Men's Wellness the Natural Way by Ellen Kamhi, RN, Ph.D

With so much recent attention directed towards women’s health, it is no surprise that men sometimes feel left out. Men tend to pay a lot less attention to their own health than women. They visit the doctor only after having prolonged symptoms, and are less likely to go in for a preventive annual physical.

The most prevalent health issues facing men today center on the following key areas: Heart health, energy enhancement, mental acuity, prostate wellness and sexual support. Eating a diet that is both high in organic fruits/vegetables, and low in fried, processed/junk food, is the first and foremost step on the road to health.

Couple this with 30-45 minutes of exercise daily to insure the best chance at sustaining overall wellness. After addressing diet and exercise, stress reduction practices such as meditation, prayer and regular time spent in nature are of the utmost importance. Herbal and nutritional supplements are next. They are a safe and effective addition to an overall healthy lifestyle plan.

Hawthorn has a normalizing effect upon the heart, improving cellular metabolism while strengthening contractions, thereby improving the rate of blood flow throughout the body. The herb also helps maintain the integrity of the venal and arterial walls, while exhibiting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Hawthorn is useful as a long-term heart tonic for maintaining overall cardiovascular wellness. Hawthorn may be combined with Linden and Cayenne for a balanced herbal cardiovascular tonic. High homocysteine levels have been found to be more accurate at predicting pending cardiovascular problems than a high cholesterol reading. Be sure you have your homocysteine level measured during your annual physical.

Nutrients well-documented for their ability to lower homocysteine levels include Vitamin B-6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12, Trimethylglycine and Red Yeast Rice. Coenzyme Q-10 acts like a “spark plug” for cells, and is recommended by many cardiologists, while the heart health benefits of both Vitamin E and EPA Fish Oil are well-documented by a wealth of medical research. Personal and professional pressures placed on men today often lead to decreased energy levels. Herbs can help. Ginseng has been an honored "energizing" herb for thousands of years, while Ashwagandha and Suma provide long-term tonic support. Ginkgo Biloba works by increasing blood circulation to the brain and other tissues, delivering oxygen to key areas of the body.

Men's concern over prostate health centers around two main potential problems. The most common is Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, or BPH, where the prostate enlarges and causes several annoying symptoms, such as the frequent urge to urinate, especially at night. Although in no way as serious as the more dangerous condition of prostate cancer, prostate enlargement is one of the most common physical problems affecting men, occurring in almost 80 percent of men over 70. Besides diet and exercise, several supplements can help. Omega 3 fatty acids, such as EPA/DHA and Flaxseed Oil lessen the risk of BPH. Saw Palmetto is a well-researched herb that has been shown to be specifically effective for this problem. Lycopene, found in tomatoes and other red fruits such as watermelon and pink grapefruit, also provides beneficial support to the prostate.

The search for sexual enhancing herbs and nutrients has been ongoing since the earliest of times. Many natural substances have gained recognition in this area, some through folklore, and others through proven scientific validity, such as Yohimbe. Although it may cause anxiety in some users, Yohimbe can increase circulation to the sex organs, improving both virility and performance. Muira Puama, also known as 'Warrior Wood" and " Potency Wood", has been traditionally used by both men and women in Brazil to increase libido and sexual performance. It is listed in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, recommended as a treatment for impotence. Studies in France have verified the herb's usefulness for men for increasing libido and reducing impotence. Other herbal sexual enhancers include Oats, Damiana and Korean Ginseng.

Ellen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, is on 90.1 fm (Fridays 6 pm) 90.3 fm (Tues 6:30 pm & Thurs 12 noon). She is the author of The Natural Guide To Great Sex. She answers consumer questions at www.naturesanswer.com http://www.naturesanswer.com, and has a private practice on Long Island. Visit www.naturalnurse.com or call 800-829-0918.

References for Educational Purposes: Fleshner NE, Vitamin E and prostate cancer. Urol Clin North Am. 2002 Feb; 29(1):107-13; Gerber GS. Saw Palmetto for the treatment of men with lower urinary tract symptoms. J Urol. May 2000;163(5):1408-12; Kucuk O, Sarkar FH, Sakr W, et al. Phase II randomized clinical trial of lycopene supplementation before radical prostatectomy. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. Aug2001;10(8):861-8; Le Bars PL, Katz MM, Berman N, et al. A Placebo-controlled, Double-blind, Randomized Trial of an Extract of Ginkgo Biloba for Dementia. North American EGb Study Group. JAMA. Oct 1997;278(16):1327-32; Riley AJ. Yohimbine in the treatment of erectile disorder.Br J Clin Pract. 1994 May Jun;48(3):133-6.