The path to having male patients achieve optimum health may seem like a daunting task, but with the proper set of solutions, it can be done.
Men’s health encompasses a broad spectrum of topics, but one detail is for certain: its importance cannot go unnoticed.
According to a 2015 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.4 percent of men age 18 and older are considered to be in fair or poor health. This sentiment could be due to a variety of different contributing factors, such as percentage of men of the same age who currently smoke cigarettes (16.7 in 2015) or those ages 20 and above who are considered obese with a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30.0 (34.5 percent from 2011-2014).
Although some issues may be hereditary, being aware of male patients’ common illnesses and ways to properly treat them can go a long way in both extending and making their lives more enjoyable.
While these issues do not necessarily take place due to one particular cause, many may argue that those illnesses relevant to the male composition are somewhat more popular.
“When people hear the phrase ‘men’s health,’ the conditions specific to male biology often come to mind first,” said Beth Baldwin-Lien, ND, director of medical affairs and education with Vital Nutrients in Connecticut. “For instance, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men 15-34 years of age, while erectile dysfunction (ED), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer increase in prevalence with age. BPH and prostate cancer are rare in men younger than 40, but the incidence rises markedly after age 50. About six in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65.
“In addition to age itself, metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes are all recognized risk factors for BPH as well as ED, which may contribute to the increasing incidence in the later decades of life,” she continued.
The word “metabolic,” which entails “biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning (National Institutes of Health, NIH),” can increase one’s risk of heart disease, and even diabetes and stroke. The NIH added that having three of more of the following risk factors constitutes a metabolic syndrome diagnosis:
• A large waistline
• A high triglyceride level (or on medication to treat this)
• A low HDL cholesterol level (or on medication to treat this)
• High blood pressure (or on medication to treat this)
• High fasting blood sugar (or on medication to treat this)
According to Kelly Heim, PhD, senior director of scientific affairs with Douglas Laboratories in Pennsylvania, some of the health-related problems for men can start earlier than people may think.
“Young men often believe that they are invincible. Research suggests that they are less likely to visit their doctor than women,” he mentioned. “They also are susceptible to dietary patterns that may contribute to health issues later in life. Prostate health is influenced by dietary patterns in a man’s 30s and 40s, and possibly earlier … Studies also suggest that diet and lifestyle in a man’s younger years affect cardiovascular and metabolic health as he ages.”
The human body is one complex interconnected set of pathways – from a physical standpoint, there comes a time where it can begin to slow down.
“After age 40,” continued Dr. Heim, “a man loses at least 0.5 percent of his muscle mass per year. Maintaining muscle mass not only has functional and aesthetic benefits, but exerts protective effects on cardiometabolic health. This is when sports nutrition staples, such as whey protein and BCAA, are particularly valuable.”*
So how in fact should one go about treating men with the specific complications? There happen to be quite a few solutions.
Solutions & Delivery Methods
As a result of its various study-proven benefits, Cheryl Myers, chief of education and scientific affairs for EuroMedica in Wisconsin, is highly supportive of one natural medication in particular.
“One of the most effective natural medicines for everyone is CuraPro, and I would advocate for CuraPro 750, which delivers 500 mg of clinically-studied curcumin per softgel,” she said. “And this is no ordinary curcumin. It is enhanced with turmeric essential oil for greater absorption and blood retention, so men get more into their bloodstream, and it sticks around longer to stop inflammation and prevent disease. The turmeric essential oil contains turmerones, which themselves have excellent health properties. They also enhance curcumin’s activity after absorption for more powerful benefits. A recent study has shown the superiority of curcumin enhanced with turmeric essential oil. Not surprisingly, the curcumin in CuraPro (and the only one used in EuroMedica supplements) is also the world’s most clinically studied curcumin, with 31 published studies and counting.”
Myers also added that CuraPro can help stop some conditions that can result in prostate cancer, such as DNA damage, oxidation, inflammation, along with “the cell-signaling that creates the susceptibility to tumors and the spread of the disease.”
Research shows that men fall short of various nutrients including fish oil, vitamin D and magnesium, which can relate to the fact that they often visit a doctor once a problem occurs, instead of as a preventative measure.
“The most beneficial natural modalities are supplements that correct shortfalls in basic nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and protein supplements are generally not recognized as ‘remedies.’ But, consistently ensuring adequate nutrient intake is one of the most effective strategies to maintain overall health and wellness,” noted Dr. Heim. “Men often do not obtain optimal levels of zinc, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for prostate, musculoskeletal and neurocognitive health.* Research suggests that 70-80 percent of men fall short in magnesium, which plays critical roles in cardiovascular and mental health.* The diverse health benefits of a foundation consisting of a multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D and magnesium supplement should never be overlooked. However, most men wait until a problem arises to visit their health care provider, who may determine more specific, high-priority objectives. Fortunately, there are many supplements that support the most common goals, such as improving body composition, supporting hormone levels and maintaining prostate health.*”
Though there is still a place for capsules and the like in the medical marketplace, 2017 is an age of constant development and innovation.
Interestingly enough, a shift toward using vapor is underway.
“We see men leaning toward nontraditional delivery methods like drink mixes, and one of our favorites is vapor delivery,” noted Jason Edwards, CEO, NuAxon Bioscience Inc. in Indiana. “Both delivery methods are faster than capsules and tablets and help make supplementation interesting and engaged which improves compliance. Capsules and pills have become so prevalent that the average American takes 10 pills a day. Because of this, the average man detests the idea of adding yet another pill to his regiment.”
In fact, Shaahin Cheyene, president and founder of Delaware-based Accelerated Intelligence who manufacturers the brain supplement Excelerol, had similar sentiments to those of Edwards, mentioning that shakes, sprays, inhalation and liquids were popular, but noted that especially for brain health supplements, the consumption of capsules is “unrivaled.”
State of the Market: Traditional vs. Natural Medication
In the health industry, there is constant debate between traditional health medication (prescription drugs, antibiotics, over-the-counter) and natural medication. Is one side of the argument more plausible than the other?
It is merely a matter of preference.
“Dominating the current prescription drug market for men’s health is erectile dysfunction drugs—this market is expected to reach $3.2 billion U.S. by 2022, according to last year’s report by Grand View Research Inc.,” said Edwards. “And BPH drug sales are expected to reach $4.5 billion U.S. in the same period (Newswire Press Release December 22, 2015).”
On the other spectrum lies natural medicine, which poses a challenge for practitioners: providing their patients with a complete scope of these specific products. Skepticism may be an outside factor that could influence their patients’ decision.
“I think the market is potentially very strong here, but it will require a lot of education on the part of practitioners and other integrative health care professionals,” said Myers. “One of the best ways to overcome resistance to natural medicine—with any patient—is simply to discuss clinically-verified natural ingredients and overall protocols that prevent the risks of disease or fight symptoms. It’s a huge over-generalization I know, but I think male patients need some solid numbers to be convinced. If they’re already your patient, chances are they are open to the data. But compliance may be trickier, too, because sometimes a natural product will take longer for a patient to ‘feel’ the difference. Of course, they won’t be noticing troublesome or dangerous side effects, either.”
However, despite the difficulty that might surround educating patients, a continuous-growing industry also allows for opportunity for others to get involved. Specifically, smaller companies are now able to establish themselves and fulfill their goal of assisting consumers.
“The market is booming for supplements,” Cheyene mentioned. “When I started in this industry in 1992, there were only a handful of brands not owned by large Fortune 500 companies. Now, smaller brands with a vision have the ability to cut through the red tape and create awesome products that impact people lives in a meaningful way. We believe Excelerol is one of those brands.”
This sense of optimism can partly be credited to research in the field, which is continuing to develop day by day.
Being that prostate health is crucial for men to live healthy lives, Vital Nutrients is currently targeting this focus area via one of their products, Prostate Health Tx.
“Vital Nutrients,” said Dr. Baldwin-Lien, “is excited to be offering Prostate Health Tx, a patented formula developed to provide natural support for maintaining normal PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels without the risk of altering testosterone or dihydrotestosterone levels. Prostate Health Tx has been subjected to a peer-reviewed human clinical trial (n=40) conducted at the University of Southern California, which found PSA declines in 38 percent of participants, and the median duration of PSA stability was 6.4 months. There is currently no data to suggest a survival advantage to starting ADT (androgen deprivation therapy) at the time of BCR (biochemical recurrence) rather than upon detection of radiographic metastases. ADT also carries a number of risks, including weight gain, loss of lean muscle, development of diabetes and osteopenia, so non-hormonal, non-toxic options are highly desirable.”
Companies such as Douglas Laboratories constantly invest in new research towards not only men’s health, but that of women as well.
“Douglas Laboratories, an Atrium Innovations brand, dedicates millions of dollars to key research initiatives in nutrition and health and supports top academic partners worldwide,” mentioned Dr. Heim. “As an industry leader, we believe it is our responsibility to pioneer new research that will lead to a better understanding of key health conditions and identify nutritional strategies to help patients achieve and maintain better health. We actively support academic researchers at top institutions worldwide by providing study products, placebos and technical expertise. These efforts have resulted in a continuous output of publications in top scientific journals. Collectively, the work aims to not only advance the science behind our current products and promote product innovation, but also to elevate the status of nutrition science in general. We are part of multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership with the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods at Laval University; we have focused on investigating the role of polyphenols on cardiometabolic health in men and women. This research is still underway.”
Dr. Heim continued to explain that due to the plethora of elements surrounding men’s health (some that may be more complex than others) there is a road ahead to not only the future of research, but how it will be implemented in medical practice.
“There is increasing recognition of the complex interplay of hormonal, genetic, behavioral, dietary and environmental factors that influence men’s health,” he said. “Secondly, there is evolving knowledge regarding the connections between different systems, such as the link between endothelial health and sexual function and the gut-brain connection. For these reasons, along with a variety of emerging paradigm shifts, the research landscape is more complex than ever before. As far as translating the research to practice, innovations in biochemical and genetic testing aim to help identify opportunities for conservative diet and lifestyle measures long before a health problem arises. Personalized medicine demands extensive scientific interrogation and robust lines of supporting evidence to be clinically applicable, but its successful integration is already self-evident for a growing number of medical practices.”
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Dorff, T. B., Groshen, S., Tsao-Wei, D. D., Xiong, S., Gross, M. E., Vogelzang, N., … Pinski, J. K. (2014). A Phase II trial of a combination herbal supplement for men with biochemically recurrent prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer and Postatic Diseases, 17(4), 359–65. doi:10.1038/pcan.2014.37
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Healthy Take Aways
• According to a 2015 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.4 percent of men 18 and older are considered to be in fair or poor health.
• Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men 15-34 years of age, while erectile dysfunction (ED), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer increase in prevalence with age.
• After age 40, a man loses at least 0.5 percent of his muscle mass per year.
For More Information:
Accelerated Intelligence Inc., www.acceleratedintelligence.org
Douglas Laboratories, www.douglaslabs.com
NuAxon Bioscience Inc., www.nuaxon.com
Vital Nutrients, www.vitalnutrients.net