The health of Black men can be significantly improved with just one simple adjustment—making sure they’re getting all the essential vitamins they need every day. The five vitamins below are important nutrients that every man should have in his diet, and if you're looking for an easy way to get these vitamins daily, our Immune Defense Support Vitamins effectively combines natural vitamins and minerals to provide a daily multi-system immune support and defense.
1) Vitamin C
Vitamin C strengthens connective tissue, improves resistance to infection, and increases iron absorption. Black men should make an effort to meet or exceed dietary recommendations of 90 mg/day. Vitamin C is not only vital for immunity, but it also helps regulate blood pressure and stimulates collagen formation in wounds. Since all men face health challenges associated with wound healing—ranging from scratches to surgical procedures—vitamin C can help keep us in top form.
In addition, studies show that vitamin C plays a role in preventing certain types of cancer. In fact, research shows that men who consume more than 400 mg/day have a 32 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those who consume less than 100 mg/day.
A lack of zinc in your diet can lead to numerous health problems, including a weakened immune system and loss of libido. Consuming foods rich in zinc — such as oysters, beef liver and brown rice — can ensure that you get your recommended daily intake. In fact, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that Black men with higher levels of testosterone had lower levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is an indicator of prostate cancer risk.
Studies have also shown that consuming adequate amounts of zinc may help protect against prostate cancer. As with any supplement or vitamin, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements if you’re currently under treatment for prostate cancer or have a family history of it.
Magnesium is a mineral that is often overlooked. But it can affect our physical and mental health, making it vitally important to add more magnesium to your diet. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and production of genetic materials.
Magnesium has many benefits for men of color. It plays an important role in lowering high blood pressure (hypertension), which tends to be more prevalent among Black men than white men.
Selenium is an essential antioxidant that promotes general health and prevents chronic diseases, such as cancer. Selenium may be especially beneficial for men of African descent because they have higher selenium requirements than other men due to greater rates of prostate cancer. Specifically, scientists found that blood plasma selenium levels in African-American men were 19 percent lower than those of European Americans.
Selenium has also been shown to help prevent hypothyroidism by keeping iodine from being absorbed by your body.The thyroid gland plays a key role in regulating metabolism, so it’s important to maintain healthy thyroid function. Low thyroid function can lead to weight gain, fatigue and depression—all symptoms associated with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
5) Vitamin D
Black men have long been at an increased risk for health conditions ranging from hypertension to prostate cancer, but recent research shows that Black men are especially prone to vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D acts as a hormone in humans and helps maintain a healthy immune system, proper bone growth, and normal blood pressure levels.
In addition to causing fatigue and weakness, low levels of vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis in adults as well as rickets in children. If you’re not getting enough sun exposure during peak hours (between 10am and 3pm), you may want to consider taking a supplement. The recommended daily allowance is 600 IU per day for most adults, but your doctor may recommend more if you’re older than 50 or live in northern latitudes where sunlight is less intense.