Men’s Health Month: Sexual Health
In the final blog of my Men’s Health series, I’m going to have a look at sexual health and the health of the prostate.
ZINC: THE KING OF MINERALS FOR MEN
Most men are at risk of low zinc levels, and this is especially true of young men and boys going through puberty. This is because the prostate gland, sexual development and the production of sperm all require this vital mineral, which is also recognised as being low in most diets.
Zinc plays a role in:
• Normal cognitive function
• Normal fertility and reproduction
• Normal protein synthesis
• Normal vision
• The health of the bones
• The health of the skin, hair and nails
• The maintenance of normal testosterone levels.
So, the message to all men is – don’t ignore your need for zinc!
Low zinc levels during the teenage years are linked to the development of acne and acne scarring. In later life, low zinc can impact fertility and, as you age, the health of your prostate gland.
The best dietary sources of zinc are shellfish, followed by meat and legumes (chickpeas, lentils and beans). Zinc can easily be topped up with a daily supplement if you think your diet may not provide what you need.
SUPPORTING HEALTHY FERTILITY
As already mentioned, Zinc has a role to play here. The other important nutrients to support male fertility are selenium and CO-Q-10.
SELENIUM: Selenium is required for healthy sperm production. Unfortunately, this vital mineral is recognised as being low in many diets – due to its depletion from the soils worldwide. Low selenium levels have also been linked to an increased risk of cancers and heart disease.
CO-Q-10: For any man worried about their fertility, a Selenium supplement which includes zinc with vitamins A, C and E would be ideal. For those seeking natural help for fertility and energy production, adding a CO-Q-10 supplement to the selenium would create an ideal regime. Research has indicated that CO-Q-10 helps to support energy production and increases sperm motility – meaning they can swim faster and further, potentially increasing the chance of conception.
SUPPORTING A HEALTHY PROSTATE
As men age, the focus generally shifts from fertility to urinary health, and therefore the health of their prostate. The prostate gland is a small gland found only in men. It surrounds the tube that carries urine out of the body – the urethra. The job of the prostate is to produce the thick, white fluid that gets mixed with sperm to create semen.
As men age, this gland can start to swell, pressing on the bladder and urethra – which in turn can cause issues with urination.
This swelling is most often referred to as Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) and the main symptoms include:
• Finding it difficult to start urinating
• Straining to urinate or having a weak flow of urine
• Needing to urinate urgently and/or frequently
• Needing to get up frequently in the night to urinate
• Accidentally leaking urine (urinary incontinence)
These symptoms, or any other changes, should always be checked by a doctor.
However, if you do have a diagnosis of BPH, then there are natural remedies which can offer support:
ZINC: Zinc plays a vital role in the health of the prostate.
PUMPKIN SEEDS: Including pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed oil in your diet has been said to help reduce some of the symptoms of BPH.
SAW PALMETTO: A botanical supplement which has been shown to help reduce inflammation in the prostate gland. Many men choose to try Saw Palmetto supplements to help reduce the symptoms of BPH. Saw Palmetto can be taken on its own, but some supplements will combine it with zinc and pumpkin seed, to provide an easy all in one support.
If you missed my previous blogs on Men’s Health, be sure to check them out here:
Written by Jenny Logan DNMed (Jenny is a nutritional therapist who has worked with clients in health food stores and private clinics for over 20 years).