Photograph by Craig Cutler
A one-a-day multivitamin habit is a good first step toward better health, but to get the real payoff you need more than a magic tablet—even if it is shaped like Fred Flintstone. Here, a guide to what supplements to take, depending on your goals. Katie Hintz
GETTING AHEAD AT THE OFFICE
Daily Doses: High-potency multivitamin/multi-mineral (4-6 capsules), coenzyme Q10 (50-100 mg), phosphatidylserine (1-3 100-mg doses), ginkgo biloba (120-240 mg)
How They Work: To avoid sick days and the 4 P.M. slump, you need a high-potency multivitamin—the kind you take four or more times a day. "They can even make some people sleep better," says Shari Lieberman, a nutritionist and the author of The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book. The natural stimulant CoQ10 provides an energy boost. The phosphatidylserine and ginkgo biloba may improve concentration and memory.
BEATING YOUR Y CHROMOSOME
Daily Doses: Saw palmetto (320 mg), fish oil (2-3 g)
How They Work: Saw palmetto is your prostate's best friend—it can alleviate the enlargement issues that appear in 25 percent of men aged 40 to 50 without causing impotence, like many of the alternatives. To protect your heart, say hello to fish oil. "Research shows it's the No. 1 preventative of sudden death from cardiac arrest," Lieberman says. "It's superior even to a defibrillator."
Daily Dose: Green-tea extract (1-2 capsules before each meal)
How it Works: Weight loss is never as simple as popping a pill. "All fat-burning supplements work better when you exercise," Lieberman explains. So how much does green tea help? According to a 2008 study, men who were given the extract and did an hour of cycling burned 17 percent more fat than those who were given placebos. And though the jury's still out on the full benefits of a cup of green tea, both have been shown to help prevent heart disease, cancer, and wrinkles.
PERFORMING IN THE SACK
Daily Doses: L-arginine (2-4 g), zinc (25-30 mg), ginseng (follow directions on bottle)
How They Work: "They call L-arginine the poor man's Viagra," Lieberman says. In addition to increasing the frequency and staying power of erections, it gives your sperm count a boost—a nifty benefit of taking zinc, as well. Use the ginseng to help jump-start your libido while building your body's resistance to stress, anxiety, and fatigue.