According to the Men’s Health Foundation In Canada, men aged 30-64 over 65% are overweight or obese, almost 50% are inactive, over 40% binge drink and 26% smoke.
These lifestyle choices lead to alarming health statistics: men are 40% more likely to die from cancer, 70% more likely to die from heart disease and live an average of nine years of their lives in extremely poor health. In fact, 70% of men’s health problems can be prevented by adopting a healthier lifestyle.
According to the Movember Foundation men die an average six years earlier than women, four out of five suicides are men and testicular cancer is the most common cancer of young men aged 15-29. The foundation encourages men to talk with their buddies, know their PSA numbers at age 50 (and if they are of African or Caribbean descent know them at age 45) with a phrase they use: “know thy nuts.”
Read on if you are interested in improving your fertility, preventing herpes, prostate cancer or just want to have more sexual vitality.
Fertility is 50% a male problem! Sperm analysis can reveal sluggish or unhealthy sperm. Vitamin C can improve sperm motility and also prevent clumping of semen. I’ve found it useful in practice to recommend a combo which contains 500 mg vitamin C, 40 mg magnesium and 600 mg lysine per capsule. You might also be interested in Dr. Cheraskin’s book Vitamin C Who Needs It with presents some timeless knowledge. Research has also shown that vitamin C can help prevent shingles and herpes.
Where do you wear your cell phone? Right next to your testicles! Think about getting a belt holder to keep it 5/8 inch away from your body which is in the fine print of your owners manual. (Here’s another interesting read on the subject: Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation by Devra Davis.)
Foundations for Health: Men’s bodies benefit from a variety of supplements. In my practice, I recommend men consider taking daily supportive products such as selenium 200 mcg, zinc 50 mg (the prostate contains the most zinc of any human tissue), B complex 50-100 mg, essential fatty acids 3000 mg, vitamin D to serum values of 150nmol/L upwards of 5000IU’s per day. Combined, these supplements are optimal for sperm and prostate health.
Chemical Detoxification: Anyone can be exposed to heavy metals, but some professions (e.g., fire fighters, miners etc.) are often highly exposed to heavy metals or chemical environments. The long- term effects of tattooing are yet to be discovered, but as a doctor I am concerned on this issue too. A simple hair analysis is one tool to help determine heavy metal toxicity in the body, but there are other tests your doctor may recommend. Heavy metals are often cancer causing but there are simple phytonutrients to assist the liver in its detoxification processes. These include milk thistle, greens such as chlorella and cilantro, and supplements containing sulforaphane (which is the health benefit found in broccoli) are excellent to include in a daily supplement regime. Naturopathic doctors also provide easy to follow bi-annual detoxification programs. (I’ve often commented that many of my patients take better care of their cars than their bodies!)
Know your PSA Numbers: It is best for men to have their PSAs checked in their mid 40s but for certain when they turn 50 to get a baseline. The nutrients discussed abover may be preventive against prostate cancer, but it’s still useful to get tested. BPH is an enlargment of the prostate that occurs as men age. The first sign is having to urinate during the night and sometimes the stream is also affected. A saw palmetto pygeum nettle root combination can improve both of these symptoms; in my practice I’ve found that with some patients they can work as effectively as prescription medications. chaga mushrooms are a treatment of choice for prostate issues. Garlic has been studied to lower PSA levels. Talk to your ND about these issues.
Prostate Cancer: If you are being treated for prostate cancer and if your doctor is “watching and waiting” your numbers, in the meantime there are proactive steps you can take. Boswellia, curcumin and quercitin in tandem, or boswellia complex, are natural anti-inflammatories that are cancer preventive. The IGF 1 blood test will show, if results are elevated in men, that the individual is four times as likely to develop prostate cancer. There are some studies which indicate lycopene may help with lowering PSA
Erectile Dysfunction: Coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis, erectile dysfunction, metabolic syndrome and diabetes are rampant and interconnected among men and women (except of course for the ED!). Pomegranate juice, horny goat weed and panax ginseng have all been studied to be effective for ED. NDs often recommend diabetes and cardiovascular protocols in this patient population.
Testing to consider in prostate disease: Some of the most useful clinical tests your doctor may use in assessing prostate disease inclue: PSA, Free PSA, CRP, Galectin 3, IgF1, Hg A1c, PLA2, hair analysis.
Foods to Prevent Prostate Cancer: Green tea, organic soy, cooked tomatoes (lycopene), pomegranates, and broccoli, are all healthful additions in this area. The active health ingredient in broccoli, sulforaphane can be taken as a supplement. Eating cooked mushrooms such as enoki may also be cancer preventive. Garlic and related herbs such as onions, chives and leeks may also prevent prostate cancer.
Resources: Want to pursue more research? A good place to start Dr. Eric Yarnell’s article Improving Men’s Health with Botanicals. Dr. Isaac Eliaz has a website and research on pectasol and prostacaid.