Posted on by Paula Gallagher
November is Men's Health Awareness Month. This is a month to bring awareness to some of the biggest health issues faced by men, including prostate cancer and testicular cancer, as well as mental health and suicide prevention. According to the World Health Organization, men are less healthy than woman, and one of the reasons for that is that men are less likely to visit a doctor when they are ill and, when they see a doctor, are less likely to report on the symptoms of disease or illness.
So men, yes, I am talking to you... start taking better care of yourselves. Go to the doctor, ask the questions, eat better, exercise more, and consider supplements to fill in the gaps.
Here are some supplements to consider, whether you are a man in your 20s or your 70s. However, it is a good time to start considering your health when you’re in your 20s and 30s.
Men in Their 20s & 30s
Amino Acids: If you are not getting adequate protein, you are not getting adequate amino acids. Amino acids are essential for repair, growth, brain and muscle function, energy, mood and the ability to use and lose fat. One amino acid in particular, L-carnitine, has been shown to help address fatigue and enhance fat burning during exercise, as well as improve and support balanced blood sugar levels, and improve circulation and fertility. If your diet is less than well balanced, you may want to consider a quality protein powder that contains a full spectrum of amino acids.
Fish Oil: By now, most people have heard about the benefits of omega-3s. High in omega fatty acids EPA and DHA, fish oil has been shown to lower triglyceride levels and increase the “good” HDL cholesterol. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, supports joint health, intestinal health and immune function, and has been shown to help treat mild to moderate depression.
Men in Their 40s
Soluble Fiber: In addition to promoting regularity and healthy detoxification, soluble fiber also helps to ensure balanced blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol levels, and support healthy weight loss. A diet low in fiber and high in fat is one of the leading risk factors in the development of colorectal cancers. Foods high in soluble fiber include oats and oatmeal, legumes such as beans and peas, and many fruits and vegetables such as apples, avocados and carrots. Again, if your diet needs a little boost, try adding a scoop of ground flax or other soluble fiber supplement to your morning cereal.
Lycopene: It’s never too early to start thinking about prostate health. Lycopene is a carotene with mighty antioxidant powers. It is found in bright red fruits and vegetables and is highest in cooked tomato products such as stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce or salsa. Research suggests that lycopene may be a powerful cancer prevention tool, proving most effective in the prevention of prostate, lung and stomach cancers. Lycopene can be found in many supplements aimed at increasing antioxidants, or to enhance prostate health. When eating cooked tomato products, make sure to eat with a small amount of fat (think high-quality olive oil) to enhance lycopene absorption.
Men in Their 50s
Saw Palmetto: Urinary frequency, urgency and hesitancy are arguably the most common complaints of men in the 50+ age group. Saw palmetto, rich in phytosterols, has been shown to produce similar results as finesteride, a commonly used pharmaceutical medication used to treat symptoms associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), along with being better tolerated than the medication. Symptoms of BPH include urinary frequency, urgency and hesitancy.
CoQ10: CoQ10 provides energy, in the form of oxygen delivery, to all the cells of the body, which is particularly important for muscle cells. The heart is a muscle, and in turn, CoQ10 is vital to optimal cardiovascular function. As we age, our natural production of coenzyme Q10 declines. Statin medications, often prescribed to decrease high cholesterol levels, also greatly interfere with our body’s ability to make its own CoQ10. Look for ubiquinol CoQ10 varieties, as they are believed to be better absorbed and utilized in the body.
Vitamin D: It comes as no surprise to most North Americans that we are generally deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is another big player in the fight against and prevention of a variety of common cancers, including colorectal cancers, breast cancer, cancers of the prostate, pancreas and more. Most people also know about the importance of vitamin D in bone health, helping with the absorption and utilization of calcium. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with increased incidence of depression, and it’s also essential for a strong immune system, with adequate vitamin D levels now known to be one of our best defenses against cold and flu.
Before you take any of these supplements consult with your doctor or health care practitioner to ensure proper use.
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Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
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Dr. Neal Barnard
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Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
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