The best workout supplements for older men

The best workout supplements for older men

Today we will find out what are the best workout supplements for older men looking to improve strength and muscle mass.

As we get older our ability to build muscle mass and strength declines due to metabolic and hormonal changes. Workout supplements can be used to deter these changes to an extent.

Many older men also suffer from reduced appetite and can have tough time-consuming enough protein to optimize building and maintaining muscle mass.

For men the greatest hormonal change that happens with age is the reduction in natural testosterone levels. Testosterone is an extremely important hormone for muscle strength and mass as well as overall male health.

Besides doing strength training and having an active life, it’s possible to support your natural testosterone production with supplements. We are not talking about hormones or anabolic steroids but supplements that allow your body to function optimally for producing testosterone.

There are also supplements and minerals that improve your ability to increase strength and muscle mass no matter what your age is.

The important thing to remember is that there are no magic bullets when it comes to physical fitness (except anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs). The most important things are a well formulated exercise program, a healthy diet and sufficient rest that allows you to recover from the stress of exercise.

Supplements are exactly what the name suggests, supplements. They won’t magically make you muscular and burn fat for you if you are not willing to put in the work and eat healthy.

Supplements can have a noticeable effect if everything else is done correctly, especially in older men because supplements can help you achieve a hormonal and metabolic state that more closely resembles that of a younger mans.

DISCLAIMER: Even though the supplements we display here are considered generally safe, we can not take any responsibility for possible negative health effects you may have from them. We are simply providing the information and product recommendations for your to make the decision of use. Always talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet because they may have negative side effects with your medication and physical or mental conditions.

Supplements for building muscle mass in older men

The most important supplement for building muscle mass in older men is protein powder. We want to be clear in that supplemental protein powder are in no way mandatory for building muscle mass however.

If you eat a healthy diet with several meals of protein a day, you won’t probably need a supplemental protein powder. If you have trouble composing a daily diet that includes enough protein, a protein powder can be an easy solution.

Older people actually need more protein than younger people to keep their muscle mass because of the hormonal and metabolic changes that tend to make your body give up it’s muscle mass.

So if you are not getting enough protein, you will likely lose both strength and muscle mass. This study showed that older men gained strength and muscle mass simply by adding 30 grams of whey protein to their normal diet. What’s the most remarkable thing is that this group didn’t even do strength training.

The group that had both the protein supplement and exercised, got even better results as would be expected. This just goes to show how much impact simply diet can have on your health and that exercise and diet combined is the route to victory when in comes to health.

The two muscle building supplement we would suggest for older men are both protein powders due to this fact.

Whey

Our first recommendation is a milk based Whey protein. Whey is one of the two proteins found on cows milk, casein being the other one. Whey is very easily digestible and easy on the stomach. The science is very clear on whey protein ability to improve muscle mass like shown by this study.

Whey protein contains a perfect combination of essential amino acids in a biologically available form and it has become the supplement industry standard for improving recovery and muscle mass.

There are different quality grades of whey depending on how pure they are. The purest form is referred to as whey protein isolate and it contains only trace amounts of casein and lactose. This is important for the fact that lactose and casein can both cause digestion and even allergic reactions to some people.

Our recommendation for whey isolate is the Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate. It’s made from the purest ingredients and doesn’t contain even trace amounts of antibiotics and hormones like some brands.

Rice Protein

Our second protein recommendation is meant for vegans and vegetarians. If you are a vegan it especially important to supplement with protein as a senior as it’s much harder to obtain enough digestible protein from a vegan diet.

Fortunately these days there are many completely vegan protein options. The most common ones are spy protein, hemp protein, rice protein and pea protein. Our recommendation would be rice protein because of the amino acid profile, taste and

Unfermented soy has some question marks towards its possible hormonal functions and it’s a known allergenic. Hemp and pea protein generally taste rather bitter and their amino acid profile is not as good as rice proteins.

Rice protein is virtually as effective as whey protein so there is no need to suffer from lack of high quality protein in your diet if you are a vegan (which we encourage if you know how to plan your diet wisely).

Our recommendation for rice protein is the NAKED RICE – Organic Brown Rice Protein Powder which has no added ingredients, only pure rice protein.

 

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Supplements for increasing testosterone in older men

Magnesium

Magnesium is a common mineral found in many foods in our diet. It seems to be very beneficial for improving testosterone, especially in older men. This review of scientific literature concluded that under nutrition and resulting mineral deficiencies frequently coexist with reduced hormonal levels in older men. They found that magnesium seems to play and especially important role as stated in the abstract:

“In particular, there is evidence that magnesium exerts a positive influence on anabolic hormonal status, including Testosterone, in men.”

Even though magnesium is an abundant mineral in the soil that is vital for our health, it seems that many older men suffer from lack of magnesium. Besides causing low testosterone levels, magnesium deficiency can cause symptoms like muscle cramps, osteoporosis, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, constipation and it’s even associated with mental disorders. Magnesium is a mineral that helps your muscles relax and lower your blood pressure and stress.

In nature, we get our magnesium from the food and water we digest. Magnesium is especially high in whole wheat and many vegetables and fruits like spinach, nuts, cocoa, black beans, avocado and banana. If you have been eating a diet consisting mainly of processed red meat and white wheat without abundant amount of vegetables your magnesium levels are likely not optimal.

Besides including whole foods high in magnesium you can increase your magnesium levels with a magnesium supplement. There are several different common magnesium salts that are used in the supplements. They differ mainly in absorption, meaning that you need to eat less of the types with better absorption. Common magnesium salts include magnesium oxide, citrate, taurate, stearate and several others.

Our recommendation is the MgSport High Absorption Magnesium which is a high absorption magnesium that has a patented formula consisting of magnesium hydroxide and magnesium oxide monohydrate that is claimed to be three times more effective than magnesium citrate which is the industry standard. It includes vitamin B6, E and D for better absorption.

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Zinc

The second supplement recommendation for improving testosterone levels is another mineral that we often get too little of in the diet. We are talking about zinc. Zinc, just like magnesium is abundant in nature but our modern diet unfortunately is low in zinc.

Zinc is related with testosterone levels in men of all ages. This study showed that testosterone levels correlated with cellular zinc concentrations. Even young men had significant reduction in testosterone levels after 20 weeks of zinc restriction. This tells us that older men should make sure they are getting enough

Besides increasing testosterone levels zinc is very important for skin and prostate health, immune function, and for hair growth and protein synthesis. So zinc supports building strength and muscles both directly and indirectly through increasing testosterone levels.

Good sources of zinc include sea food, meat, legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains, dairy and eggs. Even if you include all those in your diet consistently, it might beneficial for testosterone levels to supplement with zinc.

Our recommendation for a zinc supplement is the Pure Encapsulations Zinc Picolinate which is a highly absorbable form of zinc.

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Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is an old Ayurvedic herb that has been regarded as an adaptogen and source of male virility. The science on ashwagandha is unclear if it actually increases testosterone in healthy males but it has been shown to increase testosterone levels in infertile men and improve fertility. It is likely older men suffering from low testosterone levels will benefit from the herb in a similar way.

Besides potentially increasing testosterone, fertility and libido, ashwagandha is very good for reducing perceived stress levels. It has also been shown to increase strength and muscle mass in men doing resistance training. This is likely partly due to the increases in testosterone.

Our recommendation for an Ashwagandha

D-Aspartic Acid

D-Aspartic Acid is a controversial supplement for increasing testosterone. It has been shown to increase testosterone in untrained men but to have no significant effect in (strength)trained men. This study speculates that

“elderly population, with decreased testosterone levels, may benefit from DAA supplementation combined with resistance training, as some research has demonstrated that DAA can improve testosterone levels in untrained men.”

So DAA might be something you could try to improve you testosterone levels. The usual recommendations is to take 3 grams per day. Our recommended brand is the KOR Naturals DAA

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The KOR Natural DAA comes in capsules, which is great because DAA tastes pretty horrible as raw powder form.

Supplements for improving physical performance in older men

The three supplements we recommend for improving physical performance and fitness for older men are the three C’s: Creatine, (L-)Carnitine and Carnosine. We know the names seem very similar to each other and might sound very foreign to you, but we assure you, they all posses significant potential for boosting you physical and even mental ability.

Even though the names are very similar, the substances have very different functions and purposes for use.

Creatine

Creatine is a substance found in your body and a supplement that has been extensively researched and been shown to improve your physical strength and improve muscle mass and anaerobic performance.

Creatine is naturally found especially found in red meat as it’s stored in the muscle cells. It is an organic compound your body produces to offer energy to muscle cells under heavy anaerobic work like lifting heavy objects and sprinting.

Supplementing with creatine is especially beneficial for vegans and vegetarians. Our recommendation for a creatine supplement is OPTIMUM NUTRITION Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder

L-Carnitine

Carnitine is an organic compound involved in metabolism in most mammals including humans that has been associated with increases in muscle mass and strength. It has been shown to be particularly effective in enhancing post-exercise recovery in seniors at risk of skeletal decline.

Carnitine may also offer use in treating male infertility as it’s been shown to improve sperm quality and testicular health. It’s not a far fetch it might improve testosterone levels as well through this function.

Natural source for L-Carnitine include meats, dairy and asparagus. Older men might benefit from an L-Carnitine supplement however and our recommendation is the Divine Bounty Acetyl L-Carnitine.

Carnosine

Our last recommendation is carnosine. Carnosine is a compound found in very high concentration in the muscles and the brain. It has been associated with longevity and strength. Especially older people can benefit from its use. Our recommendation for a Carnosine supplement is the Life Extension Super Carnosine

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Essential vitamins for older men

Many people, not just older men, suffer from significant mineral and vitamin deficiencies that prevent their bodies from functioning optimally. It’s important to realize the vitamin and mineral needs are different for men and women.

Older men can especially benefit from a high quality vitamin that’s target specifically for male health. These vitamins usually contain optimal levels of minerals and vitamins needed for healthy hormonal function, libido and male health.

Our recommendation for male vitamin is the Swisse Men’s Premium Ultivite Multivitamin

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Conclusion

We hope you found our tips for the best workout supplements for older men useful and will try them yourself. If you have any questions or suggestions, please ask the on the comments section below and we will get back to you soon.

Supplements can be a great way to make sure your body is functioning optimally and performing to it’s full potential. They can’t replace a healthy diet, exercise and rest however and you should only use supplements once you have all those in check.

Supplements can have a significant performance and cognitive boost if you are deficient in a crucial vitamin or mineral. Otherwise the benefits are supple but usually noticeable after couple weeks.

If you enjoy reading about strength training and health tips for older people and seniors please subscribe to our newsletter and bookmark this site.

See you next time,

Elder Strength

4 comments

  1. Another well thought out post. This is the kind of piece that can easily take bad and dangerous turns, but I think you lay out a good case, with reasonable suggestions and appropriate cautions throughout.

    I really liked the line, “Supplements are exactly what the name suggests, supplements. They won’t magically make you muscular and burn fat for you if you are not willing to put in the work and eat healthy.” That cannot be said enough. I do supplement with protein powders (appreciate the brown rice suggestion, hadn’t thought of that) and various minerals and the like, but it’s all for nothing if you don’t don’t take care of the rest of the equation.

    One part did make me laugh, “Many older men also suffer from reduced appetite…”

    If ONLY that were my problem!

    1. Thanks for the comment John! You can’t really emphasize that part with supplements enough, after all they are basically just small pieces of your overall diets. The true foundation of health(and to some extent youth) is a reasonably healthy diet, enough exercise and activity, enough sleep, avoiding stress and generally enjoying living. Supplements won’t magically take your problems away, but they can definitely help in some purposes, if your lifestyle is in check otherwise. One other important thing to take into account is that supplements are not medicine, but they can still have drug like effects, side effects and dangerous interaction with medical drugs you might be taking.

      I know what you mean about the reduced appetite lol, but it really is a thing. Especially with elderly men in hospital care often suffer from lack of appetite that can cause malnourishment. Then again most senior men likely suffer from the opposite problem just like you stated. All the best to you!

  2. Hey Elder Strength,

    Great article!

    Good to see other people “banging the drum” about how hormonal changes and lowering testosterone levels for men can have a negative impact on the ability to gain muscle and even lead to a loss of existing muscle.

    I’m personally a fan of Whey protein and have been advising that it is something my dad starts supplementing with as well.

    Great advice for supplements that aid with testosterone production. The only ones I would add are Vitamin D & boron.

    Highly informative as always, keep putting this great info out there!

    1. Thank you for the comment Nate! Vitamins and minerals are definitely useful for boosting testosterone levels in many older men as deficiencies are surprisingly common. Vitamin D and boron are definitely supplements we would recommend, especially if you live up north and don’t get much sunshine during the winter months.

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