7 Ways Black Men Can Jumpstart Generational Health

African American man taking medicine pillsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 12 percent of men age 18 and older are in fair or poor health leading to obesity, hypertension and even mortality. Medical professionals from the University of Alabama at Birmingham have provided a few tips to help men get healthy.

1. Take the right vitamins

Americans spend more than $20 billion per year on multivitamins, but not every vitamin is appropriate for every person. Identify the health problems you have to better evaluate your daily vitamin needs.

“For the average person, there is no evidence that multivitamins improve health or help one avoid disease,” said William Curry, M.D., professor in the UAB School of Medicine. “There is no proven value of multivitamins unless a man has a known deficiency or specific condition. However, the doses of various vitamins — vitamins A, B complex, C, D and E — in the standard multivitamin products are typically in a safe range.”

Curry recommends a multivitamin for those with malabsorption of the gut, alcoholism, previous gastric bypass surgery, severe kidney disease, on dialysis, or rare metabolic defects. Those who follow a strict vegetarian diet should also consider a general multivitamin.

Antioxidants including Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E are heavily promoted and advocated; but studies have not found benefit for preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer, according to Curry. Men with higher risk for cardiovascular disease, especially heart attack and stroke, may consider a vitamin with anti-oxidants. However, high doses of Vitamin A can result in fractures and visual problems. Curry warns that high doses of Vitamin E, 400 units per day or more, may cause higher mortality.

“Vitamin E can interact with blood thinners to increase their effects,” Curry said.