You would have to be living in a hole to not realise that November has been re-named Movember in order to raise funds for Men’s Health Issues, particularly prostate cancer and depression. So I thought it was the perfect opportunity to write about some of the problems particular to men that can be quite receptive to herbal and nutritional treatment.
Although prostate cancer treatment per se should be left to conventional medicine there is much that can be done to prevent the progression to cancer in the first place. A wellness diet with particular emphasis on omega-3 fatty acids, soy foods and some anti-oxidants such as lycopene found in tomatoes, vitamin E and selenium will contribute to the prevention of prostate cancer.
The prostate gland itself can cause much grief in older men if it becomes inflamed (prostatitis) and/or enlarged (benign prostatic hypertrophy) because it sits so close to the bladder and drains into the urethra. Symptoms include urinary frequency, hesitancy, urgency and nocturia (night time urination). Herbs such as Saw Palmetto, Nettle and Willow Herb and the mineral zinc can prevent and treat the enlargement of the gland and other herbs can assist with the associated pain and discomfort for example Horsetail and Corn Silk to soothe the urethra, Cramp Bark to reduce spasm and Buchu and Bearberry if infection is present.
There are a range of other herbs to assist men through various stages of life such as Damiana and Tribulus for low libido and impotence with added Gingko Biloba for erectile dysfunction. Damiana is also useful for depression in males along with Oat Seed which also has a strong historical useful for male reproductive problems. These herbs combined with other antidepressant herbs such as St John’s wort, Lemon Balm and Siberian Ginseng work wonders for depression. For male infertility the antioxidant supplements are extremely important because sperm is so susceptible to harm caused by free radicals. The supplements found to be most effective are zinc, selenium and CoenzymeQ10 (CoQ10). The requirement for CoQ10 increases with the age of the man.
Lifestyle factors, of course, also contribute to health in men with alcohol and drug use contributing to mental health problems and erectile dysfunction, with weight, lack of B vitamins, healthy fats and antioxidants contributing to depression, anxiety and the health of sperm. Positive changes to lifestyle has huge potential to contribute to every aspect of a man’s health.