by Darrin Starkey, ND
Imagine a perfect world where everyone meets their nutritional requirements through the food they eat. Unfortunately, the reality is that poor soil quality affects the very foods we rely on for optimal health. In fact, the USDA suggests that to meet federal dietary guidelines, men between the ages of 31 to 50 need to consume 350% more dark green vegetables and 150% more fruit per day. With daily guidelines at almost impossible levels to achieve, it is not surprising that men are deficient in almost every nutritional category, leading to a myriad of health issues.
Like vitamins, which are essential to our well-being, minerals are vital in the regulation and building of cells—they support the absorption, regulation, and activation of the nutrients we consume. They are also especially important in the conductivity of electrical messages within the body. Muscle contraction—including the heart—and brain activity rely heavily on properly balanced blood serum mineral levels. While both men and women should supplement their diets with minerals, let’s focus on the specific minerals that are essential for men’s health.
Raise your hand if you are frequently stressed. Who isn’t stressed these days, right? The daily grind is full of it—stress from work, the daily commute, managing your daily life as a good husband and father… We then look forward to the weekend so we can relax! A BBQ with friends, a few adult beverages, and your favorite morning workout or outdoor activity can really recharge those batteries and help relieve the stresses of life.
However, the daily grind and a weekend of fun can wreak havoc on a man’s health. Stress, exercise, and a poor diet drains the body of magnesium and are a recipe for magnesium deficiency. An estimated 80 percent of Americans don’t get enough magnesium (400 mg for an adult male) in their diet. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to
depression, anxiety, fatigue, and can cause day and nighttime muscle cramps. It also supports your body’s response to stress. Low levels of magnesium cause the body to excrete more adrenaline than normal, which can cause stress, an irritated mood and the inability to get a good night’s rest.1,2,3,4
Remember that intense morning workout? Copper plays a critical part in energy production in the cells so it helps keep you going strong during any strenuous activity. It’s also great for joint mobility because it activates the enzyme lysyl oxidase, which is required to help maintain healthy joints.
The prostate contains a high level of zinc, thus its importance in keeping the prostate healthy. Studies have shown that zinc plays a significant role in the production of testosterone, which is extremely important to any man approaching the age of 40 and older. Low levels of testosterone are like kryptonite to a man’s strength, energy, and sexual health.
Hoping to start a family or add another little one to your crew soon? Like zinc, selenium also plays a significant role in prostate health, as well as healthy male reproduction. Evidence suggests that selenium supports the creation of healthy sperm, and a deficiency of selenium may contribute to male infertility. Selenium also helps maintain a healthy thyroid. The thyroid contains more selenium thank any other organ, which is crucial in the regulation of hormones that maintain healthy metabolism and energy levels.
Boron is often overlooked for its importance in health because there is no specific recommendation for its intake. However, like zinc and selenium, boron is the third musketeer in this trio of prostate protectors. According to a 2004 study in Oncology Reports, boron affects human steroid levels by raising testosterone and estradiol levels, which has an effect on prostate cancer risk.5
Dr. Darrin Starkey is the Director in Training and Education for Trace Minerals Research (TMR). He specializes in trace mineral nutrition, balance, and deficiency. Dr. Starkey has been a board certified naturopathic physician since 2000 and is a member of the American Alternative Medical Association (AAMA).
5. Cui, Y., M.I. Winton, Z.F. Zhang, C. Rainey, J. Marshall, J.B. De Kernion, and C.D. Eckhert. 2004. Dietary boron intake and prostate cancer risk. Oncology Reports: Vol. 11, Issue 4.