to save humanity from a colossal number of ailments.
His name was Linus Pauling, and while the scientific community continues to research Pauling’s claims, an undeniable mountain of evidence is piling up in favour of what he proposed decades ago.
Vitamin C continues to be accepted as the go-to vitamin to boost immunity against all kinds of diseases, and to nourish the body with antioxidants that heal oxidative damage. This goes a long way, essentially slowing down the ageing process.
And there is more good news for men. The protection from oxidative damage is not limited to blood vessels and organs, but also hormones. In particular, vitamin C can heal damaged testosterone.
Couple that with the fact that testicle tissues themselves are protected by vitamin C, we have good reason to believe in this vitamin’s ability to make men’s sexual life shine.
Consuming vitamin C through diet should be a breeze. All citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens like kale are abundant in it. And additionally, very cheap supplements are available almost everywhere.
While the body’s ability to absorb vitamin C from those supplements is low, it is still a suitable alternative if fresh veggies and fruits are not available.
Most commonly associated with eye health, there is a lot more to this essential vitamin that makes it an excellent vitamin for men to consume.
First of all, the term vitamin A is kind of a misnomer as it implicitly conveys the idea that vitamin A is a unique compound.
Unlike vitamin C (which IS a unique compound, ascorbic acid), vitamin A is the name of a group of compounds called retinoids, which occur naturally in plants and animals.
There is a chain of chemical processes that relate vitamin A deficiency, to plummeting T levels. For testosterone production, particular fats are required through diet.
These fats are only accessible by the body if the person has an adequate supply of vitamin A. Furthermore, the very chemical basis of the creation of sperm requires vitamin A.
However, while a person may experience a boost in T levels through vitamin A intake in the case of a deficiency, there is no reason to believe that excess over the recommended 3,000 IU for men, would result in a further increase in serum T levels.
Moving on to the mineral section of essential micronutrients, zinc deserves a special mention owing to the tremendous amount of research (like these papers: 1, 2, 3), which directly relates zinc with testosterone production.
A zinc deficiency has been clinically proven to lower testosterone levels, and the syndrome has been called hypogonadism.
12% of adults in the USA are deficient in zinc. Knowing how direct an effect this has on testosterone production, the sexual lives of millions are subpar. With the 15mg RDA for male adults, one would expect it to be easy to have enough zinc in their body.
And well, it is. Merely incorporating more meat, especially veal, can set a person on his way to proper zinc intake. And for vegetarians, no sweat, pure cacao is a great alternative.
Other foods that include zinc in a high amount, but might be more challenging to obtain and incorporate, are animal liver and oysters.
Talking of meat and pure cacao, consuming these foods simultaneously pumps a body with another essential mineral, magnesium.
Magnesium helps T levels in one fundamental way: lowering the amount of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which is the chemical to which testosterone binds, reducing the amount of freely available testosterone.
A study from 2011, published in the Biological Trace Elements Research, also suggested evidence of magnesium’s role in testosterone production.
Boron might not be a well-known or popular mineral, but this hidden gem has some nice tricks up its sleeve.
This mineral too, acts similarly to magnesium, by lowering the SHBG concentrations. And these effects of boron supplementation have been well documented in studies like this one.
And while it may seem like an exotic and mysterious element, it is pretty easy to include in a person’s diet.
Dried apricots, raisins, and the mighty avocado are some of the boron-rich, cheap, and accessible foods available almost everywhere.
In conclusion, while it might be tedious to keep track of all kinds of micronutrients vital for a human body's optimal functionality, from the perspective of a disciplined male aiming to boost testosterone and overall sexual health, the incorporation of these six nutrients into his diet, can go a very long way.
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About the Author
Sean Ward is the Founder of Naturally Boost Testosterone, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing natural ways for men to boost hormone levels. You can also find him on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.