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Health for him

Top tips for every age for men from their teenage years to retirement

Exams and acne - your teens

"Teenage boys often come to us 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.

"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 agnus castus to help with hormone control and eating a diet low in sugar plus a multivitamin with zinc. Stress caused by exam pressures can also be intense at this age – taking a B complex, magnesium and some flower remedies can be helpful."

Other help comes from:

  • Greens – these veggies are rich in chlorophyll, which purifies the blood of the toxins that cause skin eruptions.
  • Omega 3 – from oily fish, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, nuts and flax oils. Also in capsule or liquid form.
  • Zinc – can be helpful to prevent scarring. Eat legumes, seeds and nuts or take a supplement.

Parties and sport – your 20s

"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 irritated," says Matt Ronan.

Environmental chemicals and particularly endocrine disruptors found in soaps, shampoos, deodorants, perfumes, plastic bags and food packaging can all affect men's health.

"At this age the focus is often on supplements to enhance performance, new 'clean' proteins for muscle repair, turmeric to fight inflammation and arnica and magnesium gels to ease painful muscles. We have seen positive results from using saw palmetto supplements for early onset male pattern baldness."

Other help comes from:

  • B vitamins – help the liver break down toxins. Found in wholegrains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Herbs milk thistle and artichoke (cynara scolymus) – protect the liver as well as improve its overall function.

Fertility and testosterone issues – your 30s

The hormone testosterone is essential for men’s health – it contributes to muscle mass, bone density, red blood cells, hair growth and emotional health. The bad news is that levels start to decline from the age of 30.

“Fertility issues are increasingly on men's (and women's) minds in their 30s and 40s – 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.”

“When men are in their 30s they can suffer from the demands of parenthood with poor quality and broken sleep, and we may recommend a tonic to keep them supported and strong,” says Matt Ronan.

Heart health and stress – your 40s

“By their 40s some men are already feeling 20 years of sport taking its toll,” says Matt Ronan, “so they need to protect joints. We would recommend products like glucosamine sulphate MSM and chondroitin with 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 comes from:

  • Flaxseed oil, glucosamine and fish oil – help repair muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones. Hawthorne berry and omega 3 – specific nutrients good for the heart.
  • Rhodiola – increases the body’s tolerance to various stressors, has an anti-depressant action, enhances mental abilities and benefits the immune system.

Less energy and hair – your 50s

“For men over 50 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 comes from:

  • Chromium – can help stabilise blood sugar levels.
  • Omega-3s – help with blood flow, improving circulation and cutting down on LDL, bad cholesterol, and raising HDL, good cholesterol.

Arthritis and prostates – your 60s

“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. We also recommend supplements to boost energy, including spirulina and B vitamins.”

“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 such as turmeric and boswellia can make a world of difference.”

Other help comes from:

  • Glucosamine – works to strengthen and improve the integrity of cartilage.
  • Magnesium sprays and arnica massage balms.
  • Selenium – benefits the immune system and eyes. You can find it in small amounts in brazil nuts, eggs, garlic, brown rice, seafood and yeast or take a supplement.
  • Turmeric or curcumin – good for sore joints.

Avoiding dementia

Ways to reduce your chance of developing dementia include:

  • 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.
  • Keeping insulin levels low, as high levels contribute to inflammation, which will prematurely degenerate your brain.

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

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