Many may not realize it, but men’s diet, fitness, and supplement needs differ from women’s. This summer is the perfect opportunity for men to reassess their health habits—like ensuring sufficient intake of the nutrients most important for them.
Health and Wellness for Men
Healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a nutritious diet can produce a variety of positive health outcomes. Good nutrition can impact your energy levels, mood, heart health, and many other personal health and wellness goals such as achieving a healthy weight, increasing strength and improving endurance.
The Role of Nutrigenomics
Nutrigenomics is the study of the relationship between genetics and food. Nutrigenomics has found because individuals metabolize nutrients differently based on their genetic makeup, good nutrition looks different for each person. Nutrients of special importance to men include vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids, and a DNA nutrition test can be used to fine-tune their nutrition plan.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans classifies vitamin D as a “nutrient of concern” since most Americans are not meeting recommended levels. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods. Vitamin D is also produced in your skin when it is exposed to sunlight. An inability to absorb vitamin D, a lack of adequate vitamin D from diet, or lack of exposure to sunlight can lead to a loss of bone density, which can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures. Vitamin D is essential for bone strength and may also help prevent heart disease—an important concern for men. In addition, one study showed that vitamin D supplements increased testosterone levels in men.1 Optimal testosterone levels are important for muscle strength, the efficient burning of fat, and a healthy libido. Food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish and fortified foods such as milk and orange juice.
Magnesium is another key nutrient for men. Magnesium is involved in a wide variety of processes in the body and contributes to muscle strength, flexibility, bone density, heart health, and a balanced mood. Taking magnesium supplements has been linked to boosts in testosterone and enhanced exercise recovery, as well as improved sleep quality. Additionally, one study showed that people who took magnesium supplements in conjunction with exercise exhibited greater strength gains than those who didn’t supplement.2 Foods rich in magnesium include nuts (especially almonds, cashews, and peanuts), spinach, wheat, rice, soymilk, and black beans.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids. Since the body is unable to synthesize them, they must be obtained through food or supplements. They perform a number of functions in the body pertaining to the heart, lungs, and immune system. Omega-3 fish oil supplements are known to lower blood triglycerides, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, studies have shown that omega-3 fish oil supplements help to reduce body fat, improve arthritis, and reduce the symptoms of depression. The main dietary source of DHA and EPA omega-3s is fatty fish. APA omega-3s (which must be converted to the DHA and EPA forms in the body) can be found in chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and canola oil.
Nutrients and Nutrigenomics
Even men with good nutrition habits can fall short on key nutrients. Rather than guessing which nutrients these might be and which supplements to take, a DNA nutrition test can be used to provide highly personalized diet and supplement recommendations. An optimized nutrition plan based on DNA is the best path to achieving your individual wellness goals for the healthiest you! Learn more about how personalized nutrition can take health and fitness to a whole new level.
1. Pilz, S., Frisch, S., Koertke, H., Kuhn, J., Dreier, J., Obermayer-Pietsch, B., . . . Zittermann, A. (2011). Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Hormone and Metabolic Research, 43(3):223-5. doi:10.1055/s-0030-1269854
2. Brilla, L.R., & Haley, T.F. (1992). Effect of magnesium supplementation on strength training in humans. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 11(3):326-9. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/