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One of the most common questions I get asked by men in clinic and at conferences is ‘what supplements should I take to keep me healthy?’ When I ask them what symptoms they’re looking to improve, there are various answers. They can include fatigue, focus and concentration, heart health, trim belly-fat, heartburn, high blood pressure, the list goes on. But are there supplements for men that are essential?
It’s a very good question to ask: what supplements for men are important to add into your routine to help upgrade how you look, feel and perform?
Let’s talk about a few things you should always address first, then I’ll share with you the three most common supplements I use with men.
What you eat, how much (or how little) you move, and your lifestyle (i.e. how much sleep you get every night) are the biggest ‘buckets’ to support health and wellness.
Do you eat a diet high in processed foods, struggle to get enough physical activity in your day, or cut your sleep short for work or a social life? If so, start by looking at your routine. Start easy: cut down on processed foods and add in fresh fruits and veggies. Try getting back to the gym two times per week, doing weights and cardio. And most important: get some sleep! Supplements won’t make a big impact until you address these areas first.
Most people don’t consume enough omega-3 fats in their diet. These are essential fatty acids, which help with can help inflammation. Unfortunately, the processed food environment around us is laden with omega-6 fats and excess consumption of boxed and bagged foods throws off the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in your diet. This is bad news for your health. Adding an omega-3 supplement is a great way to ensure you achieve your daily intake of EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are the active ingredients that help to lower inflammation, reduce muscle soreness and are associated with healthy aging (1,2,3). Krill oil provides an added benefit because it contains a key antioxidant called astaxanthin, which provides an added anti-inflammatory punch. Aim for 1,110-1,500mg daily with food. In fact, you can also find astaxanthin in Organika’s Plant-Based Collagen Booster.
Once you hit 40, the wear and tear of years of exercise (or sedentary living) take a toll on your joints. If you struggle with aching knees that hinder your ability to run, lift and be active it’s time to add some extra support for your joints. In recent years, expert researchers in the world of sport have shown supplemental collagen can increase tendon thickness and strength of the ligaments of the knee (4,5). This is a big win for maintaining your joint health and resiliency as you age. Not only that, collagen supplements are rich in the amino acid glycine, which helps to relax your nervous system to support better, deeper sleep. Aim for 10-15g dose dissolve in warm water with a squeeze of lemon (e.g. vitamin C) to improve absorption.
One of the most common things I see in men over 40 is relying too much on NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofin) to combat pain and aching joints. Acute, short-term use can be helpful when you get a flare-up in your low-back, for example, however if you find yourself popping NSAID pills regularly, you’re putting yourself at risk. Chronic NSAID use can lead to liver and kidney damage, places a heavy toll on your stomach and digestive system. In fact, excessive intake is a leading-cause of visits to the hospital ER(6).
Curcumin, the active ingredient in the Indian spice turmeric, is a natural anti-inflammatory that blocks inflammation. It does so similarly to how NSAIDS do. Both block something called the COX-2 enzyme, which is responsible for inflammation, pain and fever. Botanical medicines like curcumin and boswelia are not as potent as medications like NSAIDs. However, unlike NSAIDs, you can take them regularly to provide ongoing anti-inflammatory support and they don’t carry the risks of chronic, long-term NSAID use (7). The dose will change based on why you use it, so be sure to read the label!
Supplements are best used to fill in the gaps in your diet and target specific areas where you need added support. Omega-3s, collagen and anti-inflammatory herbs like curcumin and boswelia can be great additions to support mental and physical performance, as well as health and longevity.
Just remember, you need to continue to upgrade your diet, how much you move, and prioritize things like sleep, to reap the greatest benefits. You don’t need dramatic overhauls – save those for the next Rocky movie! Small changes, added progressively, and maintained consistently over time lead to greatest results. This is the secret of top elite and pro athletes… now it’s your turn!
Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CISSN, CSCS
The information provided herein is for informational purposes only. The products or claims made about specific nutrients or products are reviewed and evaluated by Organika based on available scientific evidence on its initiative. Such applications, however, have not been specifically assessed by Health Canada. Organika makes no guarantee or warranty with respect to any products sold, and shall not be responsible for any indirect, inconsequential and/or special damages for the reliance on or use of any information contained herein. This information is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or another medical professional. You should not use this information for diagnosing a health problem or disease but should always consult your physician.