Functional nutrition is a holistic approach to men’s nutrition and supplements that considers every aspect of your body, health, and general lifestyle to provide proper health recommendations. In recent years, more and more men have turned to functional nutrition for health benefits and to reduce chronic diseases. One aspect of functional nutrition is using dietary supplements to support men’s unique nutritional needs.
Dietary supplements can be an important tool for men who may have an inadequate intake of specific food groups and are looking to improve their health, whether it’s to support muscle growth, improve energy levels, or address specific health concerns. However, with so many different supplements available, figuring out which ones are right for you can be overwhelming.
In this article, we’ll look closely at functional nutrition and explore some supplements that can be particularly beneficial for men.
Let’s start by taking a look at some common health concerns men experience:
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Functional nutrition can help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer and support prostate health in general. For example, studies have shown that a diet rich in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Additionally, consuming lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes may protect against prostate cancer.
Omega-3 fatty acids (more commonly known as fish oil) found in fatty fish and nuts can also help reduce inflammation and support the prostate. Moreover, zinc is an essential nutrient, and deficiency can be linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. Therefore, including zinc-rich foods like oysters, meat, and nuts can be beneficial for men’s health.
Testosterone is an essential hormone for men’s overall health. Functional nutrition can help optimize levels and support men’s hormonal balance. For example, studies have shown that consuming adequate amounts of protein and fat, especially those containing saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, may help increase hormone levels which helps with muscle building and sexual health.
Moreover, getting enough zinc and vitamin D3 may also be important for testosterone production. Zinc deficiency can lead to low testosterone levels, and vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with low levels and reduced sperm quality. Hence, consuming foods rich in these nutrients, like lean meat, eggs, nuts, and fatty fish, can help support men’s hormonal balance and improve testosterone levels.
Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in men worldwide. Functional nutrition can help support heart health and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. For example, consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and support healthy cholesterol levels.
Foods high in fiber, like legumes, nuts, and seeds, can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish, nuts, and seeds can also help reduce inflammation and support cardiovascular health. Reducing salt and added sugar intake and limiting saturated and trans fats can also help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Functional nutrition can play a significant role in promoting men’s health and addressing specific health concerns. By focusing on nutrient-dense whole foods and tailored nutrition recommendations, functional nutrition can support men’s overall wellness. But we can’t get all the information from the nutrition facts panel on foods.
Now, let’s get into those supplements!
Supplements can play a vital role in a functional nutrition plan, complementing a healthy diet to support men’s overall health and address specific needs, such as nutritional gaps or deficiencies. While it’s crucial to prioritize a nutrient-rich, balanced, and varied diet, supplements can provide additional support by filling potential nutrient gaps and addressing specific health concerns.
For example, key nutrients such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, or certain minerals may be challenging to obtain in sufficient quantities from diet alone. Supplements can help with nutritional deficiencies and bridge these gaps and ensure adequate intake.
Scientific research has shown that targeted supplementation can positively affect various aspects of men’s health, such as supporting vascular health, enhancing the immune system and immune function, and promoting optimal hormone levels.
It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine which supplements are appropriate for your individual needs. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific health goals and any underlying health conditions you may have.
First, A Disclaimer About Mens Nutrition and Supplements
Before we further shout the virtues of supplements men need, we should point out that they, in general, aren’t the pinnacle of health care. Supplements can be helpful, but you still need a good diet and a healthy lifestyle.
It may help to consider taking certain nutrients as part of a functional nutrition regimen. As we stated previously, functional health considers the whole person and general lifestyle to provide proper health recommendations.
We are not going to dive into many popular supplements such as creatine monohydrate, branched-chain amino acids, a fiber supplement, or weight loss supplements. While these can be a beneficial part of a supplement regimen, there are far too many other supplements that have to be discussed. So we are going to stay to some of the basics. Also, some basic vitamins we will not discuss as well, for example, vitamin C or vitamin E. There is a lot of information about how these vitamins improve overall function.
Remember, this is not a one sized fits all solution. Any symptoms you have will factor in and are related to things like your overall digestive health. A functional nutritionist will give you a holistic health plan once all underlying issues are recorded.
Supplements are likely a large part of the holistic health plan. We brought this up because taking supplements or medication without consulting a healthcare provider is not advisable. With all that said, we’ll move on to our list.
I know water is not a supplement, but we need to talk about it. Water is essential for hydration and plays a crucial role in the human body getting the building blocks it needs to the cells. It acts as a carrier, aiding in the breakdown and transport of nutrients from the food we eat. Without enough water, our ability to absorb and utilize nutrients may be compromised. Drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day supports optimal nutrient absorption and overall health. Aim for around 8 cups (64 ounces) of water per day and listen to your body’s thirst cues. Remember that fluids like herbal tea and water-rich foods contribute to hydration as well. Prioritizing water intake enhances nutrient absorption and promotes wellness.
Vitamin D encourages bone health, teeth growth, and joint health. It also aids immunity, cell growth, immune health, and muscle function. Men are more prone to vitamin D deficiencies than women, so they need to be careful to get enough.
Most people get their vitamin D from sunlight. But sunblock, long clothing, and a predominantly indoor lifestyle can hinder vitamin D intake. There are two other ways you can get vitamin D :
- Food (fatty fish, fortified milk, eggs, and cereals)
- Vitamin d supplement
Supplements are a good source of vitamin D if you’re allergic to or cannot eat the listed foods because of dietary restrictions. Vitamin C and D are also immunity boosters.
Vitamin D deficiencies are shown to increase arterial pressure and cardiovascular issues. However, it’s also shown that increasing your intake of this vitamin is only helpful if you suffer from a deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is one of the best vitamins for men because it’s necessary for various bodily functions. B12 helps your body make red blood cells and keeps your nervous system operating.
Vitamin B12 deficiencies may manifest as anemia, loss of appetite, headaches, vision problems, and other health issues. You can find B12 in eggs, seafood, and dairy.
Men who don’t or can’t eat these foods may not have enough B12. You can take supplements to compensate for what you’re missing. Vitamin B12 can be tricky to take in supplement form, though.
If you take too much, you may experience memory problems, depression, and confusion. Food is the easiest way to get your required vitamins.
Whey is a liquid substance leftover from the milk-making process. When processed into protein powders, it’s a beneficial supplement for protein synthesis and increased muscle mass.
Whey powder or whey protein isolate isn’t a “required” supplement but contains many good vitamins like B6, B12, and B3. Whey powder is a good choice for active men because it activates muscle repair after exercise.
You can drink whey powder shakes whenever you want, but they work best about 30 minutes after your workout. Timing the drink after exercise makes it easier for the amino acids and proteins to flow through your bloodstream.
Whey powder can help lower cholesterol, weight, liver toxins, and blood sugar. Consider springing for the more expensive powder mixtures if you’re serious about your whey regimen. The quality of the whey supplements men use are key. Make sure there is third-party testing certifying purity.
Casein is another milk byproduct supplement– Where most cow milk protein comes from. Unlike whey, casein works its way into your bloodstream slower.
Casein protein powder and shakes work their magic best while you sleep. The amino acids in the shake will repair and refresh your muscles while you sleep. You will notice better exercise performance during your next workout.
Another benefit to drinking casein is you’ll feel fuller longer. Casein takes a while to digest, so you don’t have to eat as frequently. While it is hard to say what is the best protein powder, whey or casein, they work in different ways.
Probiotics are some of the best supplements for men because they promote gut health. A probiotic is a living bacteria inside your gut that helps keep things stable.
An unhealthy gut may lead to diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Other signs of an unhealthy gut are frequent gas, heartburn, bloating, and constipation. Taking probiotics can:
- Reduce the risk of diarrhea and IBD
- Relive gas, heartburn, and bloating
- Relieve constipation
- Improve digestion and immunity
A supplement only works as well as its source. You should purchase probiotics from a reliable vendor if you choose to take them. Also, check that supplement label to follow dosage instructions. Too many probiotics can cause gas and bloating.
Zinc is an essential mineral for men because it is necessary for male hormone functionality. Zinc is responsible for the production of testosterone, which develops various male characteristics. Much like vitamin c, it also helps with immune system function.
It becomes difficult for men to build lean muscle mass, improve sexual health, bone density, and strength without a steady source of zinc. Zinc also promotes a healthy sex drive in men.
Unfortunately, your body’s zinc production falls off as you age. You can find zinc in the following:
- Red meat
- Crab and lobster
- Dairy products
Regardless of how you get your zinc, it’s one of the best supplements for male health. You need to ensure you consume a proportional amount for a healthy lifestyle.
Functional nutrition and supplements are powerful tools to support men’s health and wellness. They can help with muscle growth, energy levels, and addressing specific health concerns. To optimize nutrient intake and address health concerns, men should focus on nutrient-dense foods and a balanced diet consisting of healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats and incorporate targeted supplements.
Remember, there are many supplement companies out there, and supplements should not replace a healthy lifestyle but supplement it. With the guidance of a healthcare provider and commitment to a healthy lifestyle, men can achieve a healthy body weight and optimal function.
Contact us today at our website or via phone at 303-794-1737 to learn more about starting a functional nutrition plan and improving your life. We’d love to help you take control of your health and achieve your wellness goals.
With over 20 years in the field, Dr. Dody is a seasoned chiropractor specializing in Functional Nutrition, Neurofeedback, and the Koren Specific Technique (KST). His unique ‘whole person approach’ identifies the root causes of health issues, offering patients not just relief but lasting wellness. Recognized for his expertise, Dr. Dody’s treatments often yield dramatic improvements from the very first visit.