The Top 3 Sports Supplements for Men
By Jake Boly
In this article:
Men that live an active lifestyle can benefit from a diet and supplement regimen that complements their day-to-day. Compared to a sedentary lifestyle, an active lifestyle will require a slightly different daily routine due to the higher demands placed on the body. For physically active men specifically, there are a few nutrients that can assist with performance, longevity, and daily life.
It’s important to recognize that men will have slightly different needs compared to women due to physical, biological, and physiological differences, and this is why a man’s supplement regimen will generally look different from a woman’s. In this article, we’re going to cover three supplements that active men can take to benefit their healthy lifestyle.
It’s important to remember that supplements should be used in addition to a balanced healthy diet that consists of whole, natural foods. They should not be taken to replace healthy foods or used as a band-aid to cover up a lacking area in a diet.
All of the supplements below were selected for a few particular reasons. First, instead of just listing off the standard “go-to’s” you see in general supplement articles, these three supplements have a fair amount of research backing up their proposed benefits and claims. There will always be some discrepancy in research, however, the supplements below are fairly consistent with their best uses and suggestions in relation to their proposed benefits.
The second reason the following supplements made this list are the benefits they can potentially have for men specifically. For example, the respective supplements below will help support things like muscle gain and retention, mental health, natural testosterone production, and much more.
The final reason these supplements made this list is due to their low level of entry and implementation. The supplements below are all relatively safe to consume when taken with regularity and they don’t require too much planning to incorporate them into a pre-existing regimen.
To no surprise, protein powder is making the list as a useful supplement for men. All types of protein powder can be useful for men, especially those that live an active lifestyle. When it comes to protein powders and their bioavailability, generally, a whey isolate will fare better. However, for vegans, and others with dietary restrictions, a protein powder that matches one’s dietary needs will work fine as well.
Essential Amino Acids
One of the main benefits that come with adding a protein powder to one’s regimen is the fact that most of them include all of the essential amino acids. This is key for building and repairing muscle on a daily basis and after tough workouts. Some foods that contain protein don’t have all of the amino acids, so consuming a supplement that does is a foolproof way to ensure one is getting enough.
The nine essential amino acids include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
By consuming a protein powder—whether it be after a workout or as a snack—there’s a better chance of obtaining enough protein on a daily basis to provide the body with the amino acids it needs.
To add to the above point above about essential amino acids, protein powder is also a great option for post-workout recovery. For active men that are constantly on the quest of improving their fitness, body composition, and health, protein is an easy tool to boost recovery after a tough bout of activity.
Following a workout, the body will be more susceptible to utilizing protein for protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is the process of utilizing protein to repair muscle and this premise is where the idea of the “anabolic window” originates from. While said “window” is much longer than what previously thought (30 minutes-6 hours+), consuming a protein powder after a workout is an easy way to ensure the body starts the recovery process—consider it low-hanging fruit.
Great for Satiation
For men on the quest of improving body composition, protein powder can be great for aiding with satiation or feeling full for longer periods of time. Protein powder can be taken by itself or mixed in things like oatmeal to make protein-heavy snacks which can play a role in supporting the feeling of being satiated—especially when on a diet.
To further this point, protein powder makes a great snack any time of day and when on the road for those looking for healthier options when traveling.
Of all the supplements on the market geared towards supporting workout performance, few supplements have as much positive research as creatine. Creatine is an organic compound that is found in vertebrates and plays a role in recycling adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is an energy currency used within cells in the muscle and brain.
This supplement is fantastic for active men for a variety of reasons which we’ll cover below and it’s easy to implement into any supplement regimen.
Increased Aerobic Capacity
Aerobic training can take multiple forms and for those that love activities like biking, running, rowing, and high-intensity training, creatine has been suggested to play a role in increasing aerobic capacity due to its ability to increase efficient energy production.
In a study published in 2003 in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, authors suggested that creatine helped improve the performance of elite rowers during their endurance training. Then another study published in 2010 in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition highlighted that creatine could potentially assist with submaximal work during bouts of high-intensity interval training.
Improve Muscle Strength and Enhance Recovery
For active men that love to train heavy and push the limits on their power production, creatine is an awesome supplement for supporting both recovery and power production. Research suggests that creatine does this by leveraging and maximizing the phosphocreatine energy system in skeletal muscle. Thus, if energy systems are maximized, then there’s a higher chance of performance increasing.
To further this point, authors published a study in 2018 in Nutrients and explored how creatine supplementation increases complex training (a type of training designed to increase power production) performance in addition to muscle recovery. Following their study intervention, authors noted that the creatine supplementation group had their 1-RMs (Rep Max) improve to a greater extent compared to the placebo group, and they also had reduced levels of creatine kinase (an indicator of muscle damage) following complex training sessions.
Enhance Cognitive Function
On top of the physical benefits that creatine has, it also comes with mental cognition benefits. It’s been suggested in research that creatine can play a role in boosting memory and reasoning by improving neuroprotection and energy supplies. A study published in 2018 in Experimental Gerontology suggested that creatine played a positive role in memory and reasoning in healthy young individuals.
In the world of supplements, magnesium could be regarded as an unsung hero. Every day, magnesium is hard at work playing a role in roughly 600 chemical reactions in the body. In fact, magnesium is important for energy production, nervous system regulation, gene maintenance, protein formation, and the list goes on and on.
Needless to say, magnesium is incredibly important, especially for men who aren’t consuming enough through their daily diet.
Improves Mood and Brain Function
Magnesium plays a critical role in healthy everyday brain function and mood. Those with magnesium deficits could be more prone to depression. A study published in 2015 in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine suggested that adults with the lowest levels of magnesium could be more prone to depression, which can make it harder for someone to maintain the motivation to support an active lifestyle.
For men, this could be helpful to know, as mental health is often underplayed, especially when it comes to things like depression. And busy, active lifestyles may make one more prone to not consuming enough magnesium on a daily basis.
Can Help Reduce Blood Pressure
Magnesium has been suggested in a few studies to promote blood flow and reduce blood pressure, and this is useful for men with a family history of these problems. Research has suggested the magnesium helps reduce the restriction of blood vessels and can promote small, but consistent positive effects on blood pressure reduction.
The above supplements are only three men can include in their regimen. Other useful supplements that have some research positively shining light on them for men specifically include fish oil, vitamin D, and caffeine.
Despite being low-risk, it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor or qualified medical professional before integrating any new supplement into a daily regimen.