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The best man

Want to be the healthiest you possibly can? Here are natural solutions to the most common men’s health issues

Acne relief

Young men in their teens and 20s can often suffer from acne. This is caused by an excess of the male hormone testosterone. “Omega 3 from fish oils and flax oils can help correct problems with acne,” says John Halpin of The Health Store, Dundrum. “Both are available in capsule or liquid form, which are more concentrated than adding fish or flax seeds to the diet. Zinc can also to be helpful to prevent scarring.”

“A good tea tree wash can provide a useful start point to tackling acne, whilst an agnus castus supplement can be particularly useful for teenage acne,” says Rob Whinnett of Blasta Wholefoods in Dungarvan, Co Waterford. “Look for natural capsules with a specifically formulated blend of targeted minerals, botanicals and fat-soluble carotenoids in a base of probiotics designed to help problem skin.”

Sports recovery

Men who push their bodies to the limit and enjoy the benefits of being fit may need some natural help to recover from exercise. Magnesium helps with strained muscles that have gone into spasm. “I recommend protein balls sold in health stores for a post-exercise snack,” Rob Whinnett.

“Arginine is a good supplement for sportsmen, raising the level of nitric oxide within the blood vessels, allowing them to open wider which improves blood flow,” says John Halpin. “Co enzyme improves energy levels and is particularly good for men who work out or play sport. Aside from improving energy levels, it works also as an anti-oxidant to counteract the negative oxidative – and ageing – effects of exercise.”

Fertility issues

Men in their 30s experience a gradual slowing down of testosterone production – this is also the time when most men are thinking about starting a family.

“Arginine helps with blood flow and erectrile dysfunction, and is required for the formation of sperm,” says John Halpin. “It can be found in fertility formulations for men. Dietary sources of arginine include nuts, fish and eggs.”

“The peruvian herb maca is an adatogen that can restore hormonal imbalance and related sexual desire and fertility in both men and women,” says Rob Whinnett.

Dealing with diabetes

If diabetes becomes a risk or a problem you can get help from your local health store. “Exercise, eating less sugar and reducing stress will all help to boost testosterone levels and also have a direct influence on blood and weight control, says John Halpin. “Chromium can help stabilise blood sugar levels, offering back some self-control to sugar addicts. Omega-3 helps with blood flow, improving circulation and cutting down on LDL, bad cholesterol, and raising HDL, good cholesterol.”

“A healthy diet is particularly important for diabetics, and increasing fibre by adding ground flaxeeds can be useful,” says Rob Whinnett. “Slow release foods like pinhead oats offer a good start to the day, while cinnamon helps with balancing blood sugar levels, and makes a tasty addition to morning porridge. Healthy foods like hummus on oatcakes can provide filling snacks to help avoid sugary alternatives.”

Stress, hearth health and cholesterol

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. “Rhodiola is a very useful herb as it increases the body’s tolerance to various stressors,” says Rob Whinnett. “It also 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 also be useful as part of a stress relief regime. An economical option to keep cholesterol levels down is to sprinkle a teaspoon of lecithin granules onto each of your meals and to increase omega 3 intake.”

“Magnesium is a mineral that helps with stress and anxiety, available in a spray or tablet,” says John Halpin. “It is also beneficial for cardiovascular health, and aiding carbohydrate metabolism.”

Prostate problems

Prostate issues become a real problem for an increasing number of men in their 60s. “Saw palmetto berries have been used for many years as a herbal treatment for symptoms of a benign enlarged prostate,” says Rob Whinnett.

“Zinc helps prevent the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone – which can lead to prostate problems,” says John Halpin. “The herb nettle helps to increase urinary flow and has a relaxing effect on the urinary tract.”

Aching joints

As men enter their golden years the cartilage around the joints begins to give a bit, causing pain and inflammation. “We have seen some good results with turmeric or curcumim supplements,” says Rob Whinnett. “Rubs can provide relief for aching joints, for example magnesium sprays and arnica massage balms.”

“Pain and inflammation around the joints can be counteracted by glucosamine, which helps to strengthen and improve the integrity of cartilage,” says John Halpin.

Talk to a healthcare practitioner before beginning or stopping any medical or herbal treatment.

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