More than ever, men are being proactive about their health.
According to a 2017 National Health Interview Survey by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), most men are doing pretty good, health-wise. In fact, of those surveyed, 63.1 percent (118,990) said they were in “excellent or very good health status,” while 26.2 percent (30,820) acknowledged they had “good health,” and 11.4 percent (14,276) revealed they had “fair of poor health status.”
More than ever, observed Robin Rogosin, vice president of product development for Texas-based LifeSeasons, “men have been taking more responsibility for their own health, and they’re experimenting with supplements for everything from energy to sexual performance, to see what improvements they experience.”
Carolyn Zaumeyer, MSN, APRN, bio-identical hormone expert at LowTE Florida, also sees men taking advantage of tools to protect their health, a big change from a generation ago. “It seems like more men are finally understanding that what they do today (or have done yesterday) can impact how they age. Exercising, dropping a few pounds, eating healthier, drinking water and optimizing their hormones are things that men are now understanding and engaging in to help preserve overall good health. Overall, men realize now that they want to age healthier and live happier without prescription medication.”
While certainly the usual health concerns and issues, such as cardiovascular health and blood sugar health are still relevant, “the biggest trend I have observed from client queries as well as retail store comments is the need for support for libido and other related sexual function difficulties,” commented Mark J. Kaylor, founder of the Radiant Health Project and a consultant to Mushroom Wisdom in New Jersey. “Sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction can be a sign of cardiovascular insufficiency or a blocked blood vessel.”
The Low T Factor
As you know, diminishing testosterone causes all sorts of complaints among your middle-aged male clients/patients. Most of them know what “Low T” means low testosterone, and it causes these issues. However, they don’t know why.
It behooves to take the mystery away by explaining what andropause is—and why men should not be afraid of it. As with many other bodily systems, organs and cells that tend to lose vigor and responsive efficacy as we age, the male (and female) testosterone manufacturing facility tends to produce less through time. This slowing down of testosterone production leads to lower circulating levels.
There are definitive signs of diminished testosterone that your clients/patients will notice, and several they may not. Overall, sometime in middle age, men notice an increase in body fat, specifically around the midsection, loss of muscle tone and definition, loss of overall mental and physical energy, and an increase in sexual issues. Unfortunately, diminishing testosterone is a natural process and your clients/patients may feel helpless when you tell them. Peak production of testosterone is when you’d expect—teenage years and early adulthood. At around age 30, men tend to produce less testosterone at a rate of approximately 1 percent each year, according to the Mayo Clinic. In a man’s 30s, he will likely notice some diminished stamina and sex drive and he may find that he isn’t able to sexually perform as often in a day as he used to. This is Low T at work. The cluster of symptoms associated with decreased testosterone levels is andropause.
But it’s more than just a lower amount of testosterone made by the body. Hormones dock themselves in specific receptors; and low T may be the result in loss of function of those testosterone receptors in addition to a decrease in the production of the hormone. There is also an increase in a specific blood protein that binds with testosterone, effectively neutralizing it.
Another cause of decreased testosterone production is a condition called hypogonadism—this and testosterone levels can be tested for by a blood test you order. If the blood test shows a level of less than 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), your client/patient officially has “Low T.”
Poor lifestyle and diet habits will also accelerate and magnify the symptoms associated with decreasing endogenous testosterone production—impaired stamina, irritability, increased risk of depression, mild and sustained low mood, difficulty in maintaining focus and concentration, some impaired memory. Many of these same symptoms are experienced in women in peri-menopause.
And, because libido is a result of testosterone release, low testosterone impairs desire response, and also impacts the sensation of sexual pleasure being derived and associated orgasm. Some men may be focusing on low nitric oxide (NO), which helps create and maintain satisfying erections, but low testosterone can still interfere with NO.
Testosterone is also important to erythropoiesis, and insufficient levels of testosterone impact this process and results in fewer red blood cells—itself resulting in feelings of lower energy. Another example is that testosterone also helps to maintain bone density, and lower levels can, through time, lead to bone loss, contributing to osteoporosis.
In addition, the heart muscle may also be affected by diminished testosterone, as it is a muscle-building hormone. Lessened amounts of testosterone also impacts healthy dilation or elasticity of coronary arteries (allowing healthy flow of blood), and this may result in elevated blood pressure, vascular stiffening and even increased levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
One meta-analysis that examined outcomes of published studies between 1970 and 2013 suggested a potential link between low testosterone and slightly elevated risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Although the clinicians did not find direct causality, they did find a modest connection that they deem worthy of further studies to more accurately define and substantiate.
Some practitioners may suggest bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) for men over 30 who may be exhibiting symptoms (and/or whose blood tests come back positive for diminished testosterone. In men, noted Zaumeyer, BHRT can resolve low energy, mood and sex drive, as well as irritability. At LowTE Florida, men typically seek out treatment to increase motivation, libido and muscle mass, she related. “Beyond those benefits, patients experience better sleep, improved focus and clearer, healthier skin. Increased libido and sexual performance. The change in quality of life for men using BHRT is night and day.”
At the various stages of life, men may have different health concerns.
Obviously, young adults still pretty much continue to think they are invincible—and that health problems come later on in the 40s and 50s; 60s and older are “old!”
The oldest of Millennials, today’s generation approaching middle-age are still very youthful. Millennial guys, observed Kaylor, are seeking support to maximize overall health and performance, particularly in the mental and cognitive function area.
Zaumeyer stated succinctly that their priorities tend to be “building muscle and having great sex!”
Millennial men (25 to 39 in 2019) noted Rogosin, are often looking for convenient ways to stay on track with their health goals with fitness apps on their phones. They’re concerned about staying healthy, but they’re likely not focusing on regular, healthy meals or sleeping as much as they should. “They may suffer from stress, depression and anxiety, and those Red Bulls aren’t helping!” she declared.
“Less a concern but more a growing awareness among Gen Xer men is their realizations that age is beginning to catch up with them,” Kaylor observed. “So the goal here is to try and maintain or even improve overall health and vitality. I have seen an increase in members of this age group being confronted with the health concerns that were previously associated with an older peer group, the very same things that Baby Boomers are battling.”
Prostate health and colon health begin to become a concern for men in their late 40s, and now it is recommended that colon health screenings are performed in one’s latter 40s, not per 50. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate screenings should begin at age 50.
Members of Generation X—ages 40 to 54 this year—likely have been leading fast-paced lives for the past two or three decades, not eating an optimally healthy diet and not attaining enough sleep regularly, Rogosin believes. In addition, many men in this age group tend to consume too much caffeine, causing adrenal fatigue and increased episodes of exhaustion, which is also brought on by work and family stress. “Gen X men are beginning to see signs of wear: joint aches, insomnia, weight gain,” she said.
Zaumeyer summarizes her male patients in this age group as desiring to get healthy now, and wanting to deal with “fatigue, weight gain and erectile dysfunction.”
Baby Boomers, said Zaumeyer, complain of the same issues as their Generation X counterparts, but are also more highly concerned about onset of health conditions such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure and cardiovascular wellness. Also, prostate health is key, as men are more inclined to deal with an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Men who are 55 to 75 (in 2019) are often concerned about energy and erectile dysfunction, Rogosin observed. They recognize the need for regular exercise and eating well. “Although they are more likely now to sleep a bit better than they did in their 30s and 40s, they may have blood sugar imbalances and could be showing early signs of cognitive decline.”
Kaylor asserted, “As a proud member of this generation, the health concerns for Baby Boomers seems to revolve around the age-related disorders, the fear of prostate and other cancers, heart health issues, and the general issues that often arise with aging in our society. Here you see a definite increase for support of sexual function and libido.”
He added that one consistently relevant concern for all three age groups is stress and its concomitant issue, adrenal depletion.
Products to RecomMENd
There are numerous dietary supplements that you may feel confident recommending otherwise healthy male patients to increase their feeling of well-being and ability to get into better physical shape.
In her practice, Zaumeyer added FreeTE. She explained that the supplement helps many of her male patients get the most out of their hormone therapy. “FreeTE helps prevent sex hormone binding globulin from attaching to the testosterone molecule which increases the free testosterone—allowing my patients to enhance the good feelings from their testosterone therapy. Many of my patients say they are feeling happier, more sexually virile, and their bodies are leaning out. FreeTE is a safe, unique, standardized, patented, rigorously science-proven, proprietary nutraceutical with 13 published human studies,” she added.
Cordyceps is a remedy that dates back thousands of years primarily in traditional Chinese medicine that may be beneficial for the various concerns of all three age groups, according to Kaylor. PubMed shows close to 1,500 scientific citations on cordyceps finding potential benefits for aging, energy, recovery, age-related brain issues, immuno-modulatory activity, kidney, heart and respiratory function, and more. “Cordyceps is also one of the few natural remedies with human clinical research supporting its use for libido enhancement, sexual function and even sex frequency, particularly in older individuals,” he emphasized.
He explained that cordyceps’ overall health, vitality and tonic actions stem from its ability to support healthy function of the heart, lungs, adrenals and kidneys. On a cellular level, cordyceps also seems to bolster mitochondrial function while providing protection to the mitochondria by increasing production of key protective antioxidants like glutathione and SOD. These actions have far reaching benefits for not just cellular health but for men seeking virility enhancement. Additionally, Kaylor noted, cordyceps is an adaptogen that can also provide some protection against impact of chronic stress while strengthening adrenal health and function.
Mushroom Wisdom’s Super Cordyceps uses “the most researched strain of this fungus and extracts it to make it both more bioavailable as well as concentrated enough to provide the amount needed to realize these benefits,” Kaylor explained. “I feel it is important to use a fermented cordyceps product, as does Mushroom Wisdom because of the environmental problems that have arisen with the harvesting and even over-harvesting of the mushroom that is found at high altitude in the Himalayan Mountains. This has become such a concern for countries in this region that they are now restricting the gathering of cordyceps.”
LifeSeasons offers two formulas for male sexual enhancement and improvement of overall physical energy. Masculini-T is formulated to boost free testosterone, which can enhance libido, as well as supports normal erectile function and natural stimulation of androgen receptors in the brain, according to Rogosin. The ingredients include Tribulus fruit extract (Tribulus terrestris) standardized to 40 percent saponins. Tribulus is an herb that has been used for male energy enhancement effectively for thousands of years in ayurvedic medicine. It has ability to enhance androgen receptor density in the brain. It also contains Fenugreek seed extract (Trigonella foenum-graecum) standardized to 50 percent saponins, which has been shown to increase testosterone and libido, and features Maca root extract (Lepedium meyenii), a Peruvian herb that supports libido and erectile function. “Masculini-T is a synergistic blend of niacin (vitamin B3) and 10 herbs, which have adaptogenic, antioxidant and circulatory benefits,” she described.
Boosting nitric oxide is a mechanism of action you may want to recommend to your client/patient. LifeSeasons’ Nitro-T increases nitric oxide levels and assists with healthy blood circulation, said Rogosin. “It eases stress while specifically supporting physical and sexual performance.”
A three-capsule dose provides 1,000 mg of L-citrulline, which Rogosin said enhances plasma levels of ornithine and arginine, as well as improves the ammonia recycling process and nitric oxide metabolism. Nitro-T also contains Tribulus terrestris for its adaptogenic and testosterone-enhancing benefits, she said, Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), Ginkgo biloba and ginger (Zingiber officinale) for their mild stimulating properties and circulatory benefits; as well as L-theanine, kava (Piper methysticum), and wild oat (Avena sativa) to promote calm, focused attention.
New York-based Patient One MediNutritionals’ Prostate FA Plus contains ingredients shown to regulate the high 5-alpha-reductase enzyme activity that is often associated with prostate issues, according to Kathy McIntee, vice president. In addition, she said, Prostate FA Plus modulates prostate inflammation, inhibits growth factors, and optimizes cell-signaling pathways—helping to ease prostate-related urinary nocturia and residual dribbling while encouraging healthy, comfortable urinary flow. “Prostate FA Plus is an ideal all-in-one formula for supporting prostate, urinary and sexual health—promoting peak quality of life for your male patients,” she asserted. It contains five key nutrients used widely for prostate health support.
Saw palmetto: Saw palmetto extract promotes prostate wellness by inhibiting the activity of 5-alpha-reductase, regulating testosterone-to-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) conversion and blocking DHT from binding and accumulating in prostate tissues, McIntee explained. In addition, saw palmetto has been shown to modulate inflammation in the prostate, easing lower urinary tract symptoms like nocturia, while acting as a diuretic to encourage healthy urine flow. Saw palmetto may also inhibit Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) signaling pathways to support normal cell growth.
“Prostate FA Plus includes a clinically supported dose of saw palmetto in liquid form. Research supports that liquid saw palmetto supplements (when compared to powders, tinctures, and dried berries) contained significantly higher concentrations of fatty acids and phytosterols—key bioactive components of saw palmetto,” she commented.
Pumpkin seed: Pumpkin seed oil supplies multiple prostate-protective antioxidants along with the active compounds beta sitosterol and squalene. Like saw palmetto, pumpkin seed has been suggested to support the prostate by blocking testosterone-to-DHT conversion.
Pygeum africanum: A clinical herbal supplement recommended for prostate issues since the 1960s, Pygeum africanum provides plant sterols and fatty acids that soothe prostate inflammation and regulate 5-alphareductase activity. These bioactivities, McIntee noted, have been linked to improvements in urethral obstruction and bladder function, and pygeum also supports prostate health by stimulating the gland’s secretory activity.
Phytosterols: Prostate FA Plus contains the plant sterols beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol and brassicasterol, “which combine to optimize multiple measures of urinary health,” she said. “Research also suggests these phyosterols naturally bind to prostate tissues, where they exert inflammation-modulating activity and influence cell signaling to help promote normal cell growth in the prostate. Phytosterols have been proposed to modulate testosterone; high intakes may also inhibit 5-alpha-reductase enzyme.”
Lycopene and silica: Lycopene is found naturally in high concentrations in the prostate. Low plasma lycopene levels have been linked with serious prostate health issues. Supplemental lycopene is believed to promote healthy cell growth and normal cell differentiation within the prostate gland.
These are just a handful of effective and safe supplements to recommend, along with dietary and lifestyle habit counseling for men who want to improve their energy and sex lives.
Healthy Take Aways:
• Of men surveyed by the CDC, 63.1 percent said they were in “excellent or very good health status,” 26.2 percent acknowledged they had “good health,” and 11.4 percent were in “fair of poor health.”
• At around age 30, men tend to produce less testosterone at a rate of approximately 1 percent each year.
• One meta-analysis that examined outcomes of published studies between 1970 and 2013 suggested a potential link between low testosterone and slightly elevated risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
• Prostate health and colon health begin to become a concern for men in their late 40s.
For More Information:
Life Seasons, www.lifeseasons.com
Mushroom Wisdom, www.mushroomwisdom.com
Patient One MediNutritionals, www.patientoneformulas.com