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Functional Medicine, Men's Health, Wellness

Calling All Men: It’s Time to Get Serious About Your Health.

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Functional Medicine, Men's Health, Wellness

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June is Men’s Health Month! And we have a lot to talk about. 

Did you know that men have significantly more research done about their health, yet they’re less likely than women to go to the doctor for tests and annual checkups? Men often choose to “tough it out” on all fronts — physical and mental health. The results are dire, with increasing levels of cancer, chronic conditions, and suicide.  

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Ignoring health issues doesn’t make them go away but confronting them head on can prevent them. In this blog, we’ll discuss six common health issues for men: testosterone levels, changing libido, hair loss, prostate health, cancer and chronic disease, and suicide. Then, we’ll give you tips on how to manage them. 

1. Testosterone 

Every man knows testosterone is a key player for building muscles and having sex, but did you know that it also plays a role in metabolic health, mood, and weight? 

Each man’s testosterone levels are different, so there’s no one “normal” testosterone level. Instead, normal testosterone is described as a range between 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter. Men between the ages of 20-29 hit peak testosterone and then slowly decrease after the age of 30.  

As testosterone decreases with age, it may hit levels lower than the normal range. These low levels start affecting glucose, serotonin, and blood sugar.  

Relationship Between Testosterone and Metabolic Health 

Studies show that there’s a link between low testosterone and insulin resistance, meaning that testosterone plays a role in processing glucose. 

When there isn’t enough testosterone, the body can’t process glucose as effectively and it causes blood sugar to rise. Elevated blood sugar or insulin resistance can cause weight gain, type 2 diabetes, or metabolic syndrome. 

Relationship Between Testosterone and Mood 

Testosterone affects mood on a biological and psychological level. Although low testosterone doesn’t directly translate to depression, it may slow down serotonin production (the happy hormone). Low testosterone may also cause fatigue, health problems, or erectile dysfunction: all issues that are frustrating and may cause depression or stress. 

2. Libido 

No two men have the same libido; even men with similar lifestyles and health habits can differ! 

Keep in mind, libido is not the same as sex drive—libido is your sexual desire + how often you have sex. A problem with libido signifies that these are imbalanced. 

As men age, it’s natural for libido to decrease. But just because it’s natural doesn’t mean we’re all happy about it! Decreased libido has many sources—stress, lowered testosterone, metabolic health, erectile dysfunction.  

Erectile Dysfunction 

Over 50% of men in the US suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), making it a very common condition. There’s not one source that erectile dysfunction comes from, but there are precursors that could cause it like blood circulation issues, low testosterone, chronic conditions like diabetes, or stress.  

 3. Hair Loss 

Why is hair loss such a big issue for men but not women? 

The reason why men start to lose hair or have a receding hairline is mostly due to a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia. This condition is the source of 95% of hair loss. 

Androgenetic alopecia causes sensitivity to testosterone byproduct called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The sensitivity causes hair follicles to shrink and get shorter over time, eventually balding or leaving a receded hair line.  

Stress can also compound the effects of androgenetic alopecia, since cortisol stops hair follicles from growing. 

4. Prostate Health 

The University of Pennsylvania found that almost every man will have some form of enlarged prostate in his lifetime, whether that be benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, also known as enlarged prostate), prostate cancer, or prostatitis. 

 Although the condition is almost guaranteed, doctors still cannot pinpoint an exact cause-and-effect for these prostate health issues. They hypothesize that prostate enlargement stems from inflammation, low testosterone, natural aging, or metabolic issues—but there’s no way to know for sure. Because of the guarantee but also unknowns, it’s imperative for men to understand the risk and get tested. 

 5. Cancer and Chronic Disease 

Men have higher rates of getting and dying from cancer than women, and they’re more likely to suffer from chronic disease.  

The most common conditions are diabetes, lung cancer, and skin cancer. There are a few reasons: men are more likely to work in manual labor environments where they’re exposed to toxins, men are less likely to wear sunscreen, more likely to engage in risky behaviors (such as alcohol, or smoking), and less likely to go to the doctor for checkups, labs, and screenings.  

Although some of these precursors are unavoidable for some men (such as working in a manual labor profession), other lifestyle choices like alcohol consumption or going to the doctor can be changed. 

6. Mental Health 

Men are more 4x more likely to die by suicide than women, since they’re less likely to reach out for help and more likely to choose a guaranteed lethal option. This may be due to gender norms and lack of education about symptoms. 

Improving Health for Men 

Although men face health issues, there is always an opportunity for taking charge of health. If you’re ready to improve your health, we recommend practicing foundational health, scheduling annual appointments, taking mental health seriously, wearing sun protection, and taking supplements. 

Practice Foundational Health 

Whenever you have health goals, it’s always best to start by practicing foundational health. Foundational health is getting enough exercise, balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and managing stress. No health initiative will work without these pillars. 

Exercise 

150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week is recommended. 

Diet 

A whole food, nutrient dense, paleo or Mediterranean style diet, are generally best for supporting metabolic health and a strong immune system.

Sleep 

7-9 hours of high-quality sleep is recommended to balance mental and physical health. 

Manage Stress 

Stress affects everything—mental and physical health! It’s important to find a healthy outlet to release stress like meditating, joining community, exercising, or another hobby. 

Schedule Annual Labs and Doctor’s Visits 

It cannot be stressed enough how imperative it is for men to take their health seriously and not “tough it out”.  

Statistics show that men are likely to avoid doctor’s visits, ignore health problems, or try to fix it on their own. Unfortunately, avoiding screenings and doctor’s visits does NOT make health problems go away—it only compounds them further.  

As a man who wants to take his health seriously, make sure you are taking annual labs and screening for health conditions. If you feel off, make an appointment and don’t wait! Many health concerns can be prevented with root-cause targeting. At Alive and Well, we offer a Men’s Health Panel as a one and done panel for men’s health screenings including testosterone, DHEA, metabolic health, and more. 

Take Mental Health Seriously 

Mental health is not something to be ashamed of.  

The belief that men shouldn’t have feelings is one of the past because of the alarming suicide rates. If you are struggling with mental health, reach out to a medical professional, trusted friend, partner, or family member. No matter what you’re experiencing, there is always a solution and someone that will support you. 

Wear Sun Protection 

Studies consistently report that men use less sunscreen than women. In fact, CDC reported in 2020 that only 13% of men regularly wear sunscreen! Is it any surprise that skin cancer is a common disease for men? 

Protect your skin from UV rays with SPF 30+ and reapply every two hours. SPF is necessary even with dark skin.  

Choose zinc oxide sunscreen for the most optimal sun protection: we recommend the Mad Hippie Ultra Sheer Body SPF 40+. This sunscreen is chemical-free and supplies natural healing properties to keep skin supple. 

Take Supplements 

Supplements are useful tools for increasing nutrients into your diet and targeting health concerns. Here are our expert picks for overall wellness, prostate health, hormone health, libido, and hair growth. 

 Overall Wellness

 

NuMedica Foundational Essentials for Men 

The Foundational Essentials for Men multivitamin supplies three nutritional formulas for a day-to-day dosing. The formulas include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbals for men’s issues like prostate and cardiovascular health. This supplement is ideal for men looking for a way to increase nutrient intake.
 

 Prostate Health 

Xymogen Prostate Flow

Managing prostate health is an absolute necessity for aging men, and this supplement makes it easy. The clinically meaningful level of key ingredients supports hormones and urinary flow for overall prostate health. 

 Hormone Health 


Symphony RevolutionPRO Men’s Hormone Health Capsules 

RevolutionPRO Men’s Hormone Health Capsules are designed for men’s biology and balancing hormone health. Ideal for men with low hormone levels, the concentration of maca phenotypes maximizes the absorption for optimal hormone production, heart health, and reproductive function. 

 Libido 

Designs for Health Libido Stim-M 

Designs for Health Libido Stim-M is the #1 practitioner supplement recommended and trusted by functional medicine professionals. This supplement targets male reproductive hormones for improved erectile function. 

Hair Growth 

Nutrafol Men Capsule 

Start your hair growth journey with this supplement especially designed for men. The Nutrafol supplement targets hair loss root-causes like hormone imbalances, stress, and diet. This supplement improves thickness, length, and scalp coverage—without any sexual health side effects. 

 Alive and Well’s Commitment to Men’s Health 

Men’s health issues like testosterone levels, libido, hair loss, prostate health, cancer, and mental health are real—they don’t go away with ignorance. At Alive and Well, we understand the apprehension towards the typical doctor’s appointment, so we practice functional medicine for a comprehensive approach. 

Functional medicine prioritizes root-cause analysis, prevention, and individualized care. Whether you have a current health concern, interested in annual labs, or just need a checkup, our providers will listen carefully and give you actionable steps to improve your health. For long-term benefits, we offer Optimal Health Membership and Functional Care Packages to help you stay on track with your progress and hold yourself accountable.  

Schedule an Appointment with a Provider 

 

Sources: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/testosterone–what-it-does-and-doesnt-do 

https://www.healthline.com/health/low-testosterone/low-testosterone-blood-sugar-levels#causation 

https://www.webmd.com/men/features/keep-testosterone-in-balance

https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/mens-health

https://www.webmd.com/men/features/6-top-health-threats-men

https://www.pennmedicine.org/for-patients-and-visitors/patient-information/conditions-treated-a-to-z/enlarged-prostate#:~:text=The%20actual%20cause%20of%20prostate,cancer)%20do%20not%20develop%20BPH.

https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453016309003#:~:text=Studies%20have%20shown%20that%20testosterone,et%20al.%2C%202017).

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