Facts on Men’s Vitality

Men’s Health

Facts on Men's VitalityMen have a reputation for neglecting their general medical well-being; in particular, avoiding  doctors about sensitive health matters because it makes them feel vulnerable. Men tend to soldier on until small health complaints develop into a serious and advanced stages, or until they are urged by their partners to see a health professional.

As we know, men and women have unique health concerns due to differences in genetic, biological, psychological, economical, behavioral and social factors. Most men simply take a more carefree attitude to their diet and exercise routine, which can lead to weight problems and have adverse effects on health and quality of life.

Men in Australia and New Zealand enjoy a longer life expectancy than men in most other countries in the world, yet on average, they have a shorter life expectancy than women. Almost 80% of men admitted to having a health condition including being overweight, stress and depression, erectile dysfunction, heart and prostate problems. Among all age groups, men experience higher mortality rates than women in suicide, accidents and injury and as men age, they have higher mortality rates for cancers, diabetes, and diseases of the circulatory system. The leading causes of death in men are heart disease, lung and prostate cancer, and stroke.

The Six-Pack ABS:

The symbolic image of an ancient Greek athlete represents strength, empowerment and the epitome of physique beauty. Many modern men are fixated with the masculinity that six-pack abs and a ripped body hold, yet with fitness centres popping up everywhere, there is still a growing proportion of males (68%) who are overweight or obese. Moderate obesity reduces lifespan by two to four years and severe obesity by eight to ten years.

Muscle loss is a significant feature of ageing and a sedentary lifestyle. Accompanying the loss of muscle mass is the increase of fat mass, as well as losses in muscle strength and function, protein synthesis rates, and anabolic and sex hormone production.

Having six-pack  abs does more than simply looking attractive. A good exercise regime that incorporates resistance training, either alone or in combination with certain nutritional supplements, helps to develop lean muscle mass; improves muscular and cardio-respiratory fitness; improves insulin sensitivity, decreases depression and sexual dysfunction; prevents metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease assists in weight management; and ultimately brings vitality to everyday living.

Ensuring an adequate intake level of high-quality protein everyday is critical to support muscle growth and to prevent muscle loss. A nutritionally balanced protein shake offers a great alternative as a source of protein.

Canaries in the coal mine:

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects 30-50% of men over 40 years of age. Its physiological process is influenced by multiple factors including psychological, neurological, metaolic, reduced circulation, medication use, or hormonal abnormalities.

ED, dubbed as the “canaries of the coal mine”, can be an early sign for coronary artery disease and may occur years before a man has his heart attack. Acknowledging ED’s link to cardiovascular disease could lead men to take steps to prevent ED that also protects them against heart disease.

Man’s best buddies:

Saw Palmetto extract from the berry of dwarf palm tree Serenoa repens has been described as a man’s best friend. It is a natural herb used in traditional medicine for treating urogenital irritations, impotence and male infertility. Recent scientific evidence has emerged to support its use as an effective treatment for stage 1 and 2 of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Treatment using palmetto was associated with reduction in prostate symptoms, significant improvement in peak urinary flow rate, and reduction nocturia.

Korean Ginseng is a herbal remedy that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and is considered to be the most potent Qi or energy tonic to restore vitality. Ginseng refers to man (gin) and essence (seng) in Chinese.

Korean ginseng is a potent adaptogen that increases the body’s resistance to physical, emotional, mental or external stressors. It exerts effects on the body’s ability to respond to stress and to improve fatigue. Korean ginseng has been shown to improve vascular endothelial function in patients why hypertension, as well as improve mental health and social functioning after four weeks therapy. A relatively large amount of clinical data supports the use of Korean ginseng for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Combination supplementation of ginseng with ginkgo extracts has been found to improve circulation and lower blood pressure.

Gingko Biloba has been used medicinally for decades to treat circulatoty disorders, dementia, memory enhancement, vertigo, and tinnitus. Ginkgo promotes vasodilation and improves blood flow through arteries, veins and capillaries. Due to its vasodilatory effects, ginkgo has been used to treat sexual dysfunction in cases where circulation was compromised, and where sexual impairment was caused by antidepressant drugs.

Lycopene, the red pigment found most abundantly in tomatoes, is a carotenoid and potent antioxidant that is present at high levels in human serum, liver, adrenal glands, lungs and prostate.

Lycopene plays a significant role in protecting the spam from oxidative stress. Clinical trials have shown that lycopene supplementation improved sperm concentration, mobility and morphology, therefore may play a role in management of male infertility. Clinical evidence also showed that lycopene supplementation inhibited progression of BPH and ameliorated symptoms in BPH patients, suggesting that lycopene supplementation may assist in the long-term management prostate health.

Article by Sheila Zhou, thanks to Health Essentials issue 6, 2011

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