Male gender roles have undergone enormous changes over the last decades. Today’s men take parental leave as a matter of course, walk their children in their pushchairs, and do their fair share of housework and childcare without anyone batting an eye. However, when it comes to men’s awareness of their own health, there is still room for improvement: on the one hand, men generally tend to rate their health as better than it actually is, and on the other, they are less aware of physical or psychological issues or underestimate their severity. It’s time for men to reexamine their attitudes here as well and take a more active role.
Men’s health needs to be a man’s job
Preventive healthcare tends to be a weak spot in the stronger sex. While many men take their cars in regularly to be serviced, they often neglect to do the same for their own bodies. They don’t develop an interest in working on their own minds or bodies until their vitality starts showing signs of decline. The charity Movember (a portmanteau word made up out of mustache and November) was founded in 1999 by a group of young Australians as a wake-up call for men. The charity involves men growing mustaches during the month of November to promote better health awareness among men and to raise funds for research and the prevention of men’s health disorders. 20 years later, the initiative has spread across the world and remains untiring in its efforts to persuade members of the stronger sex to pay more attention to their health. After all, many typical men’s health issues can be managed quite easily with the appropriate nutritional and lifestyle changes and preventative medical screening.
Vitamins and minerals for men
Men who devote more time and attention to their bodies usually live better lives. But in order to improve your health, you don’t have to change your entire lifestyle. On the contrary, small but continuous changes are often the ones that have the greatest impact. Micronutrients can also play an important role here. Support from within – in the form of vitamins, minerals or plant extracts optimally adapted to different stages of life – can give men the support they need to cope successfully with a variety of different situations.
Micronutrients for men: let’s talk about... performance
Men are affected by exhausting life situations to about the same extent as women. However, they often take longer to admit to feeling overwhelmed – perhaps because it doesn’t fit in with their self-image, because they fear this might cause a career setback, or because they prefer to solve their problems themselves. This makes it all the more important for them bolster up their resistance to the pressures of everyday life by supporting their mental and physical performance.
In addition to consciously taking regular breaks for rest and relaxation (e.g. deep breathing exercises at work or going for a walk in the woods), men should also pay attention to what they eat: after all, the harder you push yourself, the more fuel you’ll need. The male body requires sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals to remain strong and cope with the demands of day-to-day life. High-quality multi-spectrum preparations can contribute to ensuring an adequate daily nutrient intake and cope with any potential increases in demand. In particularly stressful situations, special customized supplements can also help maintain stamina. Every preparation should include the anti-stress mineral magnesium, which – either on its own or paired with the power vitamins B2, B9 and B12 – can help reduce feelings of tiredness or fatigue.
Micronutrients for men: don’t let your hair down!
Testosterone is the dominant male sex hormone. This is the substance that makes a man a man. But the male hormone’s valuable work is not confined to below the waistline. Testosterone also regulates body hair and promotes growth and hair density. One exception here is the hair on your head. In this case, testosterone promotes hair loss – but only in men who are genetically predisposed. The sooner a man starts taking care of his hair, the better. In addition to external applications such as tinctures or hair tonics, a high-nutrient diet forms the basis for strong and healthy hair. In line with the motto “You are what you eat,” the health and vitality of your hair depends essentially on how well the hair follicles are supplied with nutrients. Nutrients reach the part of the follicle known as the hair papilla via small vessels. The papilla is responsible for the production of new hair cells with an especially high level of division activity. The right nutrients – such as zinc, selenium and biotin – tackle the issue of hair health at its root and help maintain hair vitality for as long as possible.
Micronutrients for men: take control of your fertility
Only 20 centimeters, and yet it is one of the toughest races there is: the distance sperm have to travel to reach the object of their desire – the human ovum. At less than 1 in 500 million, the odds against an individual sperm getting to be the start of a new life are overwhelming. Nevertheless, the more sperm take part in the race and the stronger they are, the better the chances of success. And this appears to be a growing problem, as an increasing number studies show. Apart from diseases and genetic defects, lifestyle choices are the main factor contributing to poor sperm quality. Certain drugs (e.g. antidepressants, anabolic steroids), overheating the testicles (e.g. heated seats, hot baths, placing a laptop computer directly on the body), stress, obesity, alcohol, smoking and an unhealthy diet can all make life difficult for sperm cells.
On the other hand, men can smooth the path to improved sperm quality by giving up smoking, exercising in moderation, eating a balanced and nutritious diet, and making sure they are at a healthy weight. In addition to vitamin B6, which supports hormone activity, and selenium, which is involved in sperm production, zinc plays an especially important role in male fertility. This “men’s mineral” is necessary to ensure that the genetic code is copied correctly during the sperm production process. It also ensures that the genetic code is “correctly packed”, which benefits the lifespan of sperm and increases the probability of fertilization. As well as being indispensable for testosterone production. In the A to Z of fertility, zinc is a must.
Micronutrients for men: the prostate
While male sexual health plays an essential role in conception, it also becomes increasingly important with advancing age. Like the testicles, the prostate is an exclusively male organ. However, many men have only a vague idea of the significance, function, or exact location of the prostate. Ideally, this gland, which is about the size of a chestnut, does its job completely unnoticed and secretes a fluid that makes up about 30% the male ejaculate. It is regulated by the male hormone testosterone.
Many men ask themselves what they can do to keep their body and all its organs strong and healthy when they get older. In the words of George Orwell, “At fifty, every man has the face he deserves.” Or a comment from the classics: “The years of burden are followed by the burden of the years” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe). Both are correct: after all, lifestyle plays a major role in the ageing process. Oxidative stress, which can be caused by years of smoking, environmental toxins or pharmaceuticals, is frequently linked to health problems and is a particularly important contributing factor here. Antioxidant micronutrients such as vitamin E or selenium can protect the body’s cells from free radicals before they change or destroy important structures in the body. Zinc, the men’s mineral, is also in demand once again, due to its effect on testosterone levels.
The role played by zinc in regulating testosterone levels also has an effect on the prostate. If you prefer to rely on the power of plants, you can support your bladder and prostate with a combination of plant-based supplements containing extracts of saw palmetto and willowherb. Saw palmetto extract supports the maintenance of normal urinary function in men aged 45 and over.
A wise man provides for the future
It is time for men to stop leaving their health to chance and take matters into their own hands. The best thing a man can do for his health is to increase his activity levels. This includes, among other things, a balanced diet, regular exercise, mindful relaxation sessions, and maintaining social contacts, talking about the problems that keep you awake at night, and becoming more aware of what is going on in your body. Vitamins, minerals and plant extracts can also be a man’s best friends. They give men vital support in every walk of life and form the basis for successfully coping with stress and other pressures of everyday life.