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Men's Health


Men's Health Product Categories:


Men's Health Information:

Are you an athlete or a weekend warrior? Do you sport a shark's logo on your polo shirt?

As men mature, our nutritional needs change slightly. Everyone should eat a healthy varied (or balanced) diet, drink plenty of water, and take a multivitamin and mineral supplement.

Major health concerns for men include: prostate health, sexual function and stamina, heart health and circulation, and athletics. Also, the risk and prevalence of osteoarthritis increase with age, and we recommend you refer to arthritis and bone health section for details.

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Cardiovascular Health
As a man ages he is subject to several conditions that can affect his health. Far and away the most common cause of poor health in the aging man is that of cardiovascular disease, be it heart attack or stroke. Cardiovascular Health discusses antioxidants, healthy blood vessels, cholesterol and homocysteine levels. CoenzymeQ10, antioxidants such as grape seed extract, garlic, Vitamin E, blood vessel enhancers such as Vitamin C, bioflavonoids and Pycnogenol ™ are discussed in Cardiovascular Health, as well as nutrients such as fish oil, garlic, and fiber that promote healthy cholesterol levels.

Recommended Reading: The Sinatra Solution: New Hope for Preventing and Treating Heart Disease by Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C.

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Cancer
The second leading cause of death is that of cancer. In large part, this may be due to the oxidative stress that our bodies are under, and the inability of our diets to provide us with enough antioxidants to combat these effects. Of particular concern to men, prostate cancer seems to be on the rise. The cause of this is uncertain. Part of it may be related to earlier diagnosis. There is a clear correlation with aging. The following topics are discussed in Cancer: symptoms, treatment, prevention, and diet. This section also discusses specific cancers -- lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer -- and how they are influenced by vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements.

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Prostate Health
The prostate is a walnut-size gland located just below the bladder and surrounding the urethra. This tiny gland often goes unnoticed for years - but sometimes it becomes impossible to ignore. That's why it is so important for men to get regular prostate exams and PSA tests. Prostate enlargement, the most common prostate concern, is often signaled by frequent nighttime urination, difficulty urination and uncomfortable urination.

As men age, a potent form of the male hormone testosterone, called DHT, may begin to accumulate within the prostate. The buildup of DHT is thought to contribute to an overproduction of prostate cells, which can then lead to prostate enlargement, putting pressure on the urethra and interfering with normal urinary function.

Prostatic enlargement known as BPH (Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy) also increases with advancing age. BPH has been reported in over 90% of men over the age of 85, although it is relatively uncommon before the age of 35. BPH is in large part related to hormonal changes that occur with aging which relates to male hormonal function (androgens). Significant BPH can lead to obstruction of urinary function and potential renal failure if untreated. Nutrients that appear to have some benefit with BPH include:1

  • Zinc (45 - 60 mg daily)
  • Saw Palmetto extract (standardized to contain 85% - 90% fatty acids and sterols, 160 mg twice daily)
  • Selenium 200 mcg daily was shown in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December 1996 to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer by 63% in a placebo-controlled group.
  • Quercetin Is Promising for Chronic Prostatitis

Four alternatives to using saw palmetto for BPH treatment are available:2

  • Balloon dilation–The doctor threads a balloon-tipped catheter into the urethra (penis) to the point of blockage and inflates the balloon, stretching the urethra and allowing increased urine flow.
  • Surgery–The most common technique and presently most effective, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) removes excess prostate tissue with a special instrument inserted into the urethra. Two other methods may he used: transurethral incision of the prostate and open prostatectomy. A new surgical method using lasers is undergoing clinical trials. Other alternative treatments also are under study, such as the use of microwaves to heat and destroy prostatic tissue and the use of metallic stents to open the urethra.
  • Alpha blockers–These oral medications help relax prostate muscles, easing pressure on the urethra. FDA has approved only one alpha blocker for BPH–Hytrin (terazosin).
  • Proscar (finasteride)–This oral drug reduces male hormone levels in the prostate and can shrink the gland. Side effects include impotence and reduced sex drive. NIH is conducting a five-year trial that began in 1995 that will study the effects of Proscar and the drug Cardura (doxazosin) on BPH.

It is vitally important to maintain adequate amounts of vitamins and antioxidants in addition to the above mentioned nutrients. B vitamins are important to decrease levels of homocysteine, which has been linked to heart attack and stroke. Antioxidants are important to combat the diseases of aging, to minimize oxidation of cholesterol (which can lead to heart attack) and to maintain proper immune function.

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Sexual Function and Stamina
While a number of men affected by poor erectile function increases dramatically with age, aging is not a direct cause of loss of function. In fact, healthy men are physically capable of maintaining their ability to perform sexually well into their 80s.

The majority of all cases of sexual dysfunction over the age of 50 are linked directly to physical health, including something as simple as poor circulation. Without adequate blood flow to and from the penis, it is impossible to achieve an erection. Luckily, certain time-tested herbs can help improve circulation to erectile tissue and promote healthy male performance. Primary herbs are:

  • Ginkgo Biloba - is clinically proven to increase circulation to all parts of the body. And circulation is the key to performance.
  • Oriental (Panax) ginseng - supports physical stamina and has long been used to support male sexual health.

Newly published study results, as detailed in The Hardness Factor, by Steven Lamm, MD, show a combination of L-Arginine and Pine Bark Extract to be effective for the improvement of erectile function.

Many other natural herb substances support male health and vitality. One of these is damiana. The first reports of damiana's use as an aphrodisiac date back to the ancient Mayans. Nowadays, damiana continues to be used for its properties as a sexual stimulant. Damiana has been called one of the most popular and safest of all plants claimed to have an aphrodisiac effect. It also has one of the strongest reputations (for several hundred years) for building enhanced sexual activity.

Gotu kola is an herb which improves blood flow to organs. It builds mental stamina and increases alertness. The gotu kola plant was used extensively in India to improve memory and longevity .3

Hawthorn berries have a strong effect on dilating the blood vessels, lowering the resistance to blood flow. They have an anabolic, or building effect, on metabolic processes, leading to decreased demands for oxygen and energy. Unlike Viagra, which increases the need for oxygen, hawthorn berries have an oxygen-saving effect on the heart tissue under stress.

The effect of the herb yohimbe on erectile dysfunction is attributed to a dilation of blood vessels in the sexual organs, and also to increased reflex excitability in the spinal cord. It has been shown in several double-blind clinical trials to improve erectile dysfunction, whether physical or psychological, being successful in up to 43% of cases. Yohimbine, while responsible for most of the pharmacological action of yohimbe, is also responsible for most of the side effects when used as an extract or in large concentration. Yohimbe's characteristics as an herb can be optimized by using small amounts of the herb together with other synergistic, energy-producing herbs which maximize the herb's potential.

All of the above herbs can be used to support male health and erectile function, without the drastic side effects of Viagra.

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Stress
Stress can take its toll on your body's energy and endurance levels. However, centuries-old herbs can help keep your body balanced for extra mental stamina and energy. Panax ginseng can help your body cope with the effects of stress and help you maintain your stamina. Ginseng is an adaptogen, meaning that dependent on your need, it can have either a mood enhancing or calming effect - to help your body return to a normal state

Other herbs with a calming effect include kava kava, valerian, and St. John's Wort.

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References

  1. Henkel J. Prostate Cancer: New Tests Create Treatment Dilemmas. FDA Consumer; December, 1994
  2. Henkel J. Prostate Cancer: No One Answer for Testing or Treatment. FDA Consumer, Sept-Oct, 1998.
  3. Chopra RN. Indigenous Drugs of India. Arts Press, Calcutta, India. 1933
  4. Journal of Urology 1989

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