Top 3 Minerals for the Modern Man
To celebrate Men’s Health Month and Father’s Day this June, we dive into 3 key minerals that are essential for men’s health and are common deficiencies. For the modern man, struggles like stress, not enough sleep, poor diet, and environmental toxins can deplete these nutrients and cause imablances to occur. Men who do not eat the recommended minimum servings of fruit and vegetables will be especially susceptible to these deficiencies. While diet should always be the foundation for health, soil depletion and modern-day agricultural practices have caused the mineral content in produce to drop dramatically. These 3 mineral supplements go above and beyond for your health so you can too.
Potassium: The Heart Helper
Whilst sodium is often the sole focus for an increase in blood pressure, potassium and sodium work in tandem together and it is the ratio of sodium and potassium that impacts your blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, the increase in consumption of processed or prepared foods and a decrease in fresh fruits and vegetables means that our sodium to potassium ratio is higher than it should be, putting us more at risk of high blood pressure and heart attack (1). In fact, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) reported that less than 2% of adults in the US meet the daily 4,700mg potassium requirement (1).
One prospective study followed more than 43,000 men over eight years and found those who consumed around 4,300mg of potassium per day were 38% less likely to have a stroke than those who consumed 2,400mg per day (2).
Boron: The Prostate Protector
The micronutrient, boron, has been shown to play a diverse number of roles including bone health, regulating the level of sex hormones, testosterone and estradiol (a type of estrogen) in the body and reducing the risk of prostate cancer (3).
A study in 2011 found that after 1 week, boron supplementation of 6mg/day significantly increased the level of free testosterone and reduced the level of estradiol by nearly half (4). The androgenic effect was accompanied by an anti-inflammatory effect whereby the level of inflammation markers was also reduced (4).
In recent years, boron-containing compounds have been increasingly used as preventive and chemotherapeutic agents for cancer (5). Men consuming boron-enriched diets containing more than 1.8 mg/day of boron has also shown to decrease the risk of prostate cancer by 52% compared to those who consumed less than 0.9 mg/day of boron (6).
Nuts, beans and fruits, especially prunes and raisins are rich sources of boron, however, the amount depends on the soil and water in which they were grown (7,8). The World Health Organization estimates the safe range of boron intake for adults is 1–13 mg/day (9). An increase in the consumption of boron rich food along with supplementation is a useful way to obtain its benefits.
Magnesium: The De-Stressor
Magnesium is involved in muscle contraction, hormone balance, nerve transmission and more. But for the modern day man, magnesium’s role in stress is critical. The relationship between magnesium and stress is bi-directional: stress depletes our magnesium levels, and magnesium helps buffer the effects of stress (10).
Estimates show that 57% of Americans do not meet the minimum requirements of magnesium (420mg/day for adult men). Although this is expected to be underestimated. Supplementation with magnesium has been shown to decrease high blood pressure (11), help with symptoms of anxiety and stress (12), exercise performance (13), and improved sleep (14). Several forms are useful, although magnesium bis-glycinate is recommended for sleep and stress. It is highly bioavailable and more tolerable to the gut (meaning less chance of loose stools even at higher dosages).
Shan Shan, Nutritionist
Shan Shan is a certified nutritionist, with a Masters in Nutrition from Kings College London and a Bachelor in Biomedical Science from University College London. Shan Shan has previously worked as a personal trainer, written for LIV Magazine (Hong Kong’s first wellness magazine) and consulted for charity organizations like The Food Chain.