All right gentlemen, with the mustache month of November (Men's Health month) upon us once again -- this one is for us...
With holiday season right around the corner, it is a time for relaxing and enjoying the company of family and friends. Simultaneously, holidays often bring on added stressors for your body to deal with such as indulging in a more sweets, having a few cocktails, less sleep, or just the added stress of hanging out with your in-laws! I kid, of course...
While I'm all for enjoying the celebrations of life, too much of these things can increase our susceptibility to illness and wear our us down (ever wonder why the cold and flu season starts around this time of year? Hint, it has nothing to do with cold temperatures...).
Fortunately, there a number of ways to support your system so you can enjoy the festivities while staying healthy this year. Below are my Top 5 Supplements for Men to Take Through the Holiday Season this Year:
1. Vitamin C
Probably the best-known nutritional supplement, Vitamin C has a tremendous range of health benefits for men. As one of the most versatile and potent antioxidants, Vitamin C literally slows down the rusting processes (oxidation) that lead to degeneration and accelerated aging. Every man, regardless of his age, needs to keep heart health in mind. The development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is accelerated by oxidative stress, and antioxidants such as vitamin C are important in halting its progression. During times of increased sugar, alcohol content, stress and lack of sleep, the need for Vitamin C increases. While eating foods rich in Vitamin C is important to maintain optimal levels, holidays usually require additional support. Taking a high quality Vitamin C, 2 grams 3x day will help keep you strong and healthy during festivities.
This blockbuster mineral is a tireless multi-tasker as it is involved in more than 300 essential biochemical processes. Magnesium is also one of the most commonly deficient minerals, quickly depleted by most medications, stress, and alcohol. Common symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency are; high blood pressure, anxiety, muscle cramping and poor quality sleep. If any of these sounds familiar, be sure to give magnesium a try. In a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that low levels of magnesium may increase your blood levels of C-reactive protein, a key marker of heart disease. Nutrition surveys reveal that men consume only about 80 per cent of the recommended 400 milligrams (mg) of magnesium a day. "We're just barely getting by," says Dana King, M.D., a professor of family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. "Without enough magnesium, every cell in your body has to struggle to generate energy."
3. Vitamin D
Commonly known as the 'sunshine vitamin', Vitamin D impacts critical process such as immune support (nature's flu vaccine!), cancer prevention, skeletal system support, and heart disease prevention. A study in Circulation found that people deficient in D were up to 80 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Vitamin D is created in your body when the sun's ultraviolet B rays penetrate your skin. Problem is, the vitamin D you stockpile during sunnier months is often depleted by winter, especially if you live in the northern half of Canada and the United States. Case in point: When Boston University researchers measured the vitamin D status of young adults at the end of winter, 36 per cent of them were found to be deficient. Before you start popping mega-doses of this vitamin, be sure to ask your doctor to test your blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Test eliminates guessing. Like many things in life, too much of a good thing = BAD. Vitamin D is no exception given that it is a fat-soluble vitamin, thus capable of accumulating easier than other vitamins.
4. Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin)
This firecracker of a nutrient keeps your engine firing, your body burning fat, your mood uplifted, and keeps your mind sharp as a tack. Methylcobalamin is the most potent form of B12, also one of the most commonly deficient nutrients during the holiday season. Vitamin B-12 requires the assistance of Intrinsic Factor to enter the body from the small intestine. Without Intrinsic Factor, dietary Vitamin B-12 goes unabsorbed. Factors such as increased alcohol consumption, holiday stressors, prescription medications, and lack of sleep will deplete these pools fast. In addition, anyone who has ever taken an antibiotic or antacid medication has a much higher risk of B12 mal-absorption. Be sure to work with your doctor on this, but taking 5,000mcg/day via a high quality Methylcobalamin is great starting point.
Gluta-what?? Maybe not yet a household name, this nutrient is considered the master anti-oxidant in the body. While there have been over 89,000 articles written on it, glutathione still remains a mystery to many, and is not prescribed as much as its colleagues. Every cell in the body needs this nutrient to survive. During the holidays, a man's liver is often working harder than normal do to an increased load of sugar, alcohol, etc. Glutathione is required to keep our liver detoxification processes working well so that we can -- enjoy! The good news is that your body produces its own glutathione. The bad news is that poor diet, toxins, medications, stress, and aging all deplete our glutathione pools. When a cell is depleted of glutathione, it dies. As we age, our body's glutathione production diminishes, leading to a detrimental drop in critical cellular functions that maintain healthy heart, brain, eyes, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and joints. This is why progressive doctors and medical researchers encourage increasing glutathione levels daily. When supplementing with glutathione, the highest absorbable form is a liposomal form, not pill. Make it part of your daily routine!
Yours in health,
Dr. John Dempster, ND, FAARFM, ABAAHP
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