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Do you need a male MOT?

Don’t be shy guys! Visit your local health store for confidential and informed health advice

“Men are notoriously poor patients and tend not to seek help or indeed even talk about a health issue until they have to,” says Matt Ronan from health store Evolv in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. “It is usually somebody else that nags them to get some help. A one-to-one chat with a good technically-minded health store staff member can often yield wonderful results – and they can pull together a plan of action for dealing with everyday health issues, like poor energy or achy joints, whilst also addressing preventative health and formulating a more comprehensive approach which ensures quality of life going forward.”

“Despite improvements over the last decade, men are still lagging behind in disease prevention and natural health maintainance in Ireland,” says Gerald Colfer of health store Only Natural in Wexford town. “We’re prone to our own gamut of ‘male’ issues, but fortunately it’s easy for us to lessen our risks in this respect.”

Keeping your MOT up to date

“Apart from the basics of ensuring a wholesome and balanced diet, getting adequate exercise and drinking enough water would be my specific recommendations for men,” says Gerald Colfer. “I would also recommend the following in terms of supplements to keep the body in good condition:

  • A multivitamin – no matter how good your diet is it can usually do with some help.
  • A fish oil supplement – benefits include blood pressure lowering, better cardiovascular, brain and joint health as well as mood regulation.
  • Vitamin D – when combined with fish oils it has been shown to help in the treatment and prevention of depression which can be harder for men to deal with as we’re less likely to talk about it.
  • Ginseng – apart from its traditional association with improving male libido, it can often improve general vitality.
  • Saw palmetto – a herb used in the treatment of benign enlargement of the prostate, which affects older men, and in the prevention of prostate cancer.
  • Lycopene – a potent antioxidant that has reported benefits of increased cardiovascular health and prostate cancer prevention.”

Matt Ronan’s recommendations include “omega-3 and vitamin E for cardiovascular well-being; zinc augmented with nettle and saw palmetto for prostate health; antioxidants including selenium with vitamin D is a terrific all-rounder contributing to better mood and immune system.”

Healthy heart

“As cardiovascular disease of one type or another is still by far the leading cause of death in Ireland, and men are known to be affected by this substantially more than women, prevention deserves some serious consideration by all men,” says Matt Ronan. “Fish oils are known to have a profound effect on improving cardiovascular health, and a quality omega-3 should be an important part of any man’s programme for health. Stress levels are also a huge contributor and well worth having a look at. With inflammation now recognised as a major contributor to cardiovascular disease it is vital that your diet has enough antioxidants, and if not then supplementation is a simple solution.”

Sports maintenance

“I would be a firm believer that many men engage in exercise and training, but neglect to do any regular care of muscles in terms of massage,” says Matt Ronan. “I have found that a regular massage helps to prevent muscles becoming unnecessarily tight and sore, therefore injury is much less likely and can be headed off before it develops into anything problematic. Men who do regular exercise or indeed repetitive manual work would be well advised to take a high strength magnesium supplement to avoid muscular tightness.”

Dealing with stress

“If stress is a significant factor in your life take a B vitamin supplement high in B5 as well as getting the endorphin kick from regular exercise,” says Gerald Colfer. “Meditation and mindfulness practices are also of real benefit.” Rhodiola also helps with stress, as does the supplement L-theanine. Magnesium in a spray or tablet is also good for stress and anxiety.

Prostate care

“Prostate health is of course going to be on the horizon for all men, but if it begins to be an issue it is often quite manageable with supportive supplements once proper diagnosis is established,” says Matt Ronan. A number of natural prostate health supplements are designed to ease an enlarged prostate gland. Zinc helps to prevent the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, which can lead to prostate problems. Other supplements to look out for are vitamins C and B6, zinc with copper and the herb nettle which has a relaxing effect on the urinary tract.

Other men’s health issues

Health issue: fertility issues
Recommended: arginine in a fertility formulation or include more nuts, fish and eggs in your diet. Zinc also helps sperm production.

Health issue: decreasing testosterone
Recommended: chromium to stabilise blood sugar levels and omega 3 to boost good cholesterol. Blood sugar and cholesterol levels are affected by falling levels of testosterone in the body. The supplement L-arginine is good for improving sexual and athletic performance.

Health issue: joint pain
Recommended: glucosamine to strengthen cartilage. It is hard to find in common foods, so best to take a supplement. Fish oils help with joint inflammation. Glucosamine is taken for arthritis and joint issues, along with anti-inflammatories like turmeric and specific formulations.

Health issue: eyes
Recommended: selenium benefits the eyes. It is found in small amounts in brazil nuts, eggs, garlic and brown rice, seafood and yeast or take a supplement.

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