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Male patients present with most of the same symptoms that age-equivalent females do. With the passage of time, one’s maleness can catchup with a man. It has been estimated that by the age of 30, upwards of one in four men have suboptimal testosterone. This decline in testosterone at such an early age has been proposed to arise from the toxins in our environment like parabens, phthalates, herbicides and pesticides. These toxins, as well as poor sleep, dietary choices and increases in overall obesity can also become problematic for the hormone sensitive prostate.
It should be noted that a male with a higher body fat content will generally experience high conversion of testosterone to estrogen via an enzyme found throughout many tissues in the body including fat tissues called “aromatase”.
Another risk factor for males until age 50 is a higher overall free radical burden of iron. Thus, men should have their ferritin and iron levels measured every couple of years to ensure that they do not have excess iron accumulation. Men are at a higher risk of iron overload that can manifest with excess red blood cells. This arises from the fact that men have higher testosterone levels than their female counterparts; on the positive side, this contributes to a lower risk of osteoporosis and greater muscle mass.
With aging, men and women both experience drops in their sex hormones, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. Healthy adrenal glands can help buffer this drop of hormone production from testicles and ovaries.
7 Things a Guy Should Do
My advice for my male patients is simple as straight forward:
- Consume adequate protein to sustain muscle mass
- Stay lean to protect from having testosterone excessively converting to estrogen
- Ensure a blood level of vitamin D (25-OH) of at least 50, as there is a correlation between low D and low testosterone
- Provide nutritional support for your adrenals
- Get adequate sleep (a minimum of 7 hours), as low sleep can lead to lower testosterone
- Avoid body washes with parabens don’t drink out plastic bottles, do not heat food in plastic containers
- Support a healthier prostate, naturally
After following these seven guidelines, my health seeking male patients will often include the following into their daily wellness program:
Prostate Support-- A supplement with Zinc, Saw Palmetto, Pygeum and Lycopene for starters. Zinc is a mineral that places a vital role in the male reproductive tract, testosterone metabolism and prostate health. Lycopene that could, theoretically, be gotten from high veggie and fruit diet (including tomatoes), is far too low in most men’s daily routine. As I share with my patients, the key is to eat well, then “supplement with a supplement”. I’ve read studies done on both Saw Palmetto and Pygeum and have been impressed with the natural synergy of these botanicals for my male patients. The reality is that more men end up with prostate cancer than women with breast cancer. Though it has fallen out of favor, my patients get prostate blood tests, PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen), once a year and other testing.
Adrenal Support—Adrenal burnout and fatigue is all too prevalent in the Westernized world for both men and women.
For my patients trying to recharge their adrenals, the first key is to prevent excess expenditure of worry towards stresses in life. I personally use a blend of Astragalus, Licorice, Holy Basil and Ashwagandha to help me maintain a more Zen-full state. Conservation is key when supporting healthy aging.
My top herbs for male adrenal support are Maca, Ashwagandha and American Ginseng. Maca is particularly popular with men and women, as my patients report an increased sense of wellness, often improved libido and, as an adaptogenic plant, an overall sense of feeling more adaptive to life stressors. Maca has also been studied for improved male fertility as well.
In turn, American Ginseng is popular traditionally with many cultures around the world. It has been used as a stress supportive herb and studied for it specific male performance benefits when it comes to sexual function and fertility.
Often, I will have a male patient that is otherwise healthy but suffering from sub-optimal erectile performance take both American Ginseng and Ginkgo to help with circulation, once other causes including low testosterone has been explored.
Take Home Message
Guys are no more invincible than any other human walking the planet, yet I see far too few male patients in my practice until something is wrong with their body and the symptoms are troublesome. At the same man will baby his favorite car, motorcycle or tools in the garage with good preventive measures. We must use at least an equal about of effort to sustain our body, after all it is our most prized possession and, hands down, the oldest item that we own.
Dr. Chris Meletis, N.D., has 24-years of experience practicing as a Naturopathic Doctor in Portland, Oregon. He is dedicated to using his vast knowledge about alternative medicine to help his patients and generously give to those in need. He has written over a dozen books and 100's of national articles, and was named Naturopathic Physician of the Year in 2003 by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Read more about Dr. Meletis here. Or, visit our "Ask Dr. Meletis, N.D." page for additional articles.
*Statements herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or health condition. The information on this website, and provided by Dr. Chris Meletis, N.D., is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended that patients check with their doctors before taking herbs, to ensure that there are no contraindications with prescription medications. There is additional information linked within this site to HealthNotes®, a third party educational source, containing the latest research on health and supplements. Oregon's Wild Harvest will not be held accountable for this information and consider it an education reference only.