Men don’t like to go to the doctor. According to information gathered by agencies including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, men are twice as likely as women to have no regular health care provider. Seventy percent of the Americans who haven’t seen a doctor for more than five years are men.
We need to get over it, guys. In the meantime, adopting preventive strategies is one way to reduce the need for medical care. Exercise and diet are the front lines, but there’s one more tool that fits into even the busiest schedule: supplementation. Taking daily supplements is a natural, simple way to help support men’s good health.
Challenge: Prostate health
Every man should be concerned about his prostate health, and encouraging research suggests that saw palmetto may be one of the most important supplements you can take to support healthy prostate function. Studies suggest that supplementation with saw palmetto extract can support hormone metabolism in the prostate gland and prostate function. However, these results are considered inconclusive and further research is needed.
Solution: Saw palmetto extract (85-95 percent total fatty acids and sterols)
Dosage: 320 milligrams per day
Challenge: Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
Multiple studies indicate that increasing dietary magnesium levels could play a role in supporting healthy blood sugar levels already in the healthy range. Evidence suggests that there may be value in supplementation with magnesium as well as in eating magnesium-rich foods like seeds, nuts, bran, beans and spinach.
Dosage: 400 milligrams per day
Challenge: Supporting healthy blood pressure levels
Naturally boosting your levels of nitric oxide (NO) may be one solution to supporting healthy blood pressure levels already in the healthy range. When the lining of your blood vessels release NO, vessel walls relax and expand, reducing blood pressure. Nobel Prize-winning research has shown the importance of NO in cardiovascular function, and we already know that the amino acid l-arginine is the precursor to NO production and may help to support healthy blood pressure levels. In fact, in a 2011 meta-analysis of 11 clinical trials published in the American Heart Journal, scientists found that supplementing with l-arginine may support healthy systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Solution: L-arginine supplements (to naturally support nitric oxide production)
Dosage: 2-4 per day
Challenge: Heart disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death among American men. But a broad analysis of 25 clinical trials, in which researchers investigated the role of omega-3 fatty acids in the risk of cardiovascular disease, suggests that taking these fatty acids (primarily the EPA and DHA types) may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. While this research may not be conclusive, if you only take one daily supplement, it should probably be omega-3 fish oil.
Solution: 900 milligrams of combines EPA and DHA per day
Dosage: Fish oil rich in amega-3 fatty acids
Q&A: The PSA Test
Q What does the PSA test do?
A It measures the blood levels of a protein called prostate-specific antigen, or PSA. A level of less than 4 nanograms per milliliter is generally considered normal.
Q Does an elevated PSA level mean prostate cancer?
A Not necessarily. PSA levels can fluctuate. High PSA levels can also be due to an enlarged prostate or an infection of the gland. Levels often increase naturally as men age.
Q Whats the story with the 2011 recommendation against annual PSA tests?
A Last year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (which advises the government on disease prevention measures) recommended against doctors administering the test to healthy men 75 or older during routine physicals because of a risk of false positives that can lead to unnecessary treatments.
However, many doctors still recommend the test for younger patients, and men and their physicians should make the decision on a case-by-case basis.
Dr. Andrew Myers is an expert in nutrition and preventive medicine and the co-author of Health Is Wealth: 10 Power Nutrients That Increase Your Odds of Living to 100 and Health Is Wealth: Performance Nutrition. Visit his website at healthiswealth.net.