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Teen health issues include acne and raging hormones.

Oliver McCabe, Select Stores, Dalkey and author of The Fuel Food Cookbook (Mercier): “Adolescent boys can suffer from serious acne due to the amount of male hormones in the body which trigger the production of sebum and keratin. Some acne cases result to a large degree from faulty fat metabolism. Foods rich in omega-3 and essential fatty acids in foods such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, nuts and oily fish help remedy this situation. Yellow and green beta-carotene foods to emphasise include carrots, winter squash, pumpkin, leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and cabbage. All greens are rich in chlorophyll, which purifies the blood of the toxins that cause skin eruptions.”

John Halpin of The Health Store in Dundrum: “For acne, omega 3 from either fish oil or flax oil sources will help with hormonal imbalance which is the cause of break-outs. Both are available in liquid and capsule form. Zinc tablets or capsules can also help prevent scarring. L-theanine is good for stress and concentration to help with exams.”

Young men in their 20s can be affected by mental health issues.

“For good mental health avoid refined sugar and caffeine, sweets and fizzy drinks, hydrogenated and saturated fats from fried foods, take-aways and prepared meals,” says Oliver McCabe. “Instead stock up on complex carbohydrates and omega-3 fats that are high in serotonin. One specific kind of omega-3 fat called EPA, has proven effective for improving depression and anxiety. It can be found in fish oils.

“It’s important to support your body’s natural detoxification systems,”says Oliver McCabe. “B vitamins help the liver break down toxins and support chemical processes needed for excretion of toxins. B vitamins are found in whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. A good quality vitamin B complex supplement may be helpful for some young men. Herbs milk thistle and artichoke (cynara scolymus) protect the liver as well as improve its overall function.”

During the 30s a gradual slowing down of testosterone production begins, energy levels begin to drop and stress can rear its head.

“Fertility can be an issue,” says John Halpin. “Zinc as a single supplement can help, or as part of a specifically formulated supplement for fertility. Arginine is required for the formation of sperm. Energy levels begin to dip, so take a good multivitamin or a herb like ginseng.

“Stress easily promotes the downward spiral of health,” says Oliver McCabe. “What you eat determines how well your body performs. The correct balance of nutrients is seldom achieved by diet alone as our food supply is deficient in many basic minerals and vitamins. Therefore, a good comprehensive men’s multivitamin should be taken daily.”

Stress can be a big problem for men in their 40s and can negatively contribute to heart health issues, high cholesterol, low libido and diabetes.

“Cholesterol and blood pressure can become an issue,” says John Halpin. “Both can be helped by omega 3 – changing the balance of HDL and LDL cholesterols in the body and also having a blood-thinning effect. COQ10 is a good supplement for the heart, also helping with energy levels. A B complex and magnesium can support the body in times of stress.”

“It is important to ensure the correct nutrients and herbs are taken to keep your heart strong and healthy,” says Oliver McCabe. “Specific nutrients for the heart are hawthorn berry and omega 3. There are many nutrients that can help repair muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones such as flaxseed oil, glucosamine and fish oil.”

Men experience a gradual decrease in testosterone production. This affects body shape, energy and stress levels, libido and hair growth or loss

“Exercise, eating less sugar and reducing stress will all help to boost testosterone levels,” says John Halpin. “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.”

“If there is a problem with your prostate, some common signs will be decreased force of urinary strength, a sensation of incomplete emptying and having to wake up in the night to urinate,” says Oliver McCabe. “Specific nutrients for this are zinc, vitamin C and lycopene.”

“The herbs saw palmetto and nettle help with prostate issues,” says John Halpin. There are a number of prostate health supplements in health stores that can help.”

“Watch your nervous system – if you overstress yourself, you will have burnout, or worse, a nervous breakdown,” says Oliver McCabe. “Nutrients for the nervous system are B complex vitamins and magnesium.”

60s plus:
Arthritis can become an issue at this age as the cartilage around the joints begins to give a bit, causing pain and inflammation.

“Glucosamine and chondroitin help with cartilage repair, which is the root cause of arthritis,” says John Halpin. “Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory which can give short-term relief, as can the herbs turmeric and ginger.”

Selenium is a good mineral for men in their 60s as it offers benefits to the immune system and benefits the eyes. You can find it in small amounts in brazil nuts, eggs, garlic, and brown rice, seafood and yeast or take a supplement.

“A healthy bowel is vital for optimum absorption of nutrients from your food intake,” says Oliver McCabe. “Specific nutrients for the bowel are acidophilus and digestive enzymes.

“You can significantly reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by making positive lifestyle changes. Losing weight; regular exercise; keeping mentally active; eating a nutritious diet (pay special attention to avoiding sugar); getting plenty of omega-3 fats; enjoying the sunshine, through safe sun exposure and/or vitamin D supplements; avoiding toxins, especially mercury and aluminium, found in items such as antiperspirants can all help. It’s also important to keep insulin levels low, as high levels can contribute to inflammation, which will prematurely degenerate your brain.”

Supplements for sportsmen

Arginine – raises the level of nitric oxide within the blood vessels, allowing them to open wider which improves blood flow.

Co enzyme Q10 – for cell growth and maintenance. The body makes its own, but production slows down from the 30s on. Counteracts the ageing effects of exercise.

Magnesium – helps with strained muscles, and those that have gone into spasm.

Protein – helps with recovery after exertion.

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

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