Although the top health concerns – from heart disease and cancer to diabetes and kidney disease – are the same for men and women, the rates at which men suffer from them is much greater. For men, heart disease begins to manifest itself around ten years earlier than for women and the incidence of stroke is greater. Prostate concerns are, of course, unique to men, with prostate cancer as the most common disease of that type. These differences manifest themselves in life expectancy, and the gap between male and female mortality is not only large but growing: while women lived, on average, a year longer than men in 1920, the gap grew to over five years by 2007.
Multivitamins are not a single, easy solution to men's dietary needs. Nutritional studies show that the best source of vitamins and minerals necessary to maintaining men’s health is a good, balanced diet. When a man's diet does not provide the sufficient range and amount of vitamins and minerals, however, or when health issues – active or potential – place greater requirements on men’s vitamin needs, multivitamins are a great tool. These needs also change over time: The range and balance of vitamins required by a younger man are different than that needed by a man over 50. Multivitamins formulated for men of whatever age also take advantage of the complex interaction between the different elements required for health, strength and energy.
There is a tremendous selection of men’s multivitamins available, allowing men, in consultation with their physician, to choose the right balance of vitamins, minerals and even botanical extracts to provide their bodies with what they may need. Overall heart health, colon health, maintaining good eyesight, energy support and overall cell aging are all addressed by many men’s multivitamins.
The goal of many multivitamins for men, particularly those targeted at men over the age of 50, is optimal prostate health. This serious concern, with potential life-threatening consequences, requires attention to specific conditions in men. Vitamins, minerals and other supplements that are believed by scientists to reduce the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) – which is a marker for prostate cancer – and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – the increase in the size of the prostate gland – are offered in a variety of multivitamin formulas. There have also been indications that zinc may help to inhibit the activity of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase which converts testosterone to the potentially dangerous dihydrotestosterone. Men’s multivitamins also have very specific levels of iron: little to none. While women usually require some additional iron to replace iron lost through menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth, men are actually at greater risk of iron toxicity.
Before embarking on any regimen of multivitamins, it is always best to consult first with your physician. Discuss your specific health issues and medications, with which supplements may have adverse interactions, before choosing the men’s multivitamin that is right for your needs.
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