In the fast-paced world we live in, supplementation can help you improve your workouts, increase strength, improve productivity and enhance your overall mood.
As people have become more health conscious in recent decades, the supplement industry has exploded catering to the demand.
Not all supplements are created the same, however, and many that come on the market over-hyping and over-promising their benefits have questionable science behind their claims.
I’m not about that life. Instead, I recommend only the ones that I personally take myself. The ones that I know first-hand work.
While supplementation is not a panacea for good health, they can and should be taken alongside a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle.
You might assume a healthy nutritious diet would provide your body everything it requires without the need for supplementation but that’s not the case.
It’s larely impossible to get the required amount from an average meal no matter how healthy it is. Even if it was possible you’d have to eat some strange combination of foods to get adequate nutrients.
What supplements do you need to get your body that it’s firing on all cylinders whatever it’s doing?
Listed below are the best supplements for men that cover the full spectrum of health.
Together they support a healthy brain, heart, teeth, skin, eyes, and stomach. They also help with muscle growth, fitness performance, concentration and more.
Along with a healthy diet, they can help you optimise your body by giving it the correct nutrition it needs and deserves.
I personally take each of the supplements outlined below except VSL3 which is on my to-buy list.
I’m not regimental with them and don’t take them every day and neither should you.
Take vitamin D, for example. I’m deficient in the hormone (although it’s named a vitamin it’s a hormone) and have had my levels checked multiple times so usually buy the strong capsules of 4,000IUs and above.
In the summer, I take a capsule around two or three times a week as sunshine helps the body produce vitamin D. In the winter I’ll double the intake to around five or six times a week.
Health is personal and it’s all about understanding your own requirements. Supplementation is no different.
You have to listen to your body and understand how you feel and if possible get tested as I do with my vitamin D levels.
Start with these 11 supplementations and you won’t go wrong.
Eye and brain health
Your body needs Omega-3 fatty acids to function. They’re essential fats. Unlike other types of fast, your body can’t produce these by itself. It has to get them from foods.
Foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids are fish, vegetable oils, nuts, leafy vegetables, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil.
If you’re like me, you won’t consume enough of these on a weekly basis.
I have blepharitis which causes the eyelids to dry and crust. Omega 3s help keep the eyelids from drying up. I don’t eat much seafood so I have no other choice but to supplement with them
Omega-3s are one of the best supplements for men if, like me, you can’t get them from foods.
Omega-3 benefits: Eye health, brain health, heart disease prevention and a reduction in inflammation
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Fat burner and fitness performance
I’ve written before about the health benefits of coffee. Caffeine is one of the best supplements for men as it has a ton of health benefits.
Some still believe caffeine is bad for you and while it is a little addictive the pros far outweigh the cons. Plus drinking caffeine in the form of either tea or coffee is a pleasurable and social experience.
Caffeine benefits: Burns fat, preserves muscle, supports fitness performance and can lower risk of cognitive diseases.
Where to buy: At home, your local coffee shop, or in pill form from Amazon.
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Strength and performance
I’ve used creatine off and on since I was a teenager. It improves my strength by about 10-15 percent, endurance by 20 percent and adds a good 3 or 4lbs of muscle to my frame.
Creatine is the best (legal) supplement for providing additional performance in the gym. Supplementing with it boosts your natural stores and help your muscles produce extra energy allowing you to get those important extra reps out.
I take creatine in cycles so during periods I’m not on it I notice a strength and endurance drop in the gym. This can have a psychological impact on your training although understand that it all comes back when you start taking it again.
Creatine benefits: Extra strength and endurance in the gym and an increase in muscle mass.
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Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are an essential (i.e. can’t be produced by the body) amino acid usually found in foods such as meat, dairy and legumes.
If you feel you’re getting enough of these types of foods then you may not need to supplement. If your diet is vegan based then it could be worth your while supplementing.
BCAA benefits: Improve endurance during exercise performance and reduce muscle soreness.
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5. Vitamin D
Healthy bones and mood improvement
If you live in the northern hemisphere part of the world then it’s likely you will be Vitamin D deficient. Especially in the winter time.
Also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, Vitamin D is produced by your body after you’ve spent time in the sunshine.
Vitamin D is one of the best supplements for men, although it’s not actually a vitamin. It’s a hormone made by the skin although you can get around ten percent of your daily requirements from certain foods.
If you’re like me, your sense of well-being is greater in the summer than in winter. This is likely to do with your body having higher Vitamin D levels from the sunshine as studies suggest that deficiency in the winter time may lower mood.
I test for my Vitamin D levels as I’m often deficient and in the winter I increase my supplement dose (or go on a sunny holiday in Asia).
Vitamin D benefits: Healthy bones, teeth and muscles
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6. Whey protein isolate
Muscle repair and growth
Weightlifters among us know that whey protein isolate is one of the best supplements for men as it helps them repair and build muscle.
Whey protein isolate has a higher concentration of protein and is lower in carbs and fat than whey protein concentrate. It’s generally more expensive too.
You want to get as much protein from your meals rather than a supplement but since we all live in the real world that’s often not possible.
Protein shakes are no longer reserved for bodybuilding gym rats. Regular people supplement with it regardless of their health and fitness goals.
Whey protein isolate benefits: repairs muscle and promotes muscle growth.
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7. Super greens
Vitamins and minerals
Super greens are a super easy way of getting vital nutrients and vitamins into your body. These superfood blends usually contain extracts from the likes of broccoli, spinach, beetroot and many other healthy vegetables.
Super greens are one of the best supplements for men as they are easy to consume and are especially helpful if you have a busy schedule.
I use Myprotein’s Total Nutri-Greens which I’ve written about before. You can get them from Myprotein’s website or Amazon. Failing that, there are lots of other good brands on Amazon.
Super greens benefits: Full of nutrient-rich extracts from healthy sources and easy to consume.
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8. Vitamin E
Improves skin and hormone control
Vitamin E is the first supplement I ever took. When I was a teenager, the BBC aired a documentary that showed vitamin E improved memory and concentration in children. Wanting to improve my intelligence at the time, I have supplemented with it ever since.
Vitamin E has been shown to balance cholesterol, repair damaged skin, thicken hair and improve vision. There is still a debate about whether it’s good for memory.
Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds, dark coloured fruits and some vegetables. If these are a part of your diet it’s unlikely you have to supplement. If not, then give vitamin E supplementation a try.
Vitamin E also plays a part in helping men with their skin care routine and should be a part of your diet.
Vitamin E benefits: balances hormones and is good for skin, hair and vision.
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Reduces heart attack risk
Did you know that taking a low dose of aspirin every day can help you live longer? Studies are showing it can prevent heart disease and cancer.
Longevity researchers recommend taking a baby aspirin which is what I’ve done for the last two years. I don’t take one every day, just every three or four days or when I remember. Sometimes I forget to take them for a couple of weeks. Life is long and supplementation is not a daily rule.
Aspirin benefits: Reduces risk of heart attack and certain cancers.
Where to buy: Your local supermarket or pharmacy will have them.
10. MCT Oil
Improves cognitive function
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are a saturated fat which is found in coconuts. MCT oil is a more concentrated version that you can buy off the shelf or online.
MCT oil helps with cognitive function and also raises your metabolism allowing you to manage your weight better.
Unless you eat coconuts every day then MCT oil is one of the best supplements for men interested in maintaining good health.
I’ve been using MCT oil for the last five years (again, not every day but off and on) and I can feel the cognitive benefits. Be warned though, it passes right through you if you have too much so always check the dosage.
MCT oil benefits: Improves your cognitive function and raises your metabolism.
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Balances gut flora
Having a healthy gut is important and it plays a much larger role in your health than you might think. Studies have shown there is a communication path between your gut and brain. If your gut’s not firing on all cylinders then your brain may not be too.
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy gut is with probiotics in the form of fermented foods. This can include unpasteurised cheese, kimchi, kombucha, kefir and probiotic yoghurt.
One of the best supplements for men is VSL#3. It’s the only probiotic supplement with published data showing it improves gut health.
I’ve never tried it but it’s on my list.
VSL#3 benefits: Balances gut flora and supports the digestive system.
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