Men_Health_Issues_Cover image

How to Please Your Woman

Be Healthy!!!  Unfortunately, this is more easily said than done.

Few men (or women) are aware that there is a silent crisis in men’s health. Most people know that, on average, men are unlikely to outlive women.

What is not known is that this age gap has been growing steadily over the years.

In 1920, the life expectancy of males and females was roughly the same. (Men lived an average of 54 years; women, 55.)

Since that time, the life expectancy for men has dropped increasingly in comparison.

Right now, a man’s life expectancy is over 10 percent shorter than a woman’s.

According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the average life expectancy for the majority of American men is 71 years while that of women is 78 years.

 

 

Men_Health_Issues_Cover image

Topic: MEN’S HEALTH

Heavy drinking in college may harm the heart.    In a new study, students drinking to excess had too high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a blood marker for systemic inflammation long linked to heart disease. Other studies suggest that patients with elevated CRP are more likely to suffer from heart attack or stroke, and are also less likely to survive them.

How to

Please

Your Woman

Look inside and learn the secret all

loving women want their men to know….

Be Healthy!!!

Unfortunately, this is more easily said than done. 

Few men (or women) are aware that there is a silent crisis in men’s health. Most people know that, on average, men are unlikely to outlive women. What is not known is that this age gap has been growing steadily over the years.

In 1920, the life expectancy of males and females was roughly the same. (Men lived an average of 54 years; women, 55.) Since that time, the life expectancy for men has dropped increasingly in comparison. Right now, a man’s life expectancy is over 10 percent shorter than a woman’s. According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the average life expectancy for the majority of American men is 71 years while that of women is 78 years.

Hey, Men, Here’s Your Wake Up Call

Over the last thirty years, the ratio of male death to female death has increased in every age category. Why? It’s been found that men are more likely to engage in unhealthy behavior and less likely than women to adopt preventive health measures. They are less likely to have health insurance, more likely to work in dangerous occupations, and they frequently postpone necessary visits to the doctor. One study found that 40 percent of men wait several days to seek help if something is bothering them and 17 percent wait a week.

In short, due to lack of awareness, poor health education, and culturally induced behavior patterns in their work and personal lives, men are suffering from steadily deteriorating health and well-being. This is the “what’s so” about men’s health. It isn’t personal — except as far as it describes your life and attitudes. It’s time to take charge of your health.

That’s why this issue of Nutrition News can serve as a primer about men’s health — from head to toe!

Heads Up!

From memory-loss to loss of libido, lowered levels of testosterone may be the cause. While women deal with decreasing estrogen levels, men experience a decrease in testosterone. Research shows that by the time men reach 60, they typically produce 60 percent less testosterone than they did at age 20. This condition of low testosterone, referred to as hypogonadism, is also the basis of male menopause or andropause.

For men, this stage of life is not related to loss of fertility (as is menopause for women). But, similar to women and estrogen, the loss of testosterone can affect sexuality. Because hormones regulate many body systems and functions, decreased testosterone marks the potential for a number of age-related conditions. Besides memory-loss and loss of libido, these can include fatigue, depression, and dementia. It can contribute to osteoporosis (bone-loss), frailty, falls, and circulatory problems, including increased risk of heart disease. It can also be the basis for the onset of midlife migraines. We touch on some of these conditions in this issue.

Preventive actions for male hormone-loss can include nutrition, exercise, weight-management, and, in some cases, hormone replacement.

You Gotta Have Heart

Nearly a half million men die of cardiovascular disease each year. In fact, if you are over 40, your risk of heart attack or stroke is 1-in-2! Cardiovascular disease is a blanket term that includes three major types of diseases of the heart and blood vessels: hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary heart disease, and stroke. Over 32 million American men have one or more of these conditions. The resulting mortality rate is higher than that of cancer, lung disease, accidents, and diabetes combined!

Primary risk factors include family history of any and all cardiovascular-related conditions, obesity, sedentary lifestyle habits, poor diet, high cholesterol, smoking, high blood-pressure, high-stress, too much alcohol (i.e., more than two drinks per day), diabetes, and age (if you’re 45 or older, you may be at risk).

There’s no argument that nothing can be done about age, ethnicity, or family background. On the other hand, a number of healthy actions are related to the other risk factors. For starters, you can take on the Healthy Living Guidelines on the next page. Brush and floss your teeth regularly. (Research suggests there’s a connection between the inflammation of gum disease and an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.) Get a regular physical, and while you’re there, be sure your doctor checks your blood pressure and orders a blood fat profile. Last, consider adding the supplements for specific conditions discussed herein as they apply to you.

Supplement Your Heart

Co-enzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance used throughout the body, but its highest concentrations can be found in the liver and the heart muscle. Research on CoQ10 has demonstrated that it can strengthen the heart and improve cardiovascular health, including lowering high blood pressure.

In a six-year study at the University of Texas, congestive heart failure patients who took CoQ10 in addition to their prescribed therapy had a 75 percent survival rate after three years as compared with a 25 percent survival rate among patients given conventional therapy alone.

CoQ10 also improves circulation, stimulates immune function, provides anti-aging benefits, oxygenates the tissues, and may protect against periodontal disease, diabetes, asthma, respiratory diseases, allergies, obesity, ulcers, and perhaps Alzheimer’s disease.

A new form of CoQ is now available. This form is called ubiquinol while the form most widely used now is ubiquinone. The new CoQ10 has unprecedented bioavailability, demonstrating blood levels eight times higher than the same dose of ordinary CoQ. 

Another substance that you are going to hearing more about is nitric oxide, or NO (chemical name). NO is manufactured naturally by your body. However, increased by supplementation, it amps up heart support in four ways: 1) lowers cholesterol up to 20 percent; 2) reduces arterial plaque as much as 50 percent; 3) relaxes the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure; and 4) controls clumping of blood cells. Your body produces more nitric oxide when you supply it with two amino acids: L-arginine and L-citrulline. Arginine supplies the NO while citrulline enhances uptake. Incidentally, NO also promotes both potency and brain power. Current recommendations are 3 grams of each amino acid taken 2x/d.

Niacin, the well-known B vitamin, is regaining its former popularity as an effective and economical means of lowering cholesterol. In fact, William Davis, MD, states, “Niacin is the closest thing we have to a perfect treatment that corrects most causes of coronary heart disease.”1

1 For an extended discussion about using niacin safely and effectively, see Davis’s column “Ask the Doctor” in Life Extension, March 2007.

Sidebar:

Consider taking on these Healthy Living Guidelines: 

• Eat a varied diet low in (bad) fat and high in fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Don’t forget your healthy fats and essential oils!

• Exercise regularly.

• Maintain a healthy weight.

• Drink at LEAST eight 8-ounce glasses of purified water every day.

• Don’t smoke. Quit if you do and stay away from second-hand smoke.

• See you doctor regularly and know your family history to discuss with him/her.

• Practice safe sex.

• Manage your stress and get help if you need it.

• Supplement your health! Start with a high quality multi-vitamin and mineral and, as always, Nutrition News recommends additional vitamins C, E and D; additional calcium and magnesium, an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, and an adaptogen. 

Watch for targeted supplement recommendations at the end of each topic.

Diabetes Is A Downer! 

Over 18 million Americans have diabetes, and another 40 million have higher-than-normal glucose levels, predisposing them for the diagnosis. (The latter is often defined as “Metabolic Syndrome X”.) Diabetes affects your body’s ability to utilize food properly. Much of what we eat is broken down into sugar molecules called glucose. Glucose is transported to our cells to act as fuel. The hormone insulin (secreted by the pancreas gland) permits glucose to enter the cells, providing the energy to keep them functioning.

Diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce sufficient insulin to take the glucose out of the bloodstream or when the cells don’t respond to the insulin (called insulin resistance). The result is an excess of sugar in the blood. In turn, this causes damage to every major body system. There are two major kinds diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Here, we are interested in type 2 which accounts for 90-95 percent of cases. It is characterized by the inability of the cells to respond to insulin. It is most common in those who are overweight and over 40. Unfortunately, as our children become increasingly overweight and out of shape, an unprecedented number are being diagnosed with the disease.

Diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and amputation. Since it can be so dangerous, if you are overweight, see your doctor. Only that professional can in diagnose the disease and prescribe treatment. In truth, however, 90 percent of the time, you can prevent diabetes altogether by following the guidelines we’ve emphasized. 

Supplements For Diabetes

Basic supplementation for diabetes aligns with our general recommendations. In addition, there are a number of target nutrients and herbs that have a positive effect on restoring health for those with diabetes. In smaller amounts, these supplements support prevention. Many are antioxidants. Besides vitamins C and E and the mineral selenium, the metabolites N-acetyl cysteine, a-lipoic acid and benfotiamine (a vitamin B1 derivative) offer very strong antioxidant protection. Additionally, scientific documentation shows that grape seed, pine bark, bilberry mulberry, and touchi (from soy) extracts are all effective in preventing and even reversing some kinds of damage from diabetes. Research shows that cinnamon, the common spice, is useful in enhancing insulin sensitivity.2  If you have diabetes and are taking medication, consult with your doctor before adding dietary supplements.

2 Nutrition News has published an indepth 3-part series on diabetes. It includes an overview of the disease, appropriate diet, and supplements. A fourth issue (“Get a Move On!”) covers fitness. The set is available for $10.

Getting to the Bottom of Prostate Health

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland, sitting between the bladder and the anus. Most of the time, it is easy to ignore. However, when it demands attention, it is typically because something has gone wrong. The three most common prostate illnesses are 1) benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, also known as enlarged prostate); 2) prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate); and 3) prostate cancer. All three are characterized by a frequent need to urinate. Since prostate illness can be serious, men who are experiencing urinary problems are strongly urged to consult a physician for a professional diagnosis and treatment plan. For a more thorough examination of the prostate and its associated conditions, please refer to Nutrition News, “The Seat of Masculinity”.

Supplements for the Prostate

Products combining saw palmetto, pygeum, and nettle extracts help reduce inflammation of the prostate. An added benefit is that saw palmetto helps men of all ages maintain their sexual vigor.

Lycopene is another important nutrient for the prostate. Lycopene is the red carotenoid in tomatoes. One six year study of the diets of nearly 48,000 men revealed that of the 46 fruits or vegetables monitored, only tomatoes were associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes (as in marinara sauce and catsup) are the most effective. Other food sources of lycopene include watermelon, pink grapefruit, apricots and pink guavas. Many supplement formulas for men now contain lycopene as well. 

Isoflavones (found in beans) and indole-3-carbinole (from cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli) have been found to help protect the prostate with their hormone-modulating effects. (See sidebar on pomegranate juice.)

Man, Alive!

Our discussion on the prostate is related to sexual health, but doesn’t hit it head on. At a time when the use of Viagra-type drugs is more and more common, it is clear that virility is a significant issue affecting men’s health. Impotency can include the loss of libido, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and the inability to achieve orgasm. As a result, self esteem can be negatively affected, even leading to depression.

It is crucial to understand that these conditions are often simply symptoms of poor health. Related health concerns include vascular disease (such as diabetes and heart disease); high cholesterol; endocrine disorders (particularly underactive thyroid or pituitary function); neurological conditions (such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis); surgery in the genital area; prolonged stress; low testosterone levels; and zinc deficiency.

Supplement Your Sexual Health

As mentioned, saw palmetto is great for your prostate and your sexual health. Also, Vitamin E has long been known for enhancing sexual vitality. Disorders of the reproductive system, including impotency, can be caused by a deficiency of this vitamin. However, zinc is the men’s supplement.

Zinc appears to be the single most important nutrient to the overall health of the male reproductive system. It is important for the formation of active sperm in all male mammals. It can increase sperm counts and normalize testosterone production in zinc deficient men. Found in both seminal fluid and in insulin, it is necessary for the normal functioning of the prostate and the pancreas glands. It helps in the production of glycogen, the energy substance stored by the liver and the muscles.

The RDA for zinc is 15 mg. Research over short periods of time (several months) rarely exceeds twice this amount. Zinc is found in oysters, wheatgerm, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, onions, and beans.

There are also “potency plants”. Research shows that horny goat weed has activities similar to the sex hormones. Yohimbe is used to attain firm erections, and has been used as an aphrodisiac in folk medicine.

Several adaptogens invigorate the brain and stimulate the nervous system.3 The best known of these is panax ginseng, used by millions of men (for thousands of years) to enhance libido and sexual vigor. In an erectile dysfunction study, men who took ginseng had a 42 percent improvement in erectile function compared to the placebo.

3  Adaptogens are tonic herbs that help the body deal with stress. They are typically taken over longer periods of time (months or years) to help exert a stabilizing influence on the body. Adaptogenic herbs include Asian ginseng, American ginseng, eleuthero, ashwaganda, astragalus, schisandra, maca, and medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, maitake and shiitake. See Nutrition News, “Balance in a Bottle”.

Sidebar:

Pomegranate for the Prostate 

Pomegranate juice may help fight prostate cancer, the most common malignancy in American men. In a UCLA study, 46 men with recurrent prostate cancer drank 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily over two years and received periodic PSA, Prostate Specific Antigen, testing. (The faster PSA doubles after treatment, the higher the risk of dying from the cancer.) At the start of the study, PSA doubling time was 15 months, but by the end, it had slowed to 54 months — a much reduced risk of the disease spreading. Previous studies in mice showed the juice can actually shrink prostate tumors. Additional human trials are underway.

References

• Jones, M. (Spring 2007). Bottom Line Health. Nobel Prize Winner’s Breakthrough….

• Khalsa, S. (June 1992). Nutrition News. Virility/Senility.

• Khalsa, S. (June 1999). Nutrition News. Man, Oh Man!.

• Khalsa, S. (June 2000). Nutrition News. The Seat of Masculinity.

• Kilham, C. (2004). Ask the Medicine Hunter. Improving Sexual Performance Naturally.

• Puotinen, CJ. (June 2004). Taste for Life. Top Supplements for Men, pp. 38-40.

• Staff. (March 2007). Consumer Reports on Health. Pomegranate for prostate protection, p. 10. 

 

Online Retrievals

• Brott, A. Blueprint for Men’s Health: A Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle. Retrieved April 27, 2007 from                              http://www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/Blueprint.pdf.

• Information on nitric acid and testosterone. Retrieved May 9, 2007 from http://www.lef.org. 

• MH BLOG. Excessive drinking in college students…. (dated April 28, 2007). Retrieved May 9, 2007 from http://www.menshealth.com.

Siri Khalsa, Editor in Chief    Editorial Staff: Lisa Devine, Tami Glatz, Laura Klure

Nutrition News „ 2007 VOL XXXI, No. 6