Caring for the men in our lives

November is all about the men in our lives; our fathers, grandfathers, husbands, partners, brothers, uncles, and friends.

It is now known that Australian men are more likely to become ill and have a higher mortality rate from serious health issues than Australian women [8]. There are a variety of issues that can specifically plague men, such as prostate cancer, prostatitis, premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction just to name a few.

Yoga female cooking homemade salad

Hormonal imbalances and inflammation play a role in the aetiology of many of these conditions. Testosterone, the most important male hormone in men is needed for normal reproductive and sexual function. Testosterone is made predominately in the testes although some is produced in the adrenal glands which sit just above the kidneys. One of the biggest contributors to low testosterone, aside from age, is obesity and where there is obesity there is inflammation Fat cells convert testosterone into estradiol, a form of estrogen, and although small amounts of estrogen are needed in men for healthy bones, too much can be detrimental. Low testosterone can contribute to several health issues such as erectile dysfunction, low semen volume and reduced muscle mass [1].

Some of the major risk factors for prostate cancer are increasing age, family history and a ‘Westernized lifestyle’. Biochemically, inflammation underpins conditions such as prostatitis and prostate cancer and our Western diet can often drive the inflammation [6].

Premature ejaculation can be brought on by anxiety around sexual performance, psychological/relationship issues, erectile dysfunction and sometimes prostatitis, hyperthyroidism, varicocele (varicose veins in the scrotum) or drug use. Once again, inflammation is a major player in a lot of these conditions, therefore reducing the inflammatory response can assist in reducing the incidence of premature ejaculation [4].

Yoga female cooking homemade salad

Consuming a diet high in phytonutrients and antioxidants is an excellent way to reduce the inflammatory load in the body [6]. This can be achieved by incorporating foods such as cacao, goji berry, spirulina, green barley grass, acai berry, moringa leaf, camu camu and chlorella.

The polysaccharides present in goji berries exert a myriad of positive health benefits, but are particularly beneficial to male reproduction. They are shown to increase the quantity, quality and motility of sperm as well as improve sexual performance and protect the testicles against toxic damage [1].

Spirulina has been shown to assist with weight loss [5] as well as acai berry and losing weight can improve hormonal balance and reduce inflammation.

Camu camu is very high in the antioxidant vitamin C and the carotenoids, lutein, beta carotene and xanthins. It also contains concentrations of anthocyanins which can assist in reducing oxidative damage. Camu camu can potentially assist with weight reduction too, therefore reducing systemic inflammation [3].

Yoga female cooking homemade salad

Ensuring the diet incorporates a wide variety of fruits and vegetables along with the consumption of superfoods such as the ones above, will help to provide optimal quantities of the nutrients and antioxidants needed for optimal health and longevity.

  1. Cheng, J., Zhou, Z. W., Sheng, H. P., He, L. J., Fan, X. W., He, Z. X., … Zhou, S. F. (2014). An evidence based update on the pharmacological activities and possible molecular targets of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides. Drug Design, Development and Therapy, 17(9). 33-78.
  2. Fui, M. N. T., Dupuis, P., & Grossmann, M. (2014). Lowered testosterone in male obesity: mechanisms, morbidity and management. Asian Journal of Andrology, 16(2). 223-231.
  3.  Langley, P. C., Pergolizzi, J. V., Taylor, R., & Ridgway, C. (2015). Antioxidant and associated capacities of camu camu (Myrciaria dubia): A systematic review. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(1). 8-14.
  4.  McMahon, C. G., Jannini, E. A., Serefoglu, E. C., & Hellstrom, W. J. G. (2016). The pathophysiology of acquired premature ejaculation. Translational Andrology and Urology, 5(4). 434-449.
  5. Ramamoorthy, A., & Premakumari, S. (1996). Effect of supplementation of spirulina on hypercholesterolemic patients. Journal of Food Science Technology, 33(2). 124-128.
  6. Sfanos, K. S., & De Marzo, A. M. (2012). Prostate cancer and inflammation: the evidence. Histopathology, 60(1).
  7. Urysiak-Czubatka, I., Kmiec, M. L., & Broniarczyk-Dyla, G. (2014). Assessment of the usefulness of dihydrotestosterone in the diagnostics of patients with androgenetic alopecia. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology, 31(4). 207-215.
  8. Queensland Government, Queensland Health (2015).

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