Men tend to think that they are unbeatable. When it comes to health, men are like ostriches. they bury their heads in the sand. They are thinking that they are naturally stronger than women so they can afford to neglect taking symptoms seriously and living a health-oriented lifestyle. But let me tell you two facts:
- First, it may sound surprising, but our behavioral patterns represent approximately 40% of health determinants. It is not just your genes directing your life, but how you take care of your genes that will affect how your genes behave.
- Even more dumbfounding is that researches have shown that if men and women received similar nutrition, medical attention, and general health care, women would live longer than men. 25, 26 Females are more protected from many diseases because of their double dose of the X chromosome.
So, you’re not that invulnerable. But starting pay more attention to your body may be a powerful game-changer for every man.
“Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.”
– Kevin Trudeau
Let’s take a look at 5 nutrients that boost men’s performance and health.
Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic, affecting over a billion people worldwide. Most people think it is about bone health, but vitamin D has been proven to play a pivotal role in a number of non-skeletal functions, including cell growth, inflammation, neuromuscular and immune functions.
One consequence of vitamin D deficiency is low testosterone. Studies showed that serum testosterone and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (a marker of vitamin D) were positively correlated. Men with the lowest levels of vitamin D had significantly lower testosterone concentrations. 1, 2, 3
In a German study, vitamin D deficient participants received 3,332 IU vitamin D daily for 1 year. Compared to the baseline, testosterone levels increased by 25% and free testosterone by 20% in the supplemented group after 12 months, while there were no significant changes in the control group. 4
A study published in Urology found that carnitine supplementation (2 grams of propionyl-L-carnitine plus 2 grams of acetyl-L-carnitine per day) was more active than orally administered testosterone in improving symptoms associated with the decline of androgenic hormones in men, such as sexual dysfunction and depressed mood. Erectile function, sexual desire, sexual satisfaction as well as general sexual well-being, and depression scores improved significantly in the group receiving carnitine. 12
In addition, carnitine plays an important role in sperm maturation and metabolism. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 A review of 9 clinical trials found significant improvement in sperm kinetic features and pregnancy rate with supplemental L-carnitine and/or acetyl-L-carnitine. 13, In one study the rate of pregnancy in the L-carnitine supplemented group was 31.1 per cent, compared with the 3.8 per cent in the control group.17
Globally, it is estimated that 17.3% of people have inadequate dietary zinc. 5, 6 But National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHNES III) data found that only 55.6% of the surveyed population consumed more than 77% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc. 7
Zinc plays an important role in modulating testosterone levels in men. Severe and moderate deficiency of zinc is associated with low testosterone production in men. 8, 9, 10
A 20 week dietary zinc restriction in healthy men was associated with a 73% decrease in serum testosterone concentrations! Marginally zinc-deficient participants who received 30 mg of zinc daily for six months, had a 92% increase in serum testosterone! 8
In addition to the impact on hormone levels, zinc also helps the body produce healthier sperm by increasing count and motility. A study found that semen volume dropped 30 percent when zinc intake was low. 10, 11
A positive association between magnesium and testosterone level is documented. 21, 22 Magnesium deficiency leads to lower testosterone, while supplementation with magnesium has been shown to increase free and total testosterone in both athletes and sedentary individuals. 19, 20
In addition, magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that may support deep sleep – an important part of hormonal balance. In a study, testosterone levels of healthy men who underwent 1 week of sleep restriction (5 hours per night) decreased by 10 to 15%! 24
Magnesium supplementation appears to improve sleep efficiency, sleep time and onset latency, as well as early morning awakening. 23
If you take magnesium, have it before bedtime on an empty stomach, preferably with zinc and vitamin B6.
In a study, a zinc, magnesium and Vitamin B6 formulation (30 mg zinc monomethionine aspartate, 450 mg magnesium aspartate, and 10.5 mg vitamin B-6) consumed before bedtime was able to increase testosterone levels of athletes engaging in intense physical activity by 33%, compared to a placebo where a decrease by 10% was observed! 20
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
According to the World Health Organization, heart disease and stroke are the world’s biggest killers, accounting for 15 million deaths in 2015. These diseases have remained the leading causes of death globally in the last 15 years.33 If we have to pick one supplement that appears to be highly beneficial in the prevention of these conditions, it would be omega-3 fatty acid. 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32
In addition to their role in diseases prevention, omega-3s may support men’s health in several ways. Supplementation with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce joint pain associated with inflammation, and support cognitive performance. They may aid fat loss and even help muscle building from resistance exercises. DHA is linked to quality sleep, because it is involved in the production melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51
ADDITIONAL NOTE: According to the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), 250 mg of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA – eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA- docosahexaenoic acid) per day is an adequate intake for the maintenance of optimal health.
Two servings of fatty fish per week covers the above recommended daily amount.
But, for additional benefits, such us management of cardiovascular disease risk factors, including the maintenance of normal triglyceride levels, or normal blood pressure, a higher intake may be needed, up to 2-3 grams but no more.34, 35, 36, 37, 38
- Wang N, Han B, Li Q, et al. Vitamin D is associated with testosterone and hypogonadism in Chinese men: Results from a cross-sectional SPECT-China study. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology : RB&E. 2015;13:74. doi:10.1186/s12958-015-0068-2.
- Nimptsch K, Platz EA, Willett WC, Giovannucci E. Association between plasma 25-OH vitamin D and testosterone levels in men. Clinical endocrinology. 2012;77(1):106-112. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2265.2012.04332.x.
- Wehr E, Pilz S, Boehm BO, März W, Obermayer-Pietsch B.: Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2010 Aug;73(2):243-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2009.03777.x. Epub 2009 Dec 29.
- Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, Kuhn J, Dreier J, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Wehr E, Zittermann A. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res. 2011;43:223–225.
- Wessells KR, Brown KH. Estimating the Global Prevalence of Zinc Deficiency: Results Based on Zinc Availability in National Food Supplies and the Prevalence of Stunting. Bhutta ZA, ed. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(11):e50568. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050568.
- Bailey RL, West KP Jr, Black RE.: The epidemiology of global micronutrient deficiencies. Ann Nutr Metab. 2015;66 Suppl 2:22-33. doi: 10.1159/000371618. Epub 2015 Jun 2.
- Briefel RR, Bialostosky K, Kennedy-Stephenson J, McDowell MA, Ervin RB, Wright JD.: Zinc intake of the U.S. population: findings from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994. J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5S Suppl):1367S-73S.
- Prasad AS, Mantzoros CS, Beck FW, Hess JW, Brewer GJ.: Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8.
- Chasapis CT, Loutsidou AC, Spiliopoulou CA, Stefanidou ME.: Zinc and human health: an update. Arch Toxicol. 2012 Apr;86(4):521-34. doi: 10.1007/s00204-011-0775-1. Epub 2011 Nov 10.
- Bhowmik D, Bhattacharjee C, Kumar S.: A potential medicinal importance of zinc in human health and chronic disease. 2010 Int J Pharm Biomed Sci. 1. 5-11.
- Favier AE.: The role of zinc in reproduction. Hormonal mechanisms. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1992 Jan-Mar;32:363-82.
- Cavallini G, Caracciolo S, Vitali G, Modenini F, Biagiotti G. Carnitine versus androgen administration in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, depressed mood, and fatigue associated with male aging. Urology. 2004 Apr;63(4):641-6.
- Zhou X, Liu F, Zhai S.: Effect of L-carnitine and/or L-acetyl-carnitine in nutrition treatment for male infertility: a systematic review. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16 Suppl 1:383-90.
- Agarwal A, Said TM.: Carnitines and male infertility, Reprot Biomed Online. 2004 Apr;8(4):376-84. 2003 Nov;23(6):653-6.
- Gurbuz B, Yalti S, Ficioglu C, Zehir K: Relationship between semen quality and seminal plasma total carnitine in infertile men. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2003 Nov;23(6):653-6
- Lenzi A, Lombardo F, Sgrò P, Salacone P, Caponecchia L, Dondero F, Gandini L.: Use of carnitine therapy in selected cases of male factor infertility: a double-blind crossover trial. Fertil Steril. 2003 Feb;79(2):292-300.
- Wang YX, Yang SW, Qu CB, Huo HX, Li W, Li JD, Chang XL, Cai GZ.: L-carnitine: safe and effective for asthenozoospermia. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2010 May;16(5):420-2.
- Aliabadi E, Soleimani Mehranjani M, Borzoei Z, Talaei-Khozani T, Mirkhani H, Tabesh H. Effects of L-carnitine and L-acetyl-carnitine on testicular sperm motility and chromatin quality. Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine. 2012;10(2):77-82.
- Cinar V, Polat Y, Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R.: Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Apr;140(1):18-23. doi: 10.1007/s12011-010-8676-3. Epub 2010 Mar 30.
- Brilla LR, Conte V.: Effects of a novel zinc-magnesium formulation on hormones and strength. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 26–36, 2000.
- Maggio M, Ceda GP, Lauretani F, et al.: Magnesium and anabolic hormones in older men. International Journal of Andrology, vol. 34, no. 6, part 2, pp. e594–e600, 2011.
- Maggio M, Vita FD, Lauretani F, Nouvenne A, Meschi T, Ticinesi A, et al. The Interplay between magnesium and testosterone in modulating physical function in men. Int J Endocrinol. 2014:1-9.
- Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. 2012;17(12):1161-1169.
- Leproult R, Van Cauter E. Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy MenFREE. JAMA. 2011;305(21):2173-2174. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.710.
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- Saber H, Yakoob MY, Shi P, Longstreth WT Jr, Lemaitre RN, Siscovick D, Rexrode KM, Willett WC, Mozaffarian D.: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Incident Ischemic Stroke and Its Atherothrombotic and Cardioembolic Subtypes in 3 US Cohorts. Stroke. 2017 Oct;48(10):2678-2685. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.117.018235. Epub 2017 Aug 22.
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