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A man for all seasons

A look at the most common health issues that effect men from their teens to retirement and natural solutions that can help

Terrific teens
Common problem: acne, exam stress

“The primary problem at this age is teenage acne which is a source of difficulty and embarrassment,” says Matt Ronan of health store Evolv in Enniscorthy, co Wexford. “We would normally recommend a good multivitamin with zinc, and agnus castus to help with hormone control and eating a diet low in sugar. Stress caused by exam pressures can also be intense at this age - using the likes of B complex magnesium and some flower remedies can be helpful.”

“Teenage boys often present with acne and, as well as suggesting face and body wash products based on tea tree or charcoal, we recommend vitamin A and zinc for skin support and the herb agnus castus for hormone balance,” says Gerald Colfer of health store Only Natural in Wexford.

Other help for acne comes from omega-3 from fish oils and flax oils in capsule or liquid form, which are more concentrated than adding fish or flax seeds to the diet. Zinc can also be helpful to prevent scarring.

Party 20s
Common problem: sports performance, early baldness, sensitive skin

“In the 20s and 30s age bracket the focus is often on sport and athletic performance. We recommend total nutrition products, arginine supplements to enhance performance, the newer ranges of ‘clean’ proteins for muscle repair, turmeric to fight inflammation and the likes of arnica and magnesium gels to ease painful muscles,” says Gerald Colfer. “Early onset of male pattern baldness can be problematic for some men at this time too and we have seen positive results from using saw palmetto supplements.”

Environmental chemicals and particularly endocrine disruptors found in soaps, shampoos, deodorants, perfumes, hair sprays, plastic bags and food packaging can all affect men’s (and women’s health). “When we move into the 20s we can be looking at sensitive skin being an issue when shaving starts in earnest and here we would recommend using an oily natural soap to protect the skin from drying out and becoming quite so irritated,” says Matt Ronan.

Thriving 30s
Common problem: slowing down of testosterone, fertility issues

Men’s bodies are largely governed by the hormone testosterone which contributes to muscle mass, bone density, red blood cells, hair growth and emotional health, and this declines from the age of 30.

“In the 30s we would often see the demands of parenthood showing up with very little sleep being common, and we may recommend a tonic to keep young parents strong as they struggle through with poor quality and broken sleep,” says Matt Ronan.

“Fertility issues are increasingly on men’s (and women’s) minds in their 30s and 40s and fortunately there are tailor-made products which, when combined with the right dietary and lifestyle changes, give support to this area of a man’s life,” says Gerald Colfer. “L-arginine, CoQ10 and pine bark extract are common ingredients.”

Fun 40s
Common problem: stress, heart health issues, high cholesterol, low libido and diabetes

“By their 40s some men are already experiencing the ravages of 20 years of sport taking its toll,” says Matt Ronan, “so protecting joints can sometimes be necessary at this stage. We would recommend products like glucosamine sulphate MSM and chondroitin with perhaps some turmeric capsules to help keep inflammation under control. Also back health can be a problem from years of sitting at a desk – we have a range of products which are wearable to help support the circulation and reduce the inflammation often associated with lower back pain.”

Other help: Rhodiola increases the body’s tolerance to various stressors, has an anti-depressant action, enhances mental abilities and benefits the immune system. Exercise, a multi-B complex and reduced alcohol and caffeine intake can form a stress relief regime in your 40s.

Fabulous 50s
Common problem: decrease in testosterone production, affecting body shape, energy levels and less hair

“In this age group we may see blood pressure issues and we advise a good regime of exercise, water drinking and using beetroot capsules to help ensure good circulation in the arteries and veins, plus saw palmetto for prostate health,” says Matt Ronan.

“In their 50s, and sometimes earlier, men can find themselves dealing with mental health issues,” says Gerald Colfer. “Essential fats like fish oils, vitamin D, herbs like rhodiola and saffron can all pave the way to better emotional and mental balance.”

Other help: chromium can help stabilise blood sugar levels, omega-3 helps with blood flow, improving circulation and cutting down on LDL, bad cholesterol, and raising HDL, good cholesterol.

Stable 60s
Common problem: painful joints, prostate issues

Benign prostate enlargement can be helped by taking saw palmetto and supportive nutrients like zinc,” says Gerald Colfer. “From 60 on heart issues can become part of the picture and L-arginine based supplements come into their own as do fish oils and herbs like garlic and hawthorn. Joint issues are also prevalent in older men and essential fats and anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric and boswellia can make a world of difference.”

“In the 60s plus age group we are usually looking at joint support,” says Matt Ronan. “Hydration is often required here. Men of this age may be concerned with keeping their brain alert and an omega-3 oil is vital. Being run down without actually realising it can often be a factor - sometimes the tiredness that is experienced is simply down to a less than perfect diet which can be improved upon with supplements to boost energy, including spirulina and B vitamins.”

Other help: turmeric or curcumim supplements are good for sore joints. Rubs, magnesium sprays and arnica massage balms can also help. Glucosamine works to strengthen and improve the integrity of cartilage.

Discuss your decision with a healthcare practitioner before beginning or stopping any medical or herbal treatment.

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