It’s not only men that come to me with men’s issues. It’s also the women who love or care about them. So whether you are a man or a woman, this post is for you. The three most common men’s issues that we see at the clinic are prostate problems, low libido, and erectile dysfunction. As a functional medicine practitioner, my goal is to get to the root of the problem. You will notice that the root of the problem often comes from a lifestyle that leads to inflammation and dysfunction. A diet high in processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, chemicals, pollutants and heavy metals will certainly lead to inflammation. A high stress, sedentary lifestyle will definitely lead to dysfunction. Cleaning up your diet and lifestyle will correct a majority of problems so you should always start there.
Each of these conditions is worthy of its own post so I will keep it to the solutions that I find most effective. Let’s start with prostate problems. When problems with urination arise in men, it may be due to the prostate gland. If the cause is an enlarged prostate, do not ignore it. If you do, the risk of urinary tract infections and bladder stones rises and can ultimately damage the kidneys. This can be due to a hormone imbalance, usually testosterone, so put a hormone test on your to-do list. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine is advised, as well as avoiding all liquids within two hours of bedtime. Exercise regularly and talk to your pharmacist about any drugs you are on that might contribute to the problem. I find the most effective solution is concentrated extracts of the herbs saw palmetto, stinging nettle, and the phytonutrient Lycopene. They support the prostate and urinary function. Metagenics has a great supplement that contains all three and nutritional support in the form of vitamin D, B6, and zinc. Lycopene, often found in tomatoes and other colorful produce, is a superstar nutrient. Research shows it can also help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Proscar, a drug often prescribed for this condition, may have side effects such as a reduced sex drive and impotence. Which is what we will talk about next.
The second most common men’s issues that I see is low sex drive (libido). Often I find this patient has a thyroid condition, blood sugar imbalance, hormone imbalance or an anemia (low iron or low b vitamins). We do blood work that shows the whole pathway of thyroid, blood sugar, hormones, and anemia. You need to be sure that you are not just getting a TSH and a T4 level in order for your thyroid to be sufficiently evaluated. You also need free T3, free T4 and others for a complete picture. The most important aspect of this condition that I want you to be aware of is how body fat (especially belly fat) contains an enzyme called aromatase that turns testosterone (the main male hormone) into estrogen (the main female hormone). The New England Research Institutes performed a study of 1,822 men that confirmed that the waist circumference of men is the single strongest predictor of low testosterone levels. The symptoms of low libido, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, depressed mood, lethargy, and diminished physical performance are all associated with increased belly fat. By consuming one serving of protein and two servings of above-the-ground vegetables (not including corn) and some healthy fat every 3-4 hours with moderate exercise you can go far in correcting this imbalance.
The last men’s issue that we will discuss is erectile dysfunction. You just read how detrimental belly fat can be to testosterone levels. Take note with erectile dysfunction as well and keep that belly fit and trim. Taking it one step further. If you have excess fat it will end up in your blood vessels as well. Including the blood vessels that serve the genital area. If there are blockages, it will lead to decreased blood flow to the area where you want it most. You might be surprised to know that testosterone is made from cholesterol. So eating some healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, olives, and avocados are a great way to promote healthy testosterone.
If you are looking for that supplement that helps support the prostate, more specifics about the diet that helps improve libido or the low down on healthy fats, make an appointment here.