There’s a lot to focus on as a guy gets older. Aches and pains become a regular part of life. Gray hair and even baldness can start to make an appearance. But there are steps men can take to stay healthy and vibrant no matter their age. In this brief article, we’ll explore a wide range of vital nutrients men need to support a healthy cardiovascular system, prostate gland, digestive system, and brain—all key components of a healthy male body.
One in three males has some form of cardiovascular disease—and too often these cases result in death, making heart disease the #1 killer in America. That’s why it’s vital to maintain good heart health at every age.
The most important element in life is not food or water, it is none other than oxygen. Oxygen needs to be carried to every single cell in the body to produce the body’s electricity known as ATP. This critical process is reliant on the body’s cardiovascular system, more specifically its extensive blood vessel network. There are over 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the body, taking blood—including oxygen filled red blood cells—from the heart to every single cell that makes up the human body. How blood is able to flow through these massive distances is not solely based on the pressure generated by the heart, but more importantly on the elasticity of the blood vessels.
Mesoglycan is a building block of blood vessels. Taken as a supplement, it significantly reduces the arterial stiffness and swelling associated with atherosclerosis—a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries and “hardens” them, taking away their elasticity. Mesoglycan not only improves this elasticity, but also helps reduce inflammation within blood vessels (vasculitis), improving blood circulation. Mesoglycan is so effective because it produces glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which help to repair the inner walls of blood vessels, known as the endothelium. While your body already produces mesoglycan naturally, it’s smart to seek out a supplement to ensure your cardiovascular system is getting all it needs. Look for a high-quality porcine source and take at least 50 mg daily. But check with your doctor if you are already taking drugs that decrease blood clotting, such as warfarin, clopidogrel, or even aspirin.
Grape Seed Extract is a great source of heart healthy antioxidants that can help prevent artery-damaging oxidation. The secret to grape seed extract’s power comes from compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs) which help your body produce glutathione, an important antioxidant that protects DNA and strengthens immune function. In addition, studies suggest that grape seed extract lowers systolic blood pressure and heart rate, strengthens capillaries, and improves blood oxygen circulation throughout the body. It also counters venous insufficiency (a condition where veins can’t send blood from the legs back to the heart), encourages wound healing, and reduces inflammation.
A cardio-essential mineral that most men don’t get nearly enough of is magnesium. And men over 70 are most likely to have the lowest intakes of this mineral. While every organ in your body needs magnesium, the highest levels are found in the heart. Research reveals a possible link between a lower risk of coronary heart disease in men and increased magnesium intake. Magnesium not only helps regulate blood pressure, it protects the cardiovascular system from cell damage which could lead to angina and even heart attack.
Another cardiovascular foundational is an omega-3 supplement. There are thousands of studies supporting the benefits of omega-3s for heart health, and it’s something all men should take daily. Just make sure you take a high-quality omega-3 supplement that is free from chemical impurities and a fishy after taste.
For a healthy heart, supplementation is vital, but so is limiting your intake of coffee, soda, alcohol, and salt, which can undermine your levels of this key mineral.
Protect Your Prostate
If a man lives long enough, he will likely experience an enlarged prostate—technically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. In fact, an enlarged prostate occurs in about half of men age 50 and in 90 percent of men over 80. In addition, over 250,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year alone, making prostate care a priority for men of all ages. Three nutrients can provide potent prostate protection.
If you’ve got BPH, it’s likely you know the location of every bathroom in town. When the prostate is enlarged, extra pressure is put on the urethra—the tube that carries urine from the bladder and out of the body. As a result of this pressure, some urine is retained in the bladder. Because of this, those affected may often feel the need to urinate more frequently or more urgently, especially at night. However, the Icelandic herb Angelica has been clinically shown to decrease the number of nighttime trips to the toilet. It’s especially effective for sufferers with low bladder capacity.
While BPH may be inevitable, there are some natural ways to lower your risk of prostate cancer, starting with curcumin. Recent research shows that curcumin can slow prostate tumor growth by inhibiting cell tissue growth. Curcumin also reduces the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which results in fewer cases of the cancer spreading to other organs. But since curcumin is poorly absorbed by the body, it’s critical to look for a more bioavailable form of the supplement, like BCM-95 curcumin, to ensure you are getting all its benefits.
Pomegranate seed extract is another powerful nutrient in the arsenal against prostate cancer. Preliminary studies suggest that pomegranate seed may slow the rate at which prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels double, especially after surgery or radiation treatment. Pomegranate seed extract may also encourage cancer cell death—a process known as apoptosis.
Building a Good Gut
You may not give your digestive tract a lot of thought—until something goes wrong. When it does, it can manifest as a fleeting case of nausea or heartburn, or as a chronic ailment like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. One common culprit undermining digestive health is systemic inflammation, often triggered by today’s Standard American Diet (SAD) which is low in fiber and nutrients, and high in pro-inflammatory sugar, unhealthy fats, and chemical additives. But two targeted anti-inflammatory herbs can fortify your gastrointestinal tract and ease symptoms.
Boswellia is a natural anti-inflammatory used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to soothe digestive woes. Clinical trials have shown beneficial results when using boswellia in the treatment of a number of chronic inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Supplemental boswellia was also found to inhibit 5-lipoxygenase, a key enzyme that contributes to the inflammation in colitis, thanks to a compound called acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA). But not all boswellia supplements are beneficial. Unstandardized boswellia supplements may contain high amounts of a pro-inflammatory compound called beta-boswellic acid that interferes with the herb’s anti-inflammatory benefits. Some supplements also contain as little as 1 percent AKBA. To get the most benefit from your boswellia, look for a supplement that includes a proprietary form of boswellia known as BosPure, which is standardized to contain a minimum of 10 percent AKBA.
Many men, especially as they age, often experience two other ailments rooted in inflammation—heartburn and stomach ulcer. And too often, they rely on prescription and over-the-counter remedies like ranitidine and famotidine to get them through the discomfort of these digestive issues. However, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL, may help relieve the symptoms of indigestion or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), as well as ongoing inflammation of the lining of the stomach (chronic gastritis). It’s also been effectively used in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers. While most DGL supplements come as chewables, the strong licorice taste can be off-putting. Opt instead to get relief via a capsule that has been standardized to contain 3.5% glabridin—the healing component in DGL.
Even if you’ve been lucky enough to sidestep these common digestive problems, taking proactive measures is still a smart move. Perhaps the most popular way to support overall digestive health is with probiotics. These benevolent bacteria help to guard your body against an array of digestive disorders such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease. For optimal digestive health, choose a supplement that contains Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum—all of which aid the intestines in curbing diarrhea, fighting off bacterial infections, maintaining intestinal permeability, and suppressing the growth of gas-producing bacteria. Most importantly, these probiotics help with proper food digestion and the absorption of vitamins and minerals.