Happy Men’s Health Month!
While Movember (aka November) gets a lot of the limelight these days when it comes to men’s health, June is actually the month in which we explore, shed light on, and celebrate all things men’s health.
And with good reason!
While times are definitely changing, there’s still a lot of stigma for men around admitting their physical and mental ailments, much less seeking treatment for them. Women are much more likely to talk about their issues, seek support, and explore alternative treatment than men, leading to longer lifespans and overall better health.
Every June we have an opportunity to officially shift that pattern by shedding light on what men are up against, and de-stigmatizing conversations about health. In particular, modern men face unique challenges like prostate health, adrenal fatigue, and testosterone regulation, to name a few.
With that in mind, I’ve opted to provide a broad overview in this month’s column by sharing the very best supplements men can take for their health. These seven herbs, minerals and/or vitamins each target a unique challenge to men’s health, and promote more energy, vitality, and well-being.
I actually recommend Vitamin D to all my patients. For those of us who live on the 49th parallel (or thereabouts), sun exposure is incredibly low in the winter months. Vitamin D may be useful for preventing and/or treating mental health, fatigue, diabetes, cancer, and low immunity.
Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is used by nearly all cells in the body to transform food into the energy on which the body runs. Energy-dependent tissues such as the heart and brain have especially high requirements for CoQ10.
Unfortunately, statin drugs - widely prescribed for high cholesterol and blood pressure issues, which affect more men than women - deplete the amount of CoQ10 in the body.
Supplementing with CoQ10 has also been shown to be helpful for high blood pressure, reduce the frequency of migraines amongst sufferers, and even help prevent against Parkinson’s disease.
Rhodiola belongs to a class of herbs called adaptogens, which help the body cope with stress. Rhodiola has been shown to be one of the most effective adaptogens, and may increase attention span, decrease fatigue, and improve memory.
Saw Palmetto is the fat-soluble extract of the fruit of the saw palmetto tree and has been shown to significantly diminish the signs and symptoms of BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, aka enlarged prostate.
Saw Palmetto blocks the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into DHT, the stronger and more potent form of testosterone that causes conditions like male pattern baldness and BPH.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant from the family of red, orange, and yellow fat-soluble pigments called carotenoids, best known for lending carrots their orange colour.
Lycopene is a great supplement for men with a history of prostate cancer in their family, as it’s been shown to reduce the risk of all cancers, but in particular cancer of the prostate.
The best food source of lycopene is tomatoes, but it is also present in watermelon, pink grapefruit, and guava.
Curcumin is on of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory substances available. It may be beneficial for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease as well as other brain disorders such as depression, and symptoms related to traumatic brain injuries. Curcumin has demonstrated the ability to enter the brain, bind and destroy the beta-amyloid plaques present in Alzheimer’s disease with reduced toxicity. (Journal of Alzheimer’s disease. January 2015)
This cheery fruit doesn’t just dress up a salad - it’s also a rich source of punicalagin, a potent antioxidant.
Punicalagin may inhibit colon and prostate cancer cell growth by destroying the cancer cells through a process known as apoptosis. Punicalagin may also slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting an enzyme called beta-secretase.
So that concludes my list of the 7 top supplements for men’s health. While each of these supplements targets a specific issue (or set of issues) with men’s health, I’m by no means recommend taking all seven right off the bat.
A huge part of health is empowerment - our ability to take our well-being into our own hands, as opposed to blindly following oftentimes antiquated advice and rules. For men, this can be an overwhelming task thanks to the stigma discussed earlier in this article. If you’re a man struggling with some health concerns and reading this, try having an honest look at your current state, your risk factors and your history.
From there, choose 1 or 2 supplements that you think could have a positive impact. You’d be amazed by how such a small step - for men or women, I should add - can make a world of difference to your health.