By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy
June is Men’s Health Month, and in 2020 enhancing health and well-being is likely on the mind of all genders. One valuable addition men (and women!) can make to their daily health regimen is including daily vitamin and mineral supplements that function as both regulators and inhibitors and play an important role in hundreds of different bodily functions.
With approximately 75% of today’s typical Western Diet comprised of processed foods, meat and carbohydrates, daily vitamin and supplement requirements essential to keeping our bodies healthy are likely not being met. Factors which increase nutrient deficiency include declining levels of nutrients in our soils, increase in chronic diseases that influence nutrient needs and prescription medications causing certain key vitamin and mineral depletions like statin drugs and CoQ10, for example.
Consequently, even when consuming fruits and vegetables in recommended daily amounts, our diets fail to deliver the nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. Unexplained lethargy, depression or change in weight may be an indication that you are not acquiring the needed nutrition to stay both mentally and physically healthy.
Even short-term vitamin deficiencies can result in many unhealthy outcomes, including softened bones, muscle weakness and nerve damage. Long-term deficiencies, meanwhile, can lead to inflammation, weakened bodies and increased risk of chronic illnesses including cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and cancer. Neurological issues, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, are also tied to diets lacking in vitamins and minerals over time. Vitamins A, B complex, C, E and K are all vitamins the human body needs to thrive.
To make it more complicated, vitamin and supplement needs will shift with hormone and lifestyle changes. After the age of 40, vitamin A and beta-carotene help vision stay strong. Magnesium, vitamin D and Omega 3s are recommended for men in their 40s to reduce the chances of heart disease. Testosterone levels that fluctuate as men age play a critical part in bone density, fat distribution, facial hair, sex drive, sperm count and muscle strength. Vitamin D, D-aspartic acid, zinc, L-arginine, and nitric oxide can successfully boost testosterone.
A study from the University of Southern Denmark showed young men who take fish oil supplements appear to have better sperm quality and high testosterone levels, factors that can lead to overall improved fertility.
Particularly of interest to men as they age are supplements supporting prostate health. Saw palmetto facilitates healthy testosterone metabolism, while nettle root maintains healthy hormone metabolism in prostate cells. Zinc, pygeum africanum and pumpkin seed oil also aid healthy prostate gland and urinary tract function.
Some supplements will interact with medications or have unwanted side effects if not taken in the proper dosage, so it’s important to consult your pharmacist to develop tailored supplement regimens to help achieve personal goals. In addition, not all supplements are created equal, so quality matters. All dietary supplements should come with a Supplement Facts label, which lists all the active ingredients, as well as the serving size. It is vitally important to purchase only pharmaceutical-grade supplements that are manufactured under strict quality control GMP (good manufacturing practices) and validated by independent third-party laboratories for purity and potency.