This list is written to help men become healthier thriving individuals so that they are capable of reaching their full potential. There are so many vitamins and supplements out there on the market claiming so many things. For the average man, it can seem like a mystery trying to figure out what to take. While there are many things that we could recommend to a specific individual for specific reasons these are what Apex health believes to be essential to every man. Everything on this list is appropriate for every man to take.
This list is put together to aid overall health and well-being. While some men may become healthier but not “feel” these vitamins and supplements working most men will “feel” better. They will notice more energy and better recovery. Whether you “feel” them or not be assured they are working to improve your health both now and long-term. If you have any questions, please contact us at Apex health for guidance. It is our passion to optimize men’s health and life, and we will go out of our way to help every man that reaches out to us.
1. krill oil.
Omega 3s are essential to health and most every man reading this who does not eat 3-5 portions of fish every single week is likely deficient. The recommended ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is 4:1 or less. However, the American diet has a ratio between 15:1 and 50:1. This is scary and a significant reason for the development of cardiovascular disease and many other diseases. Krill oil is a vital source of omega 3s. It is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory particularly beneficial to your heart and brain. It is much more stable than fish oil and far less likely to oxidize. Both the EPA and DHA in krill oil are in the form of phospholipids and absorbed better than fish oil. The phospholipids also prevent cell damage. Astaxanthin, a very potent antioxidant, is contained in krill oil. This is by far the best all-around supplement a man could take.
Take 1,000mg / daily with a meal.
Mitochondria have been called “the powerhouses of the cell.” They produce approx. 90% of the chemical energy that cells need to survive. A proper mitochondrial function is imperative for good health. Many chronic health issues from cardiovascular disease to migraines can be linked to poor mitochondrial function.
CoQ10 is a cofactor that facilitates the conversion of energy substrates into biological energy in the form of ATP. While there are multiple cofactors involved in mitochondrial function CoQ10 is of particular importance because it not only supports ATP production but also acts as a powerful antioxidant in mitochondrial membranes.
Simply put mitochondrial function is essential for good health and CoQ10 is essential for proper mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are most abundant in the cells that need the most energy to function properly. These are primarily the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys. Cardiac muscle cells have up to 200 times more mitochondria than skeletal muscle and 200 times higher CoQ10 requirements. Therefore it is the number one supplement cardiologist recommend to all patients.
There are volumes of research linking CoQ10 supplementation with improvement in chronic cardiovascular conditions from heart failure to high blood pressure. Research also suggests it can aid recovery after bypass and heart valve surgeries. CoQ10 acts as an antioxidant in your blood preventing oxidation of LDL cholesterol helping to prevent atherosclerosis. CoQ10 also helps reduce chronic inflammation. Research more and more is supporting that inflammation is the “new” silent killer. Reduction in inflammation means a reduction in long-term risk for many diseases.
There are 2 forms of CoQ10; ubiquinone (often simply referred to as CoQ10) and the reduced form ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is the form your body produces naturally and is better absorbed as a supplement. As you age your body’s ability to use CoQ10 becomes reduced. Younger people can use CoQ10 quite well but anybody over the age of 30 should supplement with ubiquinol. Dose requirements are often based on your health. The sicker you are the more you need. I often tell people, however, that they should supplement with as much as they can afford. A good place for healthy people to begin is 100–200mgs daily. Anybody with a history of cardiac problems, high blood pressure, under a lot of stress, or are particularly active should supplement with 200-400mgs daily. Heart failure patients and world-class athletes are often recommended to supplement with 400-600mgs daily. Divide dosing into twice a day with 2 of your highest fat meals. Take at the same time as the krill oil.
3. Vitamin D.
Actually, vitamin D really is not a vitamin at all, It’s a hormone. Practically every cell in the body contains a Vit D receptor. It serves as a substrate for sex hormones and is essential in testosterone, human growth hormone, and estrogen production and regulation. Vit D is one of the most important nutrients in human optimization and could easily be #1 on our list. It acts on over 1,000 different genes, likely protects against a variety of cancers, maintains cardiovascular health, is an anti-inflammatory, and moderates immune function.
Consider the following from Dr. Osborn “Sadly, the importance of vitamin D3 has gone unrecognized until relatively recently, likely resulting in many needless deaths. In doubt? Here’s proof. A large prospective study including 18,225 men free of diagnosed cardiovascular disease assessed whether plasma vitamin D3 concentrations are associated with risk of coronary heart disease over a 10-year period. After adjustment for family history of myocardial infarction, body mass index, alcohol consumption, physical activity, history of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, ethnicity, region, marine omega-3 intake, LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels, the relative risk of nonfatal myocardial infarction or fatal coronary heart disease was more than double in those individuals with low vitamin D3 levels relative to those with normal levels.
Considering the high prevalence of vitamin D3 deficiency in the United States, normalization of serum levels would result in more than 100,000 lives saved yearly. And this only reflects the reduction in fatal coronary events.” Optimizing Vit D levels is as easy as taking a proper amount of D3 daily. Considering its benefit, as well as its ability to be protective, why would you not supplement with it?
While it is true that you can get adequate vitamin D from sun exposure, one would likely need to be outside multiple hours every day, shirtless, live by the equator, and not wear sunscreen. It is smart to try and get sun exposure without sunscreen every day but, because you’re not likely getting enough sun, you should supplement with D3. Everyone should test their blood levels of Vit D because individual levels will vary. People who are very low, <40, may benefit from a month of front loading with D3. Vit D labs are easy to get done and cheap especially if you have health insurance. The normal level on lab test is 30-100ng/ml however the importance of Vit D was not known at the time these normal levels were established. The Vit D council recommends you stay between 80-100ng/ml.
At Apex health we consider testing Vit D levels to be routine. We understand the importance of this vitamin/hormone and will run labs to see your levels and guide you in supplementation properly.
Dose: The debate about proper dosage is still being figured out. The Vitamin D Council recommends that adults take 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily and the Endocrine Society Practice Guidelines state that up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily is safe for most adults.
Our recommendation is 5,000 IU’s daily with a meal. Vit D can be taken with your ubiquinol and krill oil.
Dave Asprey recommends “People with brown/black skin don’t convert sunlight into vitamin D as quickly as lighter skinned people. If you’re brown-skinned, a safe bet is 1,500 IU per 25 pounds of body weight.” That’s is 12,000 IU’s for a 200lb man.
If you choose to become a patient of Apex Health, we will guide your dosing based on your lab results.
Magnesium is a very underappreciated but a highly important nutrient especially for anyone worried about cardiac health, mental health, and neuroprotection. Magnesium could be considered almost as important as Vitamin D and from the above, you know how important we consider vitamin D to be.
Magnesium is used in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body including all involved in ATP production, which is essential for our energy. Proper transcription of DNA and RNA are also dependent on adequate magnesium levels. Magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker and relaxes blood vessels lowering blood pressure. There is also research on mice, that likely has implications for humans, that elevation of brain magnesium levels protects against plaque formation and synaptic loss helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
The problem is almost all Americans are deficient in this vital mineral (68% according to a government study). Soil depletion of magnesium has resulted in us not being able to consume enough in our daily diet. What we do get is often not well absorbed due to our high calcium diet. The average person does not even reach the RDA, which is far too low, to begin with. Magnesium deficiency results in or plays a role in poor cardiovascular health, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, asthma, anxiety, depression, muscle cramps, migraines, headaches, nausea, tense muscles and a bunch of other bad stuff. Supplementing with magnesium should be considered a necessity.
Dose 800-1000mg of an absorbable form of magnesium. Magnesium oxide is the most common form sold at stores like Walmart. It is common because it is the smallest moleculed magnesium and can fit into one pill. However, it is extremely non-bioavailable, and only about 4% of it is absorbed. Absorbable forms of magnesium are larger moleculed and will take multiple pills to reach the recommended dose but what’s the point of supplementing with it if you are not absorbing it? Absorbable forms include Mag citrate, Mag malate, Mag L-threonate, Mag glycinate, Mag orotate, or Mag Taurate (likely the best form for anxiety).
Take Magnesium at night before bed with or without food as it will improve your sleep. If taken with food take with a low calcium meal as calcium will inhibit absorption. On that note, let me stress that calcium/magnesium supplements make no sense as the calcium in it will inhibit any absorption of the magnesium.
For anybody who thinks our recommendation is too high because it is more than double the RDA at Apex Health, we will test magnesium levels in your lab work to assure you are in proper range.
Note: Zinc is an important mineral that is not on this list. It aids in maintaining adequate levels of testosterone as well as many other benefits. Taken at night with magnesium before bed will aid in each other’s absorption and function. ZMA is a product that combines Magnesium, Zinc, and vitamin B6. It has been shown in studies to elevate testosterone and improve sleep. ZMA is a great option but I recommend adding 400-600mg of magnesium with the ZMA to make sure you are getting adequate magnesium levels
5. Vit C
Vit C is an incredibly effective supplement that will improve overall health, has practically no side effects, and is cheap.
Vit C is a potent antioxidant that can reduce free radical damage as well as enhance the immune system. It aids in the formation and maintenance of blood vessels and protects the vascular endothelium. Nobel prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling PH.D. believed that living with chronically low levels of Vit C is a cause of atherosclerosis. Dr. Osborn states that “it has been postulated that a bear’s ability to thwart off atherosclerotic disease (despite elevated inflammatory markers and high cholesterol levels during prolonged periods of hibernation) is causally related to their high circulating levels of vitamin C. Why? Because they synthesize it! And guess what? Humans don’t. We must obtain it from our diet or through supplementation. Do not neglect your vitamin C”
Vit C is important to multiple biological processes including collagen formation, tissue repair, and the maintenance of skin, tendons, and ligaments. It aids in the manufacturing process of glutathione which is the most potent antioxidant in the body. Its ability to act as an antioxidant and improve immune function goes a long way in protecting and enhancing overall health.
Up to 30% of the population is deficient in Vitamin C, and many who are not deficient still are not taking in enough to reap all its benefits. Food and fruit juice alone will not provide you with nearly enough Vitamin C. Some fruits and vegetables contain high amounts but storage methods and cooking break it down and reduce the amount.
Dose: 2-5g (2,000mg – 5,000mg) daily. The only real side effect of too much Vit C is loose stool so if you want to be aggressive you can increase the dose daily by 500-1,000mgs till you notice loose stool then back down by 1g (1,000mg) and maintain there. Linus Pauling, who was one of the first scientists to really promote Vit C supplementation was reported to take 12g (12,000mg) daily for most of his adult life. He lived to be 93. Those suffering any chronic infections, trying to heal from a wound, or are a smoker should probably supplement on the higher end of the range. Also anytime you get an infection or become sick doubling up on your Vit C dose is likely smart and beneficial.
Forms: First, let me explain that with vitamins you have two primary types, water soluble and fat soluble. To keep this simple water-soluble basically means that when the vitamin is ingested the body will use what it needs and flush out the rest. This makes it very difficult to overdose these vitamins because the body does not truly store them. Fat-soluble refers to vitamins that are lipid soluble and absorbed in fat. Once they pass through general circulation what is not used by the body is stored in tissue and tends to remain there. Over time if you take too much of these vitamins you can reach a point where too much is stored in the body resulting in negative side effects. While this may sound scary it is very hard to do unless you are taking large amounts of a fat-soluble vitamin daily. It is still necessary that you provide these vitamins to the body regularly or the body will use the stored amount and over time become deficient. You can also become deficient in fat-soluble vitamins if your fat intake is too low.
Classic Vit C found on most shelves is the water-soluble form called ascorbic acid. This is the most common form that is supplemented with. It works well especially if your break your dose into 2 doses and take in the morning and at night. If you have the extra money a time released version may provide better coverage and therefore possibly better benefit. If you want to be very aggressive with your Vit C supplementation you can also take a low dose of the fat-soluble form known as ascorbyl palmitate along with regular Vit C.
You can take Vit C with or without food.
On Dr. Linus Pauling the man who first promoted Vit C importance and the multifaceted role it plays in the body. Dr. Pauling remains the only person to have won two unshared Nobel Prizes. He earned 2 Ph.D.’s one in chemistry and one in mathematical physics from Caltech. He was one of the founders of both quantum chemistry and molecular biology. He received a total of 47 honorary doctorates throughout his life and received every important award a chemist can receive. He was described as a master at explaining difficult, even abstruse, medical and scientific information in terms understandable to intelligent laypersons. I give this info simply because I refer to him above and to show that his recommendation for high dose Vit C came from the mind of a scientific genius who thoroughly investigated the issue.
6. Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in calcium metabolism and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Vit K can be divided into 2 main forms, K1 and K2. K1 is primarily used in the liver and plays a role in blood clotting. K2 is involved in calcium metabolism and influences where calcium is deposited in the body. K1 is found in green leafy vegetables and other plant foods whereas K2 is found in grass-fed animal foods and fermented foods. Unless you regularly eat grass-fed beef and grass-fed dairy you are most likely seriously deficient in K2.
K2 works by modifying proteins giving them the ability to bind to and regulate calcium. This is extremely important because excess calcium can be deposited in arteries causing calcification and decreasing vascular function. By reducing this accumulation K2 is helpful in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. As noted in a Healthline report; “In the Rotterdam study, those who had the highest intake of Vitamin K2 were 52% less likely to develop calcification of the arteries and had a 57% lower risk of dying from heart disease, over a 7-10 year period.”
K2 may also help fight cancer. Studies have only been done with certain types of cancer but in both studies, K2 showed promise. In one study K2 reduced the recurrence of liver cancer and increased survival times. In an observational study that included 11,000 men those who had a high intake of K2 had a 63% lower risk of advanced prostate cancer. K1 had no effect.
K2 is also believed to protect against Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. K2 plays a very important role in dental health, is protective against tooth decay, and protects against cavities.
K2 can be further divided into several different subsets, the most important of these are MK4 and MK7. They both likely work together but also have different benefits. MK4 is likely to be more supportive of sex hormones, such as testosterone, and gene expression. MK7 is likely better for teeth and dental health. They both provide cardioprotective benefit. If possible, one should attempt to find a supplement that combines them both. If the supplement also includes K1, even better.
Dose: Try to find a product that combines both MK4 and MK7. MK4 should be supplemented between 500-1500mcg daily and MK7 at 100-200mcg daily. Because it can be hard to find a good product that contains both I am going to recommend Life Extensions Super K. It contains both MK7 and MK4 in adequate amounts and includes K1 and a small dose of fat soluble Vit C.
Take Vit K with food. Vit K should be taken at the same time as Vit D as they are synergistic. So far, I have recommended 6 supplements. Krill oil, ubiquinol, Vit D and Vit K can all be taken together with a meal, preferably a higher fat meal. Magnesium should be taken before bed with or without food and Vit C can be taken with either or even better split into 2 doses and taken with both.
I recognize that some will have hesitation with this one. So far everything I have recommended has been great for overall health and especially cardiovascular health. Many people think of creatine as just a supplement for bodybuilders. Historically that is what creatine has been used for and associated with, however, more and more research is showing that creatine has a multitude of general health benefits for all men. Physicians have started recommending creatine to patients, especially for its anti-aging benefits. As men age, it becomes harder and harder to gain muscle and keep fat at bay. Creatine goes a long way in helping men to maintain the muscle they have and gain new muscle more easily. Creatine has been proven to have a multitude of other general health benefits, it helps with overall energy, has been repeatedly proven safe, and is one of the cheapest supplements that are out there.
For many years creatine has been highly respected amongst fitness enthusiasts for its ability to enhance muscle growth, aid aerobic exercise, and improve recovery but it didn’t go much further than that. Recently, however, creatine research has begun to show us the many benefits it can have on our health.
This wouldn’t be a proper write up on creatine if it didn’t first look at creatine’s ability to improve athletic performance. When it comes to ergogenics, creatine is king. There are literally hundreds of studies proving creatine’s ability to enhance power output, strength, improve body composition, increase training volume, endurance, and recovery. Creatine’s effect on performance is primarily due to its ability to increase your muscles’ phosphocreatine stores which aids in the formation of ATP. ATP is the key molecule used by cells to produce energy and all basic functions of life. During intense workouts, you use ATP faster than it can be manufactured and built up in the body. Your body’s inability to resynthesize ATP fast enough limits your ability to continue to perform at maximum intensity. Creatine aids the body in producing more ATP fueling your muscles and preventing fatigue during high-intensity workouts. This enables you to lift heavier weights and consistently lift higher reps leading to more muscle growth. Creatine also alters several cellular pathways and can increase proteins used to create new muscle fibers. It increases IGF-1 and cell voluminization which rapidly increases the size of muscles.
Another important benefit of creatine supplementation is that it improves glucose metabolism and has a therapeutic role in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes. Creatine supplementation increases the concentration of GLUT-4, a transporter molecule that brings glucose into your muscle cells. An important marker for diabetes risk is the short-term blood sugar response to a meal. The faster your body can clear sugar from the blood, the better. This increase of GLUT-4 results in improved insulin action and glucose disposal more rapidly normalizing glucose levels after a meal. Creatine also enhances glycogen storage following exercise. People who combine creatine and exercise, better control blood sugar, after a high carb meal, than those who only exercised according to a 12-week study looking at creatine’s effect on blood sugar.
Creatine also has a beneficial effect on brain function, reduces mental fatigue, and increases oxygen utilization enhancing brain performance. The brain requires a significant amount of ATP energy when performing difficult tasks. Similar to how creatine works in muscles, it also increases phosphocreatine stores in the brain leading to increased production of ATP improving concentration and reducing brain fatigue. It also increases dopamine levels and improves mitochondrial function leading to improved memory and mood. Creatine also has a protective effect against the development and progression of neurological diseases. Research has suggested that creatine can protect against and treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and ischemic strokes, amongst other diseases.
Creatine’s ability to increase ATP and mitochondrial function also improves overall energy levels and reduces day to day fatigue. Research has indicated that people who supplement with creatine daily report improvements in fatigue and tiredness, especially during times of reduced sleep. Regular creatine use increases productivity in its users.
Creatine is one of the safest and most researched dietary supplements available today. It has been the subject of research for over 200 years. It has millions of people using it worldwide with no reported health issues. Due to creatine’s ability to bring fluid into your muscle cells, it is wise to drink plenty of water while supplementing with creatine. However, the worry that creatine may dehydrate you more quickly is unfounded. In fact, research indicates that creatine helps the body maintain normal body temperature and aids in hydration status during times of intense training and sweating. One of the common objections to creatine use is the belief that if you stop using it you will lose the muscle you have gained. First, there is no reason to stop creatine. Secondly, even if you did, the muscle you have gained is your muscle and is not going to be lost simply because you stop taking creatine.
Historically there have been recommendations that creatine needs to go through a “loading” phase and needs to be cycled. Neither of these are true. Creatine should be consumed at 3-5g every day, anytime throughout the day. Time of creatine supplementation in relation to working out is unimportant. Take creatine whenever is most convenient for you.
Creatine can be purchased in powder or capsules. The powder is by the far the cheapest, but both are equally beneficial. There are multiple forms of creatine on the market, however, they all have the same benefit. Creatine monohydrate is the cheapest and most studied. Look for micronized creatine monohydrate. Generally, you can purchase a year’s worth for $20-30. Occasionally this form causes some minor bloating or GI upset. If so you can try other forms such as creatine magnesium chelate, creatine anhydrous, or creatine hcl. No matter what form you use, supplement at 3-5g daily. There are also multiple brands on the market that mix multiple forms of creatine into one product. Generally, these simply exist as a way for supplement companies to make more money from the consumer but could be worth trying to reduce bloating. I generally do not recommend exact products but will recommend a few below as we have tried many.
Creatine monohydrate – micronized is best, cheapest form, all brands are the same, just buy the cheapest.
Controlled labs Green magnitude – Creatine magnesium chelate with other ingredients, provides creatine benefits with reduced bloating and GI upset.
PES Ergonine – Great all in one supplement that contains creatine as well as other well studied proven ergogenics. For someone looking for an all in one muscle builder, this is a great option and relatively cheap considering all it contains. Uses creatine anhydrous which should not cause any bloating.
Let me stress that when I say creatine mono may cause bloating, it rarely does and the bloating it may cause is generally very minor. Almost everyone reading this will be just fine on the monohydrate form. Ergonine may have benefit for those individuals pushing themselves in the gym and looking to advance their gains but do not want to spend the time or money buying multiple products.
Simply put, whether you work out or not, creatine should be in your supplement arsenal.
If you have a specific brand, product, or form you have questions about feel free to contact Apex Health and we will answer.
Let's talk brands for a minute. Brands can make a difference in some products. In general, Jarrow brand is great for those who will spend a bit more money for a very quality product. Jarrow is a brand that provides premium supplements but still at a decent price. For those who have the extra money to spend and what to know they are getting the very best, we recommend Pure Encapsulations, Douglas labs, or Thorne. Most of these can be found at pureformulas.com.
Now to be more specific to the above recommend supplements. Again for those wanting the very best the premium brand mentioned above should carry all of the recommended supplements except for maybe creatine. However, we have already recommended good brands for creatine and K2 above.
Krill oil, Mega Red can be found at Walmart at a decent price. Onnit or Jarrow krill oil can be found online and at stores like sprouts and Central Market for a little more money than mega red but are premium brands.
For ubiquinol Qunol brand can be found at Walmart for a decent price and is a quality product. Jarrow also caries ubiquinol but does cost more.
Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Vitamin C the Walmart brand is likely a decent product at a good price. Remember if buying the Walmart brand of magnesium to make sure you purchase magnesium citrate and stay clear of magnesium oxide. Again for those willing to spend a bit more money the more premium brands carry all of these and specific to magnesium, they carry multiple forms.
Vit K2 I have already recommended a product above. For those who absolutely can’t afford Life Extensions Super K then the Walmart brand of K2 is an ok product although it only consists of MK7 and does not have a mixture like Super K so some benefits will be lost.
Creatine I have already recommended a few products above. There are multiple creatines in all forms available at bodybuilding.com. Jarrow has creatine monohydrate in capsule form at a decent price. It can be found at Sprouts or online.