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Natural Supplements that Every Man Should Know About Featured

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Nutritional-SupplementsThe following are natural supplements that every man who is looking to live longer and healthier should consider.

ASPIRIN TO PROTECT YOUR HEART

The American Heart Association recommends aspirin use for patients who've had a myocardial infarction (heart attack), unstable angina, ischemic stroke (caused by blood clot) or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs or "little strokes"), if not contraindicated.

This recommendation is based on sound evidence from clinical trials showing that aspirin helps prevent the recurrence of such events as heart attack, hospitalization for recurrent angina, second strokes, etc. (secondary prevention).  Studies show aspirin also helps prevent these events from occurring in people at high risk (primary prevention).

Studies have found that as little as 75mg of aspirin daily -- the amount in a low-dose aspirin -- provided as much benefit as a higher dose. And higher doses can be more harmful than helpful.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that people who regularly take aspirin shouldn't drink alcohol. Regular aspirin use can also cause bleeding in the stomach or brain, especially if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure. Therefore you should not start aspirin therapy without first consulting your physician.  The risks and benefits of aspirin therapy vary for each person.

BORON TO PROTECT YOUR PROSTATE
Men with the highest boron intakes are 65 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than men with lower levels, studies show. American men have one of the lowest boron intakes in the world.

How much? 3 milligrams (mg) a day. It doesn't just fight cancer: USDA researchers found that this is the best dosage to improve memory and concentration.

Tip: It's not in every store, but GNC carries it. If you can't find it, eat raisins and almonds.

CALCIUM TO LOSE WEIGHT AND STRENGTHEN BONES
Most men don't get the recommended 1,000 mg of calcium a day (a cup of milk has 300). Men with the highest calcium intakes weigh less on average than men consuming less calcium.

How much? Aim for 1,200 mg calcium citrate -- half in the morning, half at night, to maximize absorption. Avoid coral calcium, which can be full of impurities.

Tip: If you already eat three servings of dairy a day, you won't need the excess calcium. There's a risk you may exceed the maximum intake of 2,500 mg.

CHONDROITEN SULFATE
Chondroitin sulfate is an important structural component of cartilage. The tightly packed and highly charged sulfate groups of chondroitin sulfate generate electrostatic repulsion that provides much of the resistance of cartilage to compression. Loss of chondroitin sulfate from the cartilage is a major cause of osteoarthritis.

Along with glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate has become a widely used dietary supplement for treatment of osteoarthritis.

The dosage of oral chondroitin used in human clinical trials is 800–1,200 mg per day. Clinical studies have not identified any significant side effects or overdoses of chondroitin sulfate.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 79 percent of men who took 1,500 mg glucosamine and 1,200 mg chondroitin daily felt a significant reduction in chronic knee pain.

CHROMIUM TO WARD OFF TYPE 2 DIABETES
Must people are aware that chromium can help build muscle, but many people are unaware that as little as 35 micrograms (mcg) can improves the body's sensitivity to insulin, making it easier to keep blood-sugar levels under control.  It also reduces the urge to eat high-sugar foods.

Men who regularly supplemented their diets with this mineral for an average of 8 to 12 years gained less weight than their peers taking other weight-loss supplements. Previous studies have shown 400 mcg of chromium picolinate daily to be an effective dose.

Tip "chromium picolinate" is the form that studies have found to be the most effective. If you already are diabetic, or obese ask your doctor what amount may be best to take.

COENZYME Q10 TO BOOST ENERGY
Coenzyme Q10 (also known as ubiquinone, ubidecarenone, coenzyme Q, and abbreviated at times to CoQ10, CoQ, Q10, or Q) is a vitamin-like substance responsible for the production of the body’s own energy.

In each human cell, food energy is converted into energy in the mitochondria with the aid of Q10. Ninety-five percent of all the human body’s energy requirements (ATP) is converted with the aid of CoQ10. Recent studies suggest that coenzyme Q10 may fight cancer, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease, and may thin the blood to help prevent heart disease. Q10 is also packed with free-radical-fighting antioxidants, which can slow the signs of aging. As you age, Q10 production decreases. The only way to get back up to youthful levels is by taking a supplement.

In a recent study of people with chronic fatigue syndrome, those who took 100 mg Co Q10 every day for 3 months eradicated 90 percent of their symptoms and doubled their energy levels, according to University of Iowa researchers.  This study was small in size and as such additional studies are warranted.

Researchers recommend 100 mg a day. Note: dosages was 300 mg per day for the studies that indicated that Coenzyme Q10 protects the brain from neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson's.

Tip: If you're taking statins (a class of hypolipidemic drugs used to lower cholesterol levels in people with or at risk of cardiovascular disease) consider upping your intake to 200 mg, since statins can reduce Q10 levels in the body.
 
CREATINE TO BOOST AND STRENGTHEN MUSCLE

Creatine is a non-essential amino acid, which means the body manufactures its own supply of this substance. It is also present in high-protein foods, such as meat, fish, and dairy products, but it would be difficult to get the amount needed to greatly enhance muscle strength and endurance from diet alone.

Creatine is well known by body builders and other athletes for its ability to build muscle and decrease body fat. Creatine is also needed to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a substance that creates energy in muscle tissue. Supplementing with creatine increases overall ATP levels in the muscles, and thus increases the amount of and is used to improve athletic endurance. Studies have demonstrated that creatine also  strengthens the heart muscle, also protects the heart by lowering overall cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Preliminary studies have shown that creatine might benefit those suffering from other neuromuscular disorders caused by loss of muscular strength, such as muscular dystrophy, Lou Gherigs disease (now more commonly called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS]), McArdle’s disease, and myasthenia gravis.
Creatine supplements come in capsule, tablet, and powder forms. The usual dose is 20 to 25 grams a day for a week, and 2 to 5 grams a day after that for maintenance. Studies have shown that taking creatine with carbohydrates may increase its absorption, so many sports energy drinks promoting athletic stamina and endurance contain creatine as an active ingredient.

Creatine can cause water retention, which is hard on the kidneys; theoretically, overdosing with this substance could lead to kidney failure, so those with kidney disease should avoid this supplement.

FOLIC ACID TO CUT ALZHEIMER'S RISK, REDUCE HEART DISEASE, STROKE AND INCREASE FERTILITY

Folic acid and folate (the anion form) are forms of the water-soluble Vitamin B9. These occur naturally in food and can also be taken as supplements. Leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, lettuces, dried beans and peas, fortified cereal products, sunflower seeds and certain other fruits and vegetables are rich sources of folate. Some breakfast cereals (ready-to-eat and others) are fortified with 25% to 100% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for folic acid.

Folate is necessary for fertility in both men and women. In men, it contributes to spermatogenesis. Therefore, it is necessary to receive sufficient amounts through the diet, in order to avoid subfertility.

Folic acid also helps prevent clogged arteries and improves bloodflow to the brain by keeping down levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that increases your risk of blood clots.

There is evidence that an elevated homocysteine level is an independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke. High homocysteine levels are also now associated with early warning signs of Alzheimer's, such as dementia and memory loss.

In a 3-year trial on 818 people over the age of 50, short-term memory, mental agility and verbal fluency were all found to be better among people who took 800 micrograms of folic acid daily—twice the current RDA—than those who took placebo. The study was reported in The Lancet on 19 January 2007. Source: Dr Jane Durga, Martin PJ van Boxtel, Prof Evert G Schouten, Prof Frans J Kok, Prof Jelle Jolles, Martijn B Katan, and Petra Verhoef Effect of 3-year folic acid supplementation on cognitive function in older adults in the FACIT trial: a randomised, double blind, controlled trial The Lancet 2007; 369:208-216

Tip: Certain heartburn medications, such as Tagamet, can deplete levels of folic acid.

GLUCOSAMINE FOR YOUR JOINTS

As you age the amount of cartilage in your joints decreases. To reverse the damage and actually rebuild cartilage, take glucosamine.

Glucosamine is also a popular alternative medicine used by consumers for the treatment of osteoarthritis. The benefit of glucosamine sulfate in patients with osteoarthritis is likely the result of a number of effects including its anti-inflammatory activity, the stimulation of the synthesis of proteoglycans, and the decrease in catabolic activity of chondrocytes inhibiting the synthesis of proteolytic enzymes and other substances that contribute to damage cartilage matrix and cause death of articular chondrocytes. Additionally, since glucosamine is a precursor for glycosaminoglycans, and glycosaminoglycans are a major component of joint cartilage, supplemental glucosamine may help to rebuild cartilage and treat arthritis. In a 3-year study of 200 people with joint problems published in the Lancet, glucosamine reduced joint pain and stiffness by up to 25 percent and helped prevent the progression of osteoarthritis in the knees. The British Journal of Sports Medicine says that 88 percent of people with joint problems reported less pain after 12 weeks of treatment.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 79 percent of men who took 1,500 mg glucosamine and 1,200 mg chondroitin daily felt a significant reduction in chronic knee pain.

Typical dosage of glucosamine is 1,500 mg per day, taken evenly throughout the day with a meal.

KOREAN RED PANAX GINSENG TO KEEP THINGS “STRAIGHT”
Ginseng increases testosterone levels, which suppresses the production of prolactin, a hormone that can cause impotence.  Ginseng also increases the ibido.

Korean Red Panax Ginseng is the best variety because of its high concentration of ginsenosides, the active compounds in ginseng.

A study published in the Journal of Urology reports that 60 percent of men who took 900 mg Korean red ginseng three times daily for 8 weeks experienced improved erections.

OMEGA-3'S TO PROTECT YOUR HEART AND MORE!
Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Important nutritionally essential Omega-3  fatty acids are: α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Studies show that men with the highest Omega-3 levels have the lowest risk of dying of heart disease. Why? There is strong scientific evidence, that Omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce blood triglyceride levels and regular intake reduces the risk of secondary and primary heart attack. In 1999, a major clinical study of 11 324 patients with a recent myocardial infarction noted that Treatment with omega-3 fatty acids 1 g/d reduced the occurrence of death, cardiovascular death and sudden cardiac death by 20%, 30% and 45% respectively.

Two additional reviews performed in 2006 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Am J. Clin Nutr 2006;84:5-17) and a Journal of American Medical Association review (October 18, 2006—Vol 296, No. 15) that both indicated decreases in total mortality and cardiovascular incidents (i.e. myocardial infarctions) associated with the regular consumption of fish and fish oil supplements.

In another study published in the American Journal of Health System Pharmacy March 2007, patients with high triglycerides and poor coronary artery health were given 4 grams a day of a combination of EPA and DHA along with some monounsaturated fatty acids. Those patients with very unhealthy triglyceride levels (above 500 mg/dl) reduced their triglycerides on average 45% and their VLDL cholesterol by more than 50%. VLDL is a bad type of cholesterol and elevated triglycerides can also be deleterious for cardiovascular health.

PLANT STANOLS TO LOWER CHOLESTEROL
Plant stanols are chemical cousins of prescription statins.  Both substances block cholesterol from being absorbed by your intestines, keeping it from ever reaching your arteries. How much? Washington University researchers found that people who consumed 2 grams (g) of plant stanols daily for 6 weeks cut their LDL cholesterol by 10 percent.

SELENIUM TO FIGHT OFF CANCER
Selenium is an essential trace mineral. Selenium activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer. Yeast-derived forms of selenium have induced "apoptosis" (programmed cell death) in cancer cells in test tubes and in animals.

Researchers believe this mineral seeks out and destroys cancer-causing free radicals before they have a chance to attack prostate cells.  One study found that men consuming the most dietary selenium developed 65% fewer cases of advanced prostate cancer than did men with low levels of selenium intake.

A study by researchers from Cornell University published in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41 percent less total cancer than those taking a placebo.

In multiple studies, scientists have determined that taking 200 micrograms (mcg) of selenium every day lowers the risk of prostate cancer by 49 percent-- However, selenium is toxic at little over the suggested nutritional levels.

VITAMIN E TO SLOW THE EFFECTS OF AGING
Vitamin E is not one nutrient but actually a group of eight nutrients known as tocopherols and tocotrienols. Each one of these groups is further broken down into alpha, beta, gamma and delta.

Alpha-tocopherol is the most active and common form. This is the form most often found in vitamin supplements. This is also the only form of Vitamin E given an RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance).

Although alpha-tocopherol is the only Vitamin E component given an RDA, Gamma tocopherol is an important component as well.

Epidemiological data and animal studies suggested that antioxidant compounds like vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene might offer some protection against heart attack in individuals at risk.

A study in Archives of Neurology found that Vitamin E intake may slow the progression of cognitive decline as we age.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health led by Peter Zandi PhD suggests that Vitamin E taken together with Vitamin C may offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease when taken together in the higher doses available from individual supplements.

Because of Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties, studies also indicate  effectiveness in helping treat osteoarthritis. Vitamin E has also shown to be helpful in preventing the formation of cataracts in your eyes. And it might also help in protecting your eyes against ARMD (age related macular degeneration) as you get older. ARMD is the major cause of blindness in the U.S.

How much? Up to 400 international units (IU) a day, since most people get just a fraction of that from their diets. (A typical multivitamin has 45 IU.) You can also increase your intake by eating more nuts and oils.

Bottom Line:
Supplements and prescription drugs have a lot in common, therefore supplements should be taken with care. In fact, taking supplements should be taken with even more care, since supplements are not regulated in as stringent a manner as their prescription counterparts. Things to consider:

  • Is the supplement fat-soluble  or water soluble? Fat soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, and E ) are stored in organs and tissues, and can cause dry skin, nausea, joint pain, and depression and can  reach unsafe levels. Water soluble vitamins (such as Vitamin C, B12, etc.) will not build up in the body. Extra amounts will be excreted through the urine
  • Are you taking other medications or supplements that will have  a negative impact to your body? For instance, Ginseng, Aspirin and Ginkgo biloba thin your blood. As a result, they can exacerbate the effects of some heart medications and cause dangerously low blood pressure. To be safe, always read both product labels and double-check with your pharmacist.
Last modified on Friday, 27 July 2012 17:17
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