It’s become more than acceptable for men to take pills for sexual performance purposes. They also do it to protect their prostate (which is, of course, also related to that first item above). They also do it for weekend warrior purposes.
"Men's health," unfortunately, has become something of a synonym for erectile dysfunction, even though men's health problems such as heart disease and diabetes II are deadly, and as far aw we know no one has yet died of erectile dysfunction. According to Nutrition Business Journal, 30 million men presently have erectile dysfunction, and 65 per cent of men over the age of 65 are likely to experience it.
Supplements for men's health
Hot ingredients for men include Ginkgo biloba, maca, yohimbe, epimedium (horny goat weed), and ginseng.
“Arginine, yohimbine, Panax ginseng, maca, andGinkgo biloba all have some degree of evidence they may be helpful for erectile dysfunction,” concludes Duffy McKay, a researcher at Thorne Research. “Improvements in penile endothelial L-arginine-nitric oxide activity appear to be a unifying explanation for the actions of these naturally occurring agents.”1
And guess what? That underlying unifying explanation is exactly how Viagra works as well … cue Barry White.
For prostate health, saw palmetto, selenium and lycopene all have amassed evidence to support prostate health. Researchers at a Veterans Administration hospital in Minnesota in 2002 concluded that saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) “provides mild to moderate improvement in urinary symptoms and flow measures. Serenoa repens produced similar improvement in urinary symptoms and flow compared to finasteride (the pharmaceutical drug), and is associated with fewer adverse treatment events.2
However, some of the same researchers conducted a similar evidence review in 2009. This time, they concluded that saw palmetto was significantly better than placebo at ameliorating the urge to get up and pee in the middle of the night, but not much better for other enlarged prostate symptoms.3 Go figure. It is significant to note that, so far, the various clinical studies using saw palmetto for its effect on prostate problems (and using a combo of saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil) have been conducted using a liquid extract from the saw palmetto seed, which is very high in the elements that have been identified as being efficacious for prostate problems.
Most of what you will find on supplement shelves, however, are capsules containing powdered saw palmetto. One would have to take far more than the two to four capsules recommended by the manufacturers of these powdered capsules to match what is being used effectively in the clinical trials.
Lycopene accounts for half of all the carotenoids found in human blood. It accumulates in particular in the prostate, adrenal glands and testes. A recent Harvard University study found that the more tomato sauce men consume, the less frequency of advanced prostate cancer they get.4 (Lycopene is seen as the active ingredient in tomatoes.)
Selenium, meanwhile, has been shown to reduce the likelihood of prostate cancer. For prostate cancer prevention, 200 micrograms (1/1,000 of a milligram) a day is sufficient, while 300 micrograms is seen as the upper tolerable level.
A 1996 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that selenium reduced colon, lung and prostate cancers by between 50 and 63 percent.5 This led to a 2003 FDA-minted health claim for selenium and prostate cancer.
As a bonus, selenium also has been shown in trials to improve sperm motility in men with low sperm motility. Also, all men are at risk for prostate cancer, and doctors encourage them to get regular PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests after the age of 50. A new study with 30 men demostrated that selenium significantly reduces this marker for prostate cancer. The authors of the test said, "If selenium could lower PSA in healthy, [these] middle-aged men, then it could be proposed that selenium can lower prostate cancer risk in some men, especially as part of an overall dietary plan.”8
For weekend warriors, it’s all about joint health. Glucosamine, 1,500 milligrams per day, and chondroitin at 1,200 milligrams a day, reduced knee pain in a four-month study.6
Krill oil reduced arthritic inflammation and pain within seven days.7 Fish oils can have similar effects.
Of course, beyond natural supplements, pharmaceutical solutions to erectile dysfunction are widely available, especially online. However, if you want to purchase such drugs, it is advisable to use a trustworthy online service such as KwikMed.com, which is actually one of the only sites licensed to prescribe online.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is a public service of WellWise.org, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended to constitute personal medical advice.
8. W. Zhang, et al. Selenium glycinate supplementation increases bloog glutathione peroxidase activities and decreases prostat-specific antigen readings in middle-aged US Men. Nutrition Research (Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2010.10.012)