Top Health Issues for Men
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the top health issues that impact men have not changed much over the years. Proactive men are still concerned with supporting healthy heart, prostate, immunity, blood sugar balance, brain, and mental/emotional health.
Of all of these issues, two that stand out are heart health and mental health, which the CDC says often go hand in hand. “Nearly 1 in 10 men say they feel some depression and anxiety every day,” the CDC reports, “and almost 1 in 3 have gone through a period of major depression at some point in their lives.”
There are several interesting connections between mental health and heart health. Although common symptoms of depression affect everyone, such as loss of motivation for self care and trouble sleeping, the CDC highlights some symptoms men may experience differently than women including:
- Feeling angry
- Acting aggressively
- Abusing drugs and/or alcohol
These very same symptoms can negatively impact heart health. What’s worse, is that many men delay getting help for their mental/emotional health issues, which can make physical health issues progressively worse. The good news is that when healthcare providers support mental health issues in clinical practice, physical wellbeing, including heart health, is also supported in the process.
From an integrative standpoint, in addition to discussing diet, limiting alcohol and lifestyle factors such as exercise and stress management, there are also several key nutrients that can help men cope with stress while supporting their mental and physical health. Many men may balk at taking a lot of different supplements, and think a multivitamin is enough. But it’s great when practitioners can use supplements that serve more than one purpose.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to support heart health, brain health, immunity, and mood and are an important foundational supplement for men’s health.*
Given the connection between the brain and the gut and the gut and immunity and healthy inflammation, another great multipurpose supplement for men is probiotics. Research has been clear that healthy GI microbial balance supports healthy immunity and inflammation. In addition, new research is also showing that supporting the microbiome can have a positive impact on mood.*
L-theanine is another great example. In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, L-theanine (Suntheanine brand) was used in a cross-over, randomized, placebo-controlled trial featuring eight men and eight women. In this study L-theanine was shown to support healthy blood pressure, mental calm, attention, memory and cognition.*
Less well known is Honokial, a bioactive ingredient from Magnolia, which targets the neurotransmitter receptor GABAA to help support relaxation, healthy mood and restful sleep.* Like L-theanine, honokial can be used during the day without drowsiness, to support mental and emotional calm and wellbeing.* From a 2013 review in Frontiers in Neurology, “Honokiol is a poly-phenolic compound that exerts neuroprotective properties through a variety of mechanisms.”* Honokial also supports cellular health, again, serving more than one purpose.*
For some, being a man still means working through the pain, suffering in silence, practicing unhealthy habits and only “fixing what’s broken”. While admitting the need for help, whether physical or emotional, can still be difficult for some men, more and more are understanding the value of preventive care and seeking help and education from integrative practitioners. There is a societal value in a truly holistic healthcare model which caters to men’s specific needs.
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Woodbury A,Ping Yu S, Wei L, García P. Front Neurol. 2013; 4: 130.