Top 5 nutrients for men's health

21 August 2023

Nutrients for men's health

Nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr runs through the top 5 nutrients that can help support men's nutritional needs.

Top 5 nutrients for men

Video transcript

Welcome to this video on the top nutrients for men's health.

My name is Clarissa Lenherr, registered nutritionist and part of the Stretching the City team.

And I'm thrilled to be here to talk to you about the top five nutrients to spotlight through diet and or supplementation to support men's nutritional needs.

Now, proper nutrition is essential regardless of gender. However, men do have specific requirements when it comes to nutrition. You have higher requirements in terms of protein, but also in terms of vitamins and minerals including zinc and magnesium, which we're gonna touch on today.

In addition, men have a higher risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, so it's really essential to prioritize heart healthy nutrients such as Omega-3 and Vitamin D, which we're also gonna touch on. So first up, let's talk about Omega-3.


Omega-3s are a kind of essential fatty acid that can contribute to brain health, heart health, skin, hormones, inflammation levels. But when we're talking about men's health, they actually have been shown to have a real impact on lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that Omega-3 supplementation actually reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events.

Now the important thing with Omega-3 is that Omega-3s cannot be made in our body. We are solely and exclusively reliant on dietary intake. So what does that mean? Well, we can get it from eating smashed fish. Now that's not some tropical fish I'm asking you to source from a fishmonger. It's an acronym that stands for Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring and Trout. And you want to be having those sort of two, three times a week ideally, if you can.

Alternatively, you can get Omega-3s in plant-based source and that's gonna be found in things like chia seeds, walnuts and flaxseed. You'd want to have about seven walnuts a day or about a tablespoon of chia seeds and flaxseeds.

The Omega-3s found in the plant sources aren't as effective in terms of their conversion into the Omega-3s that we can utilise for our health as those found in fish and fish oils. So that's why you do need to get them in a little bit more frequently.

Alternatively, you can think about Omega-3 supplementation. However, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have any health concerns on any medications listening to this video, you will want to check in with your GP or medical advisor.

Vitamin D

Then we have vitamin D, which is known as our superstar vitamin, which also is one of the only vitamins that acts like a hormone in the body as well. Now vitamin D plays a role in bone health, in mood, in energy, immune system function, but low levels of vitamin D have been linked to a higher risk of hypertension compared to those who have sufficient levels. So it's also a really important one for cardiovascular disease risk.

In addition, vitamin D can play a role in testosterone production, our male sex hormone, major male sex hormone, and also in sperm health.

Now the thing with vitamin D is that most of us know that vitamin D can be best obtained from sun exposure on our skin. Now in the summer months, that would be sort of 10 to 20 minutes of direct sun exposure on our skin. However, over winter months, it can actually be advised to think about supplementing with the recommended daily intake, which is 10 micrograms per day or 400 international units, and that's advised by the national health in the UK between October to April.

You need to think about your sun exposure in summer as well because even though it's summer, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are always getting sun exposure.

So it might be that you have a unique requirement to actually also supplement in the summer months.

And the best way to know that is to actually go and get a blood test with your GP to understand whether you have sufficient levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D can be found in some foods, so things like egg yolks, activated mushrooms, fatty fish, but it's quite hard to get your recommended daily intake from diet alone, which is why sometimes supplementation is advised.


Next up, we have zinc.

Now zinc is one of the key minerals that is known for supporting testosterone and sperm production. It also plays a role in immune system health as well.

So the best way to get in zinc from a dietary perspective is to eat lots of wonderful seafood and fish, maybe cover your bases with those Omega-3 fish that I mentioned before.

Also a little bit found in things like red meat, poultry. If you want to go for plant-based vegan options, nuts and seeds, especially things like cashews and also beans and lentils can provide you with a little bit of zinc, but definitely not as much as the plant-based sources.

And if you want to consider supplementation with zinc, please be mindful of how much you're dosing because high amounts of zinc can actually compete with copper, another essential mineral in the body and high levels of zinc may lead to lower levels of copper. So that is something to be mindful of.

In addition, zinc can lead to nausea, zinc supplementation if taken at high amounts, so look for a supplement that gives you 100% of the recommended daily intake of zinc rather than very, very high doses unless required by your doctor.


Next we have magnesium, which is involved in over 300 essential processes in the body, is also been linked to helping with blood pressure and a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that higher magnesium intake was associated with a low risk of sudden cardiovascular death risk. So a really, really important one. It helps with relaxation, helps with muscles, helps with energy, helps with sleep, the list goes on and on.

Now the good news is, is that you can cover your bases with a little bit of organisation when it comes to magnesium and diet, because magnesium is found in loads of plant foods. It's found really richly in dark leafy green vegetables. So things like spinach and kale and rocket. It's also found in things like avocado, beans, chickpeas and lentils. And one of my favorite sources is cocoa or dark chocolate. So go for 70% dark chocolate which has a nice hit of magnesium.

If you want to supplement with magnesium, the thing with magnesium is there are a multitude of different types of magnesium supplements and it really depends on what you're trying to achieve.

Certain supplements can be better for magnesium, for sleep, certain magnesium supplements, for constipation.

So it's not just kind of about taking loads of magnesium supplements. It does need to kind of be a little bit more organised, which is best to work with a health professional or with your GP if you're wanting to supplement with any vitamin or mineral.

Vitamin C

And finally we have vitamin C, which shouldn't be forgotten about, even though everyone thinks it's only for the immune system, it actually really plays a role in the health of sperm and motility, but also with collagen production. So important as we age. So it's a pretty important one.

Now people run around drinking lots of vitamin C, lots of orange juice for vitamin C, but actually vitamin C can be obtained from other fruits and vegetables. For example, red peppers have one of the highest sources, broccoli, light cheese, and also other citrus fruits. So things like grapefruits, orange, lemons, limes, even in tomatoes.

And I personally think that in terms of getting in vitamin C, getting it from your diet is the best source because you're getting it in its whole state. So you're getting it alongside antioxidants, other vitamins and also fibre. But if you do want to supplement vitamin C, it has been shown to be more effective to supplement in smaller doses across the day rather than one large hit.


So in conclusion, these top nutrients, Omega-3, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin C have been extensively studied and do provide various health benefits.

However, it is important to note that individual nutrient intakes can vary and so it is important to consult with a healthcare professional, work with a nutritionist, if you are wanting to kind of focus a little bit more specifically on supplementation or dietary plans.

Thank you so much for joining this video today and I really hope you've enjoyed.