The best path to good health and nutrition for men is to eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise. If you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, however, supplements are an alternative source of essential nutrients.
The Healthy Food Pyramid
When choosing healthy food, the men’s food pyramid can serve as a general guide to balanced nutrition. Keep in mind that the food pyramid provides guidelines. Complementing these guidelines with current knowledge about healthy eating can help you make the best decisions about your health. Standard food pyramids remind us to reduce fats, yet they do not emphasize the importance of reducing bad fats, such as trans and saturated fats, and adding more of the good n-3 fatty acids, such as Omega-3s and Omega-6s found in fish oils and nuts, notes Harvard health expert Dr. Walter C. Willett. Similarly, not all proteins are alike. Stock up on healthy proteins low in saturated fats, such as from lean meat and soy and vegetable products.
Vitamins and Cancer
If your diet is not delivering your required daily dose of nutrients, vitamin and mineral supplements can help you maintain a balanced diet. The challenge in choosing vitamins for men is understanding their efficacy and safety. In the treatment and prevention of cancer, researchers are overturning conventional wisdom on daily vitamin supplements, yet the American Cancer Society remains cautious based on inconclusive evidence.
Prostate cancer and vitamins for men have been at the forefront of medical research. While many studies on vitamins and cancer have been reported and then later refuted in clinical studies, the research on Vitamin D keeps mounting. In a number of studies, the sunshine vitamin is proving to significantly reduce the risk of cancer. It has been shown to prevent and reduce both prostate and breast cancer. Nonetheless, the lack of conclusive evidence and full endorsements from medical bodies should be considered.
A Few Cautions
Vitamins should be used within recommended daily allowances. Little evidence, for example, is available regarding the benefits or potential harm of large doses of Vitamin D. We do know that some vitamins can interfere with the digestion of other nutrients. High levels of folic acid, for example, can interfere with the body’s use of B vitamins, since B12 and B6 function as catalysts in the body’s use of folic acid. A recent Norwegian study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a higher rate of cancer in Norwegian heart patients who were taking folic acid and B12 supplements. Moreover, vitamins and minerals have been shown to metabolize differently in men of different races. We still have a lot to learn about vitamins for men and how our bodies process and utilize them.
Considering the current research, over supplementation of vitamins should be of concern to men who also are heavy users of vitamin supplements for sexual virility and body building. Vitamin and mineral supplementation can help provide a balanced intake of essential nutrients. Vitamin A supplementation, for example, is promoting healthy growth and development in a quarter of billion children worldwide who are at risk from Vitamin A deficiency. Like all good things in life, vitamins for men should be taken in moderation.