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Essential Vitamins for Men
Vitamins are essential to life. Without them we cannot think or breathe, digest food or enjoy the beach. Your body needs vitamins to work properly. They boost the immune system, are essential for normal growth and development, and help cells and organs do their functions.
Food, when we are eating right, offers plenty of vitamins and nutrients.
There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Absorption occurs once vitamins get to the small intestine from there vitamins have active transports for absorption, which means molecules in the intestines pick them up in the intestine so they can then enter the bloodstream. Since they dissolve in water, they are eliminated from your body daily. As the name implies, fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat. This happens via fat-digesting bile in the liver and small intestine. After the vitamins are broken down, they are absorbed into the intestinal wall and stored until needed.
The nutritional needs of men and women are somewhat different. Men need certain vitamins more than women and vice versa. EHC will help you understand which vitamins should you be taking, over the course of this article.
Vitamin D is often referred to as "the sunshine vitamin," because the body manufactures it after being exposed to the sun's rays. The main purpose of vitamin D is to balance calcium. Sixty-one percent of the population is said to suffer from vitamin D deficiency. This deficiency can lead to major issues, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke and muscle weakness.
Vitamin D becomes even more important with age, because it is needed to absorb calcium and helps prevent weak muscles and bones. On the other hand, too much vitamin D can cause fatigue and muscle weakness, so you should stay below 2,000 IU unless your doctor advises otherwise. Good nutrition sources for vitamin D include salmon, sardines, cod liver oil, milk, cheese, egg yolk, orange juice, yogurt, and fortified breakfast cereal.
Folate, or folic acid, is one of the important B vitamins. Folate may help protect men and women from heart disease because it prevents the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that your body needs to build protein but that can lead to heart and blood vessel disease if produced in excess.
The recommended allowance for folate is 400 micrograms (mcg) a day, which you can get from eating a few servings of leafy green vegetables or beans daily. Folate can be included in your multivitamin, but you should not have to take extra dietary supplements unless your doctor says your homocysteine is low. Too much folate may increase your risk for colon cancer. Sources of nutrition for folate include lima beans, spinach, asparagus, oranges, strawberries, and avocado.
Older men, in particular, may have an increased need for this B vitamin, which boosts brain health. Vitamin B12 supports the normal functioning of the nervous system, including memory. Depression and dementia are symptoms of a low serum B12.
The recommended daily allowance for B12 is 2.4 mcg, which you can easily get from your diet. One serving of fortified breakfast cereal will provide all that you need. Great food sources for B12 include salmon, shrimp, beef, chicken, clams, eggs, milk, and cheese.
Vitamin A is important for maintaining good vision. It is also known as the anti-infective vitamin because of its role in supporting activities of the immune system. The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is 3,000 IU. Too much vitamin A can cause nausea and vomiting and result in weak bones. You should get plenty of Vitamin A as long as you eat your fruits and vegetables. It may be in your multivitamin, but you should not need any additional supplements. The best nutrition sources for vitamin A are carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, apricots, cantaloupe, broccoli, eggs, milk, and cod liver oil.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that serves a protective role in the body by neutralizing free radicals that want to attack healthy cells. High intake of vitamin-C foods can help slow signs of aging. Although it is no longer believed that vitamin C can keep you from catching a cold, it is an essential building block for good nutrition. Taking a multivitamin and eating your fruits and vegetables is all you need to do to be sure you get enough of this nutrient.
Great sources of vitamin C include oranges, gooseberry, bell pepper, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, kiwi, lemons, limes, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, and asparagus.
It is an antioxidant, it strengthens your immune system, and keeps your blood from clotting dangerously, among other functions your cells need. And you can find it in foods that are good for snacking, like almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds.
This vitamin signals a protein that aids in rebuilding bones. Vitamin K has even been known to protect against fractures and some cancers. It is also important in maintaining vascular health because it can help prevent calcium buildup along blood vessel walls. But while vitamin K is popular, the primary food sources of it are not – broccoli and green leafy vegetables or fermented cheese and soy. If these options don't appeal to you, try supplementation.
Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)
It is found in the same good-for-you foods we tend to avoid, like whole wheat, almonds and seeds. But if you avoid this vitamin, do it at your own peril, as it is essential for fueling your body throughout the day. The biggest strength of niacin is its link to lowering blood cholesterol. Lower cholesterol means you will have less of a chance of suffering a stroke, heart attack or cardiovascular disease. Vitamin B-3 can also help decrease the likelihood of skin problems because B vitamins are necessary for healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver.
If you regularly eat protein-rich foods, especially whole wheat, you should be getting the necessary amounts of this vitamin. However, if you avoid whole grains and almonds, you may want to consider supplementing your diet.
Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin is sometimes called the energy vitamin, so for men on the move, this is one of the most important vitamins around. Like its counterpart niacin, Riboflavin is an essential component of energy production. It works to increase metabolism and is required for a variety of cell processes. It is found in many of the same places as niacin, including almonds and proteins, as well as milk, leafy vegetables, liver, and yeast.
Vitamin B-6 is the multitasking vitamin that works with fellow B-complex vitamins, on its own and with other vitamins to handle nearly all aspects of the body. Vitamin B-6, combined with B-12 and folic acid, helps lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that increases risk of stroke, osteoporosis, depression, dementia, macular degeneration and blood vessel disease. It also promotes the health of the brain, cardiovascular systems and bones. It can even help improve your mood and lower colon cancer rates. You will find it in proteins like beef and chicken, as well as in bananas, garbanzo beans, potatoes and fortified cereals and grains.
Taking multivitamin tablets is not recommended because it is not without side effects. Through a well balanced diet you can achieve all the vitamins needed.