Most men don’t want to train competitively or be in a photo shoot, but you do want to look good, feel good, and be healthy.
My fiancé was training for a photo shoot (I know, not really an “event” to train for), and he wanted to see how lean he could get and take pictures once, and only once.
As a Naturopathic doctor, personal trainer and former competitive gymnast, the supplemental regiments for high-performance athletes and the everyday male are extremely different.
Most men don’t want to train competitively or be in a photo shoot, but you do want to look good, feel good, be healthy and keep up with the guys in your basketball league.
The one extreme is to achieve maximum performance, while the other (and more common) as preventative health measures, such as:
- Improve energy and endurance.
- Supplement dietary deficiencies.
- Improve concentration and focus.
- Improve sexual performance.
- Relieve stress.
- Prevent illness and disease.
- Heal a current illness, imbalance or injury.
With any supplement regiment, there are times to be on them and times to be off. Depending on where you are in your life and what your goals are, it’s good to take a break every three months (or as recommended by your doctor).
There are very few situations where you will NEED to be on a supplement every day for the rest of your life. The exceptions are people who are lacking an essential physiological chemical or process.
The average healthy male doesn’t need to be on any supplement if you have a well-balanced and varied diet including lean protein, leafy greens, colorful fruits and veggies, healthy fats and complex carbohydrate.
However, there are times in your busy lives where you may be ordering more take-out, often traveling, tied down with daily conferences, or you just plain don’t like cooking.
In these cases, taking daily supplements will not only ensure you aren’t malnourished but that you strengthen your body and mind to maintain resiliency in stressful times.
10 Supplements for the Everyday Man
1. Omega-3 Fish Oils: Fish oils contain two really important ingredients, EPA, and DHA. EPA is necessary as an anti-inflammatory and for heart health while DHA is a brain booster .
2. High Potency Multi-Vitamin: This is not as simple as you’d think. There are many drug store multi-vitamins that are useless. Unless you are going to take a high potency multi, it’s best to just get your nutrients from your food.
3. Selenium (or 3 brazil nuts): Selenium is a super anti-oxidant. You don’t need much to protect your body from harmful volatile reactive species that can cause pre-mature aging, cancer and inflammatory conditions . Brazil nuts contain the highest concentration of dietary Selenium, and all it takes is two-three per day.
4. Vegan or Whey Protein: Whey has the highest concentration of protein per serving, which is important for all enzymatic functions, healing from injuries, building strength and lowering diabetic risk. However, many people can’t digest whey protein easily, so they choose a vegan protein, such as pea, brown rice, cranberry, broccoli, quinoa, nut, soy and hemp protein .
5. Greens Powder: Your greens powder will vary in ingredients and proportions: a pre-mixed combination of EGCG (green tea extract), spirulina, sprouted wheat grass, broccoli sprouts, chlorella, barley grass, and/or wild blue-green algae. These are all superfoods with high amounts of nutrients and antioxidants [1, 15].
6. Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids: Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant, stress regulator, heart protector and immune booster . Bioflavonoids are a particular chemical that often contributes to the bright colors of fruits and veggies and has properties to help prevent prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease and allergies [4, 11].
7. Lycopene (or tomatoes): Lycopene is important for prostate health and is found in tomatoes. Studies show that higher amounts of lycopene intake reduces the risk of prostate cancer .
8. Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficient is very common, especially for people living far from the equator (during winter months). Pain, winter blues and poor immune function are a common manifestation of vitamin D deficiency [8, 10].
9. Probiotics: These are live microorganisms, which increase the relative good: bad bacteria ratio in people with a poor diet or during an infection. The main health benefits have been with probiotic strains: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces . Probiotics can also be obtained from fermented foods, such as miso, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha.
10. Vitamin B Complex: The B’s are powerful vitamins to support physical health and energy. Studies have also shown B vitamins to combat mood, anxiety, and psychological strain during chronic work stress [6, 14, 16].
BONUS: Water (or coconut water): While not a “supplement,” it is definitely something that most men forget to take on a regular basis and essential for feeling healthy and energized. For every “other” beverage, make sure to have at least one glass of water.
In addition to the top 10 supplements, take the following for specific life situations:
Brain Boost –
Do you have an important deadline to make and feel sluggish in the mind? Taking nootropics (aka brain boosters) can help support healthy brain function.
o Bacopa monnieri
o Phosphatidyl Choline and Serine
o Essential and branched chain amino acids)
o Coconut oil
o Caffeine tablets before 5 pm (or coffee, green tea, yerba mate)
Stress Support –
Are you rearing up into tax season or a big project that you know is going to take a toll on your stress hormones and adrenals? Regularly taking adrenal supports for at least three months will help keep your energy up without the crash.
o Glycyrrhiza (only for people with low or regular blood pressure)
o Grounding exercises (i.e.,. 2 minutes of just breathing, meditation, walking, getting outdoors)
Invigorate Your Immunity –
Feeling a scratchy throat? Nip that cold or flu in the butt by helping your immune system out with these supplements.
o Unpasteurized honey
Building Muscle –
Are you looking to put on more muscle? While you exercise, make sure to supplement with healthy carbs around the time of your strength training routine and eat lots of lean protein. Sleep will also be crucial to healing quickly from a workout.
Tired Traveler –
Taking another red eyes? Studies report employees who work late shifts need at least two days to recover . Those who take longer to recover have impaired resiliency to stress and also tend to chose liquor and cigarettes for stress reduction [7, 9].
o Melatonin (30 min before bed)
o Stress support as needed
o Immune support as needed
Anxious Actor –
Do you find that you avoid big meetings, pitches or asking for a well-deserved raise because you are so anxious? Do you fear failure and worse yet disappointment? If so, counseling is an important addition to these supplements:
o Amino acids (valine, leucine, isoleucine, phosphatidyl serine, L-glycine, tryptophan, NAC)
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Photo: Flickr/ Duncan Rawlinson – Duncan.co – @thelastminute