We have received many requests to discuss natural approaches to men’s health, including natural remedies for prostate health and impotency, so this post will be devoted to this important, but seldom discussed topic.
Men’s Health Issues
When compared to women, men have a shorter life span and also have a higher death rate for each of the top 10 leading causes of death. In the Men’s Health Act of 2003, Congress reported that the life expectancy gap between men and women has increased from one year in 1920 to almost six years in 2001. There are many suspected reasons for this, including diet, attention to health and willingness to take supplements.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) men only eat about four-and-a-half servings of fruits and vegetables a day on average and only 4% of men say they eat the nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day recommended as part of an active lifestyle. In addition, men are significantly less likely than women to recognize the health benefits of fruits and vegetables.
Once more, men don’t usually pay attention to their health until something is very wrong. How many times have you seen a man cringing in pain, agony on his face, only to tell you that ‘it’s nothing’ or ‘it’ll go away, just give me a few minutes’? For whatever reason, we just don’t seem to be as ‘in-touch’ with our bodies as women, and we are paying a price for it.
The supplement industry also struggles with men’s health. Women’s health care products are well understood and well marketed; after all, women make 85% of the buying decisions in most households – of course the supplement industry is going to focus on them. But the real challenge is getting the male consumer to understand the direct health benefit of a product and how easy it is to maintain his health. This newsletter will tackle two of the most important areas of concern for aging men: prostate health and sexual function.
The prostate is a male sex gland about the size of a walnut that lies below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder out through the tip of the penis. The prostate gland is responsible for secreting prostatic fluid, which is a major component of male seminal fluid that increases sperm mobility and lubricates the urethra to prevent infection.
Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the U.S. among men, accounting for 30% of all cancer cases in men. An estimated 180,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and over 30,000 will die.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is another condition affecting the prostate. BPH is a non-cancerous condition where the prostate becomes enlarged. The American Urological Association estimates that half of all men ages 50-60 and up to 90% of men over the age of 80, suffer from BPH. BPH can cause numerous symptoms, including the urge to urinate, incomplete urination, weak urine flow, pressure in the bladder (lower abdomen) and pain in the area between the rectum and the testicles (especially when sitting). Just because BPH and prostate cancer are common does not mean they are inevitable or optimal; you can do many things to minimize the risk of both and avoid all the complications that go along with them.
Diet, The Prostate and Male Sexual Health
Diet is probably the most important aspect to regain and maintain optimal overall health. There are specific things men can do to dramatically reduce disorders associated with the prostate, including:
- Eliminating caffeine (coffee, soda), nicotine (tobacco), saturated fats, fried foods and alcohol. All disrupt normal hormone balance and cause irritation/inflammation of the prostate.
- Include flaxseed in the diet. Flaxseeds contain a phytonutrient called lignans that can have a balancing effect on hormones essential for men’s health. Grind up 1-2 Tbsp of flaxseed daily (in a coffee grinder) and enjoy in smoothies, over salads, over steamed veggies or on cereal.
- Eat foods rich in key nutrients for men’s health, including zinc, essential fatty acids, vitamin A, B6, E.
- Focus on whole foods – vegetables, fruits, whole grains & legumes/beans and minimize processed or refined foods (things in a box can or package).
- Eat a handful of raw pumpkin seeds daily – pumpkin seeds contain nutrients shown to fight cancer induced prostate enlargement and are a great source of zinc, which is essential to men’s health.
- Include high quality protein in the diet, especially fish (salmon, tuna steaks, mackerel, halibut, sardines, and trout), chicken, turkey and lean cuts of beef. Make sure the meat is free-range or organic as many meat producers give animals hormones to make them bigger – these are passed on to you and can negatively influence your health.
Everybody knows that stress can have a negative impact on our overall health. However, men must be particularly careful, as stress can cause the body to secrete a hormone that can cause the prostate to grow. Every man would benefit from effective stress management and deep breathing exercises. The key is to practice, practice, practice!!
There are also many herbs that have proven effectiveness in cases of BPH and improved sexual function.
- Saw Palmetto – has been shown to reduce inflammation, pain and throbbing associated with BPH. Studies have shown that saw palmetto extracts can provide relief from symptoms of BPH comparable to standard prescription medications. Once more, medical doctors in Germany & Italy prescribe saw palmetto extracts ten times more than any synthetic drug like Hytrin, Proscar and Cordura because research indicates it is more effective, safer and less expensive than the pharmaceuticals.
- Pygeum – has been shown to reduce inflammation, swelling & diminish cholesterol in the prostate
- Tribulus – has been used to help impotency and infertility. It increases libido, improves and prolongs the duration of an erection, increases the mobility of sperm and increases the level of testosterone. Once more, there is no indication of any toxicity when used as an herb.
- Cowage seed – an extract from cowage seed called mucuna pruriens is often touted as ‘herbal viagra’ in that it improves and increases erection time. It is often used in conjunction with synergistic herbal extracts.
Taking the Guesswork Out of Supplementation
We have used the following protocols for many men concerned with prostate health:
- Wellness Essentials – Provides optimal nutrition in easy-to-use daily packets – take 2 packets daily with meals; contains a full spectrum multi-vitamin/mineral, essential fatty acids and plant based antioxidants essential for men’s health.
- Prostatrol Forte- contains standardized extracts of saw palmetto and pygeum, as well as zinc and other nutrients for overall prostate health – 1 capsule twice daily with meals
For those wishing to improve libido or sexual function, I would recommend adding:
- Tribestan – 1 tablet for every 45 lbs. of body weight. Often used for impotency, infertility and athletic performance.
As men, we have to take an honest hard look at ourselves and our health and then make concrete, proactive efforts to insure we can live the life we desire. Mother nature can certainly help, with healthy foods and herbal remedies, but it is up to us to take matters into our own hands and do what we need to do to enjoy the natural path to optimal health. Get started by making some of these dietary and lifestyle changes and use the above supplements to augment your journey along the natural path to better health.
If you are interested in any of the above supplements please contact us at The Natural Path Health Center.