They play many fundamental roles in your body, in the production of energy and the proper functioning of bodily mechanisms. An insufficient intake of certain nutrients can have a negative impact on your health, and sometimes even lead to certain chronic diseases. The needs of men and women are partly common, but nevertheless present particularities from one sex to another. Here is the summary of vitamin and mineral requirements for men. If you are unsure of getting them from your daily diet, you can also supplement yourself by taking vitamin supplements.
What are the specific needs of men to avoid vitamin deficiencies?
Men should make sure they have enough of the following vitamins:
- vitamin A: necessary for healthy skin, eyes and the immune system;
- vitamin B: involved in energy metabolism and the production of red blood cells;
- vitamin C: essential for the immune system and the production of collagen;
- vitamin E: to protect your cells.
Men need less iron than women who lose blood every month during their menstrual cycle.
A balanced diet and sufficient exposure to the sun should meet these needs, but sometimes this is not enough and you can suffer from deficiencies. In this case, taking vitamin supplements may be necessary.
Vitamins: which ones to favor for men?
- Vitamin A for vision and a good immune system
Vitamin A is important for maintaining good vision. It is also famous for presenting itself as the anti-infective vitamin, due to its role in supporting the activities of the immune system.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is 3000 IU. Too much can cause nausea and vomiting, but also weaken the bones.
Vitamin A is present in many fruits and vegetables. It is therefore quite rare to miss it. However, if your diet is unbalanced, you can find vitamin supplements.
Vitamin A is mainly found in carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, apricots, melon, broccoli, eggs, milk and cod liver oil.
- Vitamin B and folic acid for heart health
Men are much more likely to have heart health issues than women before menopause. The proportion between men and women decreases after menopause, due to the drop in estrogen levels. We must also associate heart problems with a too sedentary life or too high pressures due to the stress of professional life, but also of private life.
Folate, or folic acid, is one of the main B vitamins. It is vitamin B9. Folic acid helps protect men against heart disease because it prevents the buildup of homocysteine: a substance your body needs to make protein, but which can lead to heart and blood vessel disease, if produced in excess.
The recommended folate intake is 400 micrograms (mcg) per day. You can get this vitamin from your diet, especially leafy green vegetables, spinach, asparagus, beans, oranges, strawberries or avocados.
You can also take vitamin supplements that ensure you get enough folic acid daily. However, you should not abuse it, otherwise you risk feeling the repercussions on your colon.
- Vitamin B12 for a healthy nervous system
Among the vitamins specific to men, B12 is essential, especially since the need increases with age. It is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, it stimulates brain health and is beneficial for memory. In extreme cases of vitamin B12 deficiencies, possibilities of depression can arise, and even dementia.
The recommended daily intake of B12 is 2.4 µg. It is quite easy to find in your daily diet. It is present in:
- meats: beef offal, rabbit, etc. ;
- fish: tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel;
- crustaceans and molluscs: oysters, clams, shrimps and mussels;
- eggs ;
- Milk ;
- cheeses, in particular camembert and emmental.
It is rare to need to supplement with vitamin B12, but you can still find vitamin supplements, in the event that your doctor detects a deficiency.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is made by our body, thanks to its exposure to the sun. Deficiencies are therefore more to be feared in winter. You can also find it in your diet: fish (sardines, tuna or salmon), cod liver oil, egg yolk, dairy products (cheese, yoghurt, milk, etc.) and orange juice.
Men need 1000 IU (International Units) of vitamin D daily.
The importance of vitamin D increases with age, as it is needed to absorb calcium and prevent muscle and bone weakness. On the other hand, vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer. It is also essential for the immune defenses.
- Vitamin C for healthy aging
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that plays a protective role in the body by neutralizing free radicals that want to attack healthy cells. A high intake of foods containing vitamin C can help slow the signs of aging.
On the contrary, a lack of vitamin C can lead to anemia and, in extreme cases, scurvy.
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for men is 90 milligrams (mg) per day. Too much vitamin C won’t hurt you because your body can’t store it, but it can give you an upset stomach.
You find vitamin C in oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, kiwi fruit, lemons, limes, melon, watermelon, pineapple, and asparagus.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E has an antioxidant function and has the particularity of acting in synergy with other nutrients, including vitamin C, selenium and beta carotene. It serves to protect the LDL lipoproteins which are the carriers of cholesterol in the blood, as well as the constituent lipids of cell membranes. It is therefore active in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Vitamin E stimulates the production of vasodilating substances, thanks to its anti-inflammatory action. It thus prevents blood platelets from clumping together and works to prevent atherosclerosis which results from damage to the arteries.
In the elderly, vitamin E has the ability to slow down the decline in immune defences. Researchers are very interested in it, because it could participate in the prevention of cataracts, AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration), and the decline of intellectual faculties which increase with age.
The daily dose for men of vitamin E is 15.5 mg.
You can find vitamin E in the following foods:
- sunflower, rapeseed or hazelnut oils;
- margarine made from these oils;
- dried fruits: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, etc. ;
- fruits: kiwi, avocado, peach, blackberry, etc. ;
- vegetables: spinach, broccoli, etc.
As you will have understood, the vitamin and mineral needs are specific and different for men and women. If the food is not enough, it may be necessary to take vitamin supplements to have an optimal daily intake of vitamins and minerals.