Overwhelmed when shopping for supplements? You aren’t alone! The right supplements replenish what we lose during our workouts, increase energy, boost heart health and even make for a better sex life. The wrong ones can be ineffective and a waste of money at best and even harmful if taken incorrectly.
We consulted with our Max Muscle Sports Nutrition experts and sifted through the latest research to bring you the best supplements for men. Take our advice, along with guidance from your doctor, to decide what’s best for you.
How it works: Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in the body helping to protect cells against free radical damage. We also need vitamin E to boost our immune systems so we can fight off viruses and bacteria. In the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) funded by the National Eye Institute, researchers found that people at high risk for developing advanced stages of age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in adults over age 55) could lower their risk by 25 percent when treated with a high-dose combination of vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene and zinc.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E is 15 mg/d, but doses not exceeding 1,000 mg/d are considered safe according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
How it works: Though it is probably the most popular antioxidant around and foods rich in this nutrient are plentiful, studies report that adults in the United States still aren’t getting enough vitamin C in their diets. The body needs vitamin C to make collagen and it is essential for wounds to heal properly. Vitamin C also has super immune-boosting properties, protecting the body from all types of diseases.
Some studies show that vitamin C can help prevent upper respiratory infections in endurance athletes and reduce the duration of a cold up to a few days, but other studies have shown no benefit when tested against a placebo.
The RDA for adult males is 90 mg/day, which you should find in a good multivitamin.
How it works: According to leading experts, vitamin D deficiency has become a major problem. The major source of this vital nutrient is sun exposure, which has been deemed more of a risk due to the threat of skin cancer. The main role of vitamin D is to help the body absorb calcium to strengthen bones and prevent bone loss. Other studies have linked low vitamin D levels to weight gain, symptoms of depression and issues below the belt such as low sperm motility and erectile dysfunction.
The RDA for vitamin D is 600 International Units (IU) per day. Your doctor may recommend more if a blood test has indicated that you have a deficiency.
For your vitamin needs, Max Muscle recommends Max Vit-Acell Antioxidant, which provides 100 percent or more of the RDA of vitamins C, D, E and other essential vitamins, as well as minerals and free-radical fighting antioxidants.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid
How it works: Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a type of unsaturated fatty acid that has been shown to have anti-cancer benefits, improve immunity and aid in the prevention of hypertension. Studies have also found that CLA helps people to reduce stubborn belly fat when they exercise regularly. CLA is naturally found in beef and in dairy products such as milk or yogurt, but supplementing seems to be the more effective way of achieving CLA levels that reduce body fat.
A Japanese study investigated the safety of dietary CLA in obese men considered doses up to 3.4 g/day to be safe. Max Muscle suggests Max CLA softgels.
How it works: L-carnitine is essential for moving fatty acids into the cell mitochondria, which is how your body burns fat to produce energy. Due to the high concentration of l-carnitine in skeletal and cardiac muscle tissues, it also improves cardiac output and muscular function. In addition to these roles, l-carnitine may also have heart-protecting benefits. A Mayo Clinic review of 13 controlled clinical trials concluded that l-carnitine had multiple benefits for previous heart attack sufferers, including a 65 percent reduction in a type of abnormal heart rhythm known as ventricular arrhythmia and a 40 percent reduction in angina-related symptoms.
The observed safe level (OSL) of l-carnitine is up to 2,000 mg/day. Max Muscle recommends LiquiCarn (Liquid Carnitine Concentrate), which has 1,250 mg of fast-acting liquid l-carnitine in each serving.
How it works: The pancreas plays an important role in digestion and regulating blood sugar. Protein is a foundational product (in addition to fats and carbs) that our body needs to function at optimal energy levels. The risk of developing type II diabetes is greater as we get older, and an adequate intake of protein helps keep blood sugar levels steady.
Larry Wilcox, franchisee and Certified Fitness Nutrition Caoch at Max Muscle in Oregon City, Oregon, tells us that one of the most important things we can do every day to control blood sugar is to mix protein, carbohydrates and fat together every time we eat and decrease our carbohydrate intake slightly with every meal after breakfast. “Keep in mind,” Wilcox says, “the largest meal of the day is breakfast and the smallest is dinner, and eat every three hours whether you are hungry or not.”
Wilcox recommends about 3/4 gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight daily, divided up into about 5 small meals. Max Muscle recommends MaxPro Elite protein with 30g of protein per serving.
By Karen Morse, MPH