Supplements for Men’s Health
According to a special report from the Family Health Development Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia (2019), heart disease and stroke are two out of three leading causes of death for Malaysian males. Men are also thought to be less likely to seek medical check-ups or health screenings as compared to women.
It’s important for males to not be complacent when it comes to their health. With that in mind, we urge our fellow male readers to go for a health screening at their nearest health facility. Lads, if you’re on track with your health screenings (good job, by the way!) and you’re looking to further improve your health, supplements are one good area you can look into.
We’ve gotten in touch with Farik Abdul Rahman a community pharmacist at Reefaa Pharmacy and Training Director at Wellesta Truelife to share his insights on how supplements can help improve men’s health.
How do supplements help improve men’s health?
Farik Abdul Rahman: Our body needs nutrition and to put it specifically, different parts of our body require different types of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and proteins. If a man is not taking a well-balanced diet, he doesn’t get all the nutrition for the body to function properly.
Furthermore, if the man is stressed, exposed to a lot of toxins, and eats fast food, the requirement to take supplements is highly recommended. Supplements help ensure the body remains healthy.
Are there any natural ingredients that can benefit overall men’s health?
Farik: If we’re looking at specific ingredients or foods in the diet, it depends on the requirement of the individual. For example:
Pumpkin seeds help ensure prostate health.
SHELLFISHIf a lot of zinc is required, they can eat seafood (primarily shellfish) that are rich in zinc such as oysters. Zinc is very important to enhance a man’s fertility.
Pumpkin seeds help ensure prostate health.Men have a higher tendency to develop heart-related problems. Hence, increasing their omega-3 intake through their diet by including fatty fish such as salmon and tuna may help. However, it’s important to take note that when consuming fish that have omega-3, it should not be fried. Omega-3 is heat sensitive and frying the fish may disrupt the omega-3 quality in the fish. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to keep the fish as raw as possible. Eating raw fish such as salmon is common in Japanese cuisine, known as sashimi.
Pistachios are rich in protein and fibers. Pistachios are plant-based and their high protein content helps repair the muscles.
Gout sufferers consist of approximately 90 percent men. In order to break down uric acid and excrete it, the body needs a special type of enzyme. Tart cherries are known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and they contain this unique enzyme that helps in the breaking down process.
Ginger is good for joints. When it comes to men, they tend to have a higher number of muscles. Due to this, they tend to experience muscle aches or pains, and ginger can help them to relieve the ache and improve joint flexibility.
Soy contains phytoestrogen and phytoestrogen is beneficial for male health in many ways. Phytoestrogen helps keep the prostate healthy and reduce as well as prevent the enlargement of the prostate. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) patients especially may benefit from this.
Are there any lifestyle changes that men should look into for better health?
Farik: Men are encouraged to stop smoking and vaping. Reduce sugar consumption as sweets can be pro-inflammatory. Processed foods should also be reduced for better health.
MEN ARE ENOCURAGED TO STOP SMOKING AND VAPING. REDUCE SUGAR CONSUMPTION AS SWEETS CAN BE PRO-INFLAMMATORY. PROCESSED FOODS SHOULD ALSO BE REDUCED FOR BETTER HEALTH.
Are there any natural ingredients that men should look out for before consuming??
Farik: High-protein foods such as red meat should be reduced or avoided (if possible). Instead, men are recommended to take lean meat where the fat is cut off. Grilled or smoked food such as satays or barbecued foods should be reduced as well. Consuming grilled or smoked food may increase an individual’s exposure to free radicals. Free radicals may negatively impact the artery walls, leading to conditions such as the hardening of arteries or arteriosclerosis.
Is it possible for men to benefit from each of these ingredients through food consumption alone?
Farik: A well-balanced diet is the key for the male to reap the benefits of each of the ingredients through food consumption alone. It’s also ideal if the relevant food component is consumed raw without added processed ingredients, flavourings, or added cooking methods such as cooking on the stove too long. This is to prevent nutrients from being lost during cooking.
As a man age, physiological changes play an important role in maintaining good health. Physiological changes can impact the absorption rate in the body as a male ages, even though one maintains the same diet. These physiological changes may include a reduction in the gastrointestinal tract, reduced kidney, heart, and lung function. Supplements help when the body is going through these physiological changes. All in all, supplements play a role in ensuring the body is getting the proper nutrients during these periods of change.
ALL IN ALL, SUPPLEMENTS PLAY A ROLE IN ENSURING THE BODY IS GETTING THE PROPER NUTRIENTS DURING THESE PERIODS OF CHANGE.
Are there any contraindications that men should be aware of before consuming these supplements?
Farik: If an individual has comorbidities and is currently taking medicines such as blood thinners, they need to know whether the supplements they are taking possess the same effect. As an example, if an individual is consuming aspirin (Aspirin is consumed as a blood thinner to reduce the incidence of stroke or heart attack), the individual cannot consume supplements that have a blood-thinning effect. For example, herbs like Gingko Biloba should be avoided as it has blood-thinning effects. Fish oil at a certain dose or a high dose may also possess a blood thinning effect. Individuals are highly advised to consult a pharmacist to ensure there are no contraindications.
At what age, should men start taking supplements to benefit their health?
Farik: They can start from a young age, however, it’s important to note that it all depends on the symptoms or the need of the body. As they age or grow older, the need and the type of supplements also may change. Let’s say, from the age of 20 or 25 years old, they can consider taking multivitamins, and vitamins like A, C, and E. As they enter their forties, they can start taking zinc tablets which will help them further improve their muscle mass and strength. For those in their sixties and above, they can consider calcium supplements, fish oil, and zinc and some may even consume saw palmetto and pumpkin seeds.
It’s important for individuals to identify the needs or symptoms exhibited by their body and consider supplements to match their situation. For example, if it’s issues pertaining to fertility
where a man has a low sperm count, they can consider consuming specific supplements such as Tongkat Ali or Maca Root to increase the sperm count, to improve the quality and motility of the sperm.