Men seem to be challenged when it comes to talking about their health issues and seeking support when they need it. While the times are changing, there’s still a lot of stigma for men around admitting their physical and mental ailments, much less seeking treatment for them.
I hope to shed light on a few key issues men face to assist them in taking necessary and proactive steps for their health. Modern men face unique challenges such as prostate health and increased stress, which create adrenal fatigue, and testosterone regulation, to name a few. My husband has a very stressful job, and I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact focusing on his health can have on the quality of his life, work performance, and on our relationship. Moving into spring, a time of natural detoxification, I find this is an excellent opportunity to take stock of our health, whether you’re a man or a woman.
Below are my top recommendations for supplements that men can take to improve their health based on what’s worked for my husband as well as the vast number of men I see in my naturopathic practice. The seven herbs, minerals, and vitamins below each target a unique challenge in men’s health. These supplements will help promote Energy, vitality, and well-being.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a supplement I recommend to all of my patients, regardless of their gender. For those of us who live near the 49th parallel, sun exposure is incredibly low in the winter months. Vitamin D may be useful for preventing and treating mental health, fatigue, diabetes, cancer, and low immunity.
2. Coenzyme Q10
Unfortunately, the widely prescribed drugs for high cholesterol and blood pressure issues – which affect more men than women – deplete the amount of Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 in the body. CoQ10, is used by nearly all cells in the body to transform food into the energy on which the body runs. Energy-dependent tissues, such as the heart and brain, have exceptionally high requirements for CoQ10. Supplementing with CoQ10 may also be helpful for high blood pressure, and can reduce the frequency of migraines amongst sufferers as well as prevent various chronic health conditions.
Rhodiola belongs to a class of herbs called adaptogens, which help the body cope with stress and come back into homeostasis. Rhodiola is one of the most effective adaptogens, helping to increase attention span, boost energy, and improve memory.
4. Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto is the fat-soluble extract of the fruit of the saw palmetto tree and shown to significantly diminish the signs and symptoms of BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, aka enlarged prostate. Saw Palmetto blocks the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the stronger and more potent form of testosterone that causes conditions like male pattern baldness and BPH.
As a powerful antioxidant from the family of red, orange, and yellow fat-soluble pigments called carotenoids, lycopene is best known for giving carrots their orange colour. Lycopene is excellent for men with a family history of prostate cancer, and this powerful nutrient can help minimize the risk of all cancer, but in particular, cancer of the prostate. To get lycopene from food, tomatoes are the best source, but it is also present in watermelon, pink grapefruit, and guava.
Curcumin is one of the most potent, natural anti-inflammatory substances available. It may be beneficial for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease as well as other brain disorders such as depression, and symptoms related to traumatic brain injuries. Curcumin has demonstrated the ability to enter the brain, bind and destroy the beta-amyloid plaques present in Alzheimer’s disease with reduced toxicity.
This amazing fruit is a potent source of punicalagin, a potent antioxidant. Research suggests that punicalagin may inhibit colon and prostate cancer cell growth by destroying the cancer cells through a process known as apoptosis. Punicalagin may also slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting an enzyme called beta-secretase.
Each of these ingredients targets a specific issue (or set of issues) about men’s health; however, men don’t have to take all seven to make steps towards improving their health. Any changes must be made in a sustainable way so that compliance becomes a daily habit. A considerable part of health is the ability to take your well-being into your own hands. If you’re a man struggling with health concerns, try having an honest look at your current state, your risk factors, and family history. From there, choose one or two supplements that could have a positive impact on your well-being. Small steps can make a big difference, so focus on preventive measures and be consistent.
Article featured in Women’s Voice Magazine April 2020
Dr. Marita Schauch is the author of two books Making Sense of Women’s Health and Collagen Myths & Misconceptions. She also co-authored The Adrenal Stress Connection. In addition to her clinical practice, she lectures across North America educating people on positive lifestyle choices.