Aging Gracefully: Best Supplements for Men Over 40
Let’s be honest, being a middle-aged man is not always a picnic. You may carry weight, or hurt, in places you never did before. It can be a little depressing — which is why we’re here to tell you about the best supplements for men over 40, and bring with it a message of hope. Because guess what? It is, in fact, very possible to teach an old dog new tricks. And as a man, it’s never too late to make some positive changes for your health and longevity!
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The realities of growing older
When you’re in your 20’s, another two decades seems an eternity away — and 40 seems so old. But as legendary 40-something athletes like Tom Brady and Tiger Woods have reminded us, over 40 does not have to mean “over the hill.”
However, it does tend to be a period when your mortality becomes a little more tangible — perhaps by way of more aches and pains, more flab around the midsection and more health problems in general. These problems were likely brewing for years, but in your 40’s they often start to catch up with you.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men are 33% less likely than women to visit a doctor. This could partially explain why women now outlive men by five years, on average. (1)
Unfortunately, men are not just dying in manly pursuits like sword fighting or lumberjacking. They’re more likely to succumb to the most deadly chronic diseases including coronary artery disease (CAD), diabetes, chronic kidney disease (CKD), liver disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cancer. As compared to women, men are also four times more likely to commit suicide, often a result of undiagnosed or untreated depression.
In their younger days, many men get away with making poor lifestyle choices like excessive drinking (alcohol), smoking, recreational drugs, nutrient-starved diets and lack of exercise. These days it’s common for men to have a “work hard, play hard” mentality, often leading to stress (physical and/or emotional), sleep deprivation and hedonistic lifestyle choices. The good news, and also the bad news, is that negative consequences can many times be avoided until after the age of 40 — but certainly not forever.
What’s missing here?
Maintaining the optimal level of nutrients your body requires “from A to Zinc” can be a tricky business. The average man’s diet is certainly less than perfect, while certain medications, drinking, smoking and even exercise can deplete the body of vitamins and minerals. Some of the most common deficiencies in men occur with magnesium, potassium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. (2)
The reason for a lack of magnesium and potassium is fairly obvious — a feeble dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, especially leafy green stuff. Vitamin D deficiency is very common across the board, among men and women. Even dairy products like milk and yogurt contain relatively low levels, so getting all you need through food can be nearly impossible. B12 is abundant in foods, especially eggs and meat, but absorption is more complicated that other nutrients, and can be impaired by heartburn medications. (3, 4).
Taking back control
One of the distinct advantages of being an adult, and a free man, is the ability to make decisions and take actions to make your situation in life better. Choosing a career, a set of investments, a marriage partner, a place to settle down, maybe a boat … But what about your health? Are you going to mindlessly accept your fate among the image of man so often portrayed on television — brutish, slovenly and apathetic — sitting on the couch in front of the game, drinking beer and stuffing his face with nachos?
Of course you’re not, or you wouldn’t be here. You want your body and mind to be well-oiled machines, hurtling you toward a future of happiness and prosperity. Granted, not even the very best supplements for men will be enough to get you there. It will take hard work, and perhaps difficult changes. So if need be, prepare yourself for a total transformation.
More ease, less disease
Sure, no one said life would be easy. But if you want a truly hard life, start piling up the diseases and see what happens. We certainly don’t want that for you, which is why we’ve done the research and compiled this list of the best supplements for men. And since, by the age of 40 you are likely realizing some of your weaknesses — be it your joints, your heart or even your penis — we’ve organized the list by areas of common health concern.
According to Harvard Medical School, hypertension or high blood pressure is responsible for over half of all cardiovascular disease — the leading cause of death worldwide. Therefore it stands to reason, if you want to live longer, make blood pressure control one of your top health priorities.
Once you’ve made any necessary adjustments to your diet and lifestyle — such as following a DASH or Mediterranean diet, exercising regularly and quitting smoking — you can turn your attention to supplements that may help control hypertension. Fortunately there are some available with good scientific evidence behind them. (5) The clear standout in the field is:
CoQ10 — A key enzyme used in the production of cellular energy (imagine the spark plug in your car engine). In a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, CoQ10 was shown to improve systolic blood pressure (the upper number) by 16 points on average. Another comprehensive review found that CoQ10 may be helpful in treatment of hypertension, congestive heart failure (CHF), heart attack and clogged arteries (atherosclerosis). (6, 7)
For cardiovascular health:
Here’s some shocking statistics for you guys: According to the American Heart Association, between 70 and 89% of all “sudden cardiac events” occur in men. By age 45 your chance of developing heart disease will have doubled from early adulthood, and by age 70 it will double again. No need to panic, but if you’re looking for the best supplements for men over 40, you should definitely take this information to heart — pun intended!
Curcumin – Derived from the vibrant yellow spice turmeric, curcumin has been enjoying celebrity status among anti-inflammatory and antioxidant supplements recently. In several studies, curcumin has shown promise as an adjunct therapy following heart attack and bypass surgery — while in other research it has helped lower cholesterol and shown potential to protect against both atherosclerosis and heart arrythmias. (8, 9, 10)
But that’s not all! Curcumin has also shown a capacity to be a potent antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer agent. Researchers believe it may be helpful in fighting a range of health conditions including diabetes, allergies, arthritis, cystic fibrosis, ulcerative colitis and Alzheimer’s disease. (11–14)
Magnesium – This mineral helps keep your heart beating and your blood vessels functioning properly. It’s known to have vasodilatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-ischemic, and antiarrhythmic properties, so it only stands to reason that magnesium would qualify as one of the best supplements for men over 40. (15, 16)
In a 2017 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, magnesium supplementation significantly lowered blood pressure in individuals with insulin resistance, prediabetes or other noncommunicable chronic diseases. (17)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – A 2018 review of the scientific literature found that Omega-3 fatty acids were one of only two nutrients proven to offer a “statistically significant reduction in risk” of CVD events or overall mortality (the other was Vitamin D). As a supplement, it’s most often seen as fish oil or DHA. (18)
For liver health:
Even if you’ve cleaned up your diet, upped your game in the gym and kicked your cigarettes to the curb, chances are your liver could still use an extra boost. After all, years of poor choices can cause permanent damage in the form of fatty deposits or scarring (cirrhosis). Especially if you choose to drink alcohol, even in moderation, consider these supplements that can help optimize your liver function going forward:
Chlorella – This nutrient-dense green algae is often touted for its “detoxifying” and “cleansing” properties. These terms are very subjective of course, but we do know chlorella is rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and potent antioxidants such as carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
Studies suggest chlorella can help reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels if taken as a daily supplement, which has long-term implications for cardiovascular and liver health.() Also, when tested on specific populations with fatty liver disease (NAFLD), chlorella was credited with improving blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides and liver function tests, while promoting weight loss. (19, 20, 21)
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – Produced naturally in the body, however this production decreases with age — making it a potentially beneficial anti-aging supplement for men over 40. ALA has exhibited several different liver-protective attributes. In multiple studies it has shown to reduce oxidative stress, insulin resistance and inflammation, prevent fibrosis and protect against chemical toxicity. (22–25)
For prostate health:
As mentioned earlier, the prostate gland tends to be a weak link for men as they age. According to statistics, nearly all men will develop an enlarged prostate if they live long enough, and roughly 20% are estimated to have the condition by age 40. Given that it’s nestled just under the bladder, as the prostate grows it typically causes difficult or painful urination. (26)
Unfortunately, most of the popular supplements marketed for prostate health have not been proven to work, so you’ll likely be wasting your money. However, at least one nutrient may be worth consideration:
Beta sistosterol – A Cochrane review of four large clinical trials found this plant-based nutrient may be helpful in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH or enlarged prostate), at least in the short term, by improving urinary symptoms. Interestingly, a similar yet much larger review on saw palmetto, one of the most popular supplements for BPH, concluded it to be no better than placebo in treating BPH. (27, 28)
For erectile dysfunction (ED):
The relationship between sexual performance and a man’s psyche cannot be understated. Enter the multi-billion-dollar drug and supplement market, in which disreputable companies are known to prey on men’s desperation. In terms of drugs, as always you’re best advised to take only take what your doctor has prescribed, exactly per the instructions given. And as far as supplements go, be wary of herbal concoctions or other “natural cures” for ED. Also keep in mind, there’s far more evidence that changing your diet and lifestyle has greater effect on erectile function than any dietary supplement. (29, 30, 31)
That said, a few supplements have shown true promise for helping ED:
DHEA – Short for dehydroepiandrosterone, this is a precursor hormone, which means it is used as raw material to produce hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. DHEA is produced naturally in your body, so taking supplements at low doses is very safe.
L-arginine – Works naturally to promote vasodilation in much the same way ED drugs such as Viagra do. For this reason, it may be dangerous to take arginine and Viagra at the same time. (32)
Ginseng – Derived from the root of plants in the genus Panax, and used in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine for centuries. In a 2018 review, ginseng supplements were found to have a significant positive effect for men with erectile dysfunction. (33)
For brain health:
Can’t remember why you opened the refrigerator? Having brain fog in the afternoon at work? Then you may be seeking the best supplements for men to prevent cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Again, the most promising therapies are diet and lifestyle changes — but there are some dietary supplements that may help give you that mental edge again.
Bacopa monnieri – Also known as water hyssop, this herb has been used for thousands of years in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for improving memory. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials concluded that bacopa monnieri has the potential to improve cognition, particularly speed of attention. (34)
Ginkgo – Among the most recognized traditional Chinese medicines, extracted from the leaves of the maidenhair tree. Several studies have demonstrated ginkgo to have strong potential in improving cognitive function and slowing the advance of dementia. (35, 36)
As men get older, all the wear and tear often shows up as aches and pains, longer and more frequent illnesses, even depression or mental illnesses, of which inflammation can be one of the main culprits. For this reason, some of the best supplements for men over 40 include potent anti-inflammatory compounds like curcumin and fish oil, which we’ve already discussed. Another is vitamin D, a.k.a. the “sunshine vitamin.”
Vitamin D – Widely studied for its effects on depression, anxiety and musculoskeletal pain. Recent studies also show Vitamin D can be effective in treating asthma, arthritis, IBD and prostate cancer. (37–40).
Our Top 5: Best supplements for men
Herbs have been used for medical purposes and health care for thousands of years and continue to this day to play a significant role in the treatment of various common ailments but also internal diseases that seem difficult to cure. They are natural, with minimal or no side effects and extremely effective in the form of a simple capsule or tablet.
Several users of this product found it a nice addition to their “detox” program for heavy metals or other toxins. Others used it for immune support, with some reporting less sick days since taking the product, being a convenient way to add iron, zinc, and other essentials to your daily regimen.
- Widely regarded as a “superfood” supplement
- Made in a controlled environment — indoors, sterile — unlike many other brands
- Highly absorbable due to being fermented
- May cause nausea, especially on an empty stomach
- More of a preventative supplement, so difficult to measure results
Customers praise curcumin for relieving joint and muscle pain, helping bowel inflammation, increasing energy and mental sharpness, and many other health benefits.
This formula also includes bioperine (black pepper extract) which has been clinically proven to increase absorption and guarantee satisfaction.
- Vast amounts of research on its potential benefits
- High potency
- Allergen free, gluten free, non-GMO
- Often poorly absorbed in the GI tract
Nutrients are molecules in food that help our bodies to have energy, develop and function. They can be divided into two main categories: macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein and fats and micronutrients – vitamins and minerals such as iron and vitamin D.
Since food nowadays is nutrient poor and does not have enough nutritional value, supplementing your diet with the right supplement for your genetics, lifestyle, activity level and age might prove to be just what you need.
DHA Xtra comes from Nordic Naturals, a trusted source of fish oil products since 1995. Each serving contains 960 mg of DHA. Many customers attest to the product’s lack of fish smell/taste, unlike some other products they’ve tried. Numerous reviewers also tout its important nutrient value and benefits for mood and mental sharpness.
- Higher DHA dose per capsule than most competitors
- Tested for purity
- No fishy taste
- May cause GI discomfort or diarrhea in a small percentage of users
Customers praised this product for helping bring their serum Vitamin D levels up significantly.
The highly absorbable liquid softgels are easy to swallow, no aftertaste and contribute to raising the overall energy levels. This supplement is made with olive oil, which is mostly monounsaturated and does not go rancid as quickly as polyunsaturated oils which destroy the vitamins.
- Very effective at improving vitamin D status in the body
- Small, easy to swallow
- Tested for purity
- Too much vitamin D can be toxic and have negative health consequences
- At least one customer complained the gel caps stuck together in the bottle
Many customers taking this product report improvement in fatigue and overall energy levels. Others say it has helped their leg cramps, blood pressure, heart function. It also turned out to be an efficient ally in regulating and promoting good HDL cholesterol and healthy blood glucose. The fact that it is free of any fillers or artificial ingredients makes it safe to use with no fear of unwanted side effects.
- Evidence of wide-ranging benefits
- High potency — 2-4x higher dose per capsule than most competitors
- American made, in an FDA-registered facility
- Will not have noticeable results for everyone
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the nutritional requirements should firstly be achieved through diet. Easier said than done. Hectic life, stress, nutrient poor and convenient foods, lack of physical activity can all contribute to a deficiency in certain nutrients.
Which is why, if you’re a man who wants to be in good shape and maintain a good health, you might find it useful to resort to supplements to get the nutrients you might lack and make a positive change in your life.
You’re always best advised to consult your doctor prior to beginning a supplement regimen. Many supplements and medications can produce adverse interactions. Also, only take supplements as directed on the label, or as advised by a healthcare professional.