Top 3 Supplements For Men

Marie Parks

While there’s a common stereotype that men aren’t as health-conscious as women, we know for a fact that there are plenty of men out there that are just as (or more) health-savvy than women.

Some people are fortunate to have genes that make them less prone to developing certain conditions and diseases. Despite good genetics, these people should still be aware of health measures, risks, and strategies they can take to be proactive.

And whether you’re big into supplements, or just looking to stay healthy, we’re here to help you out. Since we recently published a blog on the top 3 supplements for women, we wanted to provide the same guidelines for men.

These are just general suggestions for all men (not delving too much into hormone balancing since levels can greatly vary from person to person). Here they are.

Men's Supplement #1: Saw Palmetto

One area of health that men have to keep an eye on that women do not is their prostate. While it might not be of concern during the younger years, as men get older, the prostate needs to be checked as it’s a common cause of various health issues such as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and prostate cancer.

About 25% of men in their 40s have BPH, while it affects 80% of men in their 70s.1 The severity of BPH varies, but typically results in urinary frequency. While this can be treated with conventional meds, these compounds often have undesirable side effects like sexual dysfunction.2

Compared to some of the prescription medications that are given for BPH, saw palmetto has been shown to be as effective for improving urinary symptoms, without side effects.3-5

For superior effects in helping to mitigate urinary frequency, saw palmetto has been shown to work well in combination with nettle root and pygeum.6

How does it work? Saw palmetto blocks the conversion of testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is the form of testosterone that increases prostate growth.7,8 Saw palmetto also contains beta-sitosterol, which can block the proliferation of prostate cancer cells.

Men's Supplement #2: Lycopene

Naturally found in tomatoes, lycopene is an antioxidant that’s shown to provide a broad variety of health benefits. Research has conveyed the ability of lycopene to inhibit human cancer cell growth, particularly in prostate cancer cells.9-12 Numerous studies have shown an inverse relationship between lycopene intake and prostate cancer risk.13,14

Beyond the age-related problems with prostate function, men have a 1.5-times higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than women.15 Lycopene protects against processes in the brain that are associated with Parkinson’s.16,17

That’s not where lycopene’s protection stops…

Plaque that builds up in the arteries causes atherosclerosis, which can lead to more serious health issues like heart attack and stroke. Studies have shown that those with the highest serum lycopene levels have a 45% lower risk of atherosclerosis.18

Men's Supplement #3: CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10)

Being the key player in cellular energy production, CoQ10 has also been shown to play a role in sperm’s energy production. CoQ10 supplementation has resulted in improvements in fertility by increasing sperm count and mobility.19, 20

In addition to fertility, CoQ10 protects against the development of heart disease. In particular, it has demonstrated a 43% relative decrease in major cardiovascular events such as stroke and heart attack, when compared to placebo, as well as a 43% reduction in cardiovascular-related deaths.21

The Bottom Line

As part of a foundation regimen, all men should include saw palmetto, lycopene, and CoQ10. Keep in mind that the requirements may be different for each person depending on their health status and goals. For more specific suggestions, feel free to contact our Wellness Specialists at 1-800-226-2370.

References:

1. N Engl J Med. 2012;367(3):248-57.
2. Phytother Res. 2013;27(2):218-26.
3. Arzneimittelforschung. 2006;56(3):222-9.
4. BJU Int. 2000;86(4):439-42.
5. Int Urol Nephrol. 2007;39(4):1137-46.
6. World J Urol. 2014;32(5):1149-54.
7. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009(2):Cd001423.
8. Phytomedicine. 2007;14(7-8):568-79.
9. Life Sci. 2015;126:42-56.
10. J Nutr. 2005 Feb;135(2):287-90.
11. Enzymes. 2015;37:139-66.
12. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014 Feb;106(2):djt430.
13. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 2001; 10: 749–56.
14. Exp. Biol. Med. 2002; 227: 852–9.
15. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004 Apr;75(4):637-9.
16. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2002 Jun;48(3):251-4.
17. Neurochem Res. 2011 Aug;36(8):1435-43.
18. Atherosclerosis. 2000 Jan;148(1):49-56.
19. Mol Aspects Med 1997; 18: S213-19.
20. Biofactors. 2011 Sep-Oct;37(5):374-80.
21. JACC Heart Fail. 2014 Dec;2(6):641-9.

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Tocotrienols: Vitamin E's Other Half

Vitamin E is just vitamin E, right? Not exactly.

Most of us know vitamin E as “alpha tocopherol” (whether we realize it or not). However, in addition to alpha, there are beta, delta, and gamma tocopherols as well as alpha, beta, delta, and gamma tocotrienols.

Of the eight forms of vitamin E, the tocotrienols receive considerably less attention than the tocopherols. Investigation into tocotrienols' benefits and properties still only constitutes a small percentage of the research involving vitamin E.1

Despite the fact that alpha tocopherol may be the dominant form of vitamin E in the plasma,2 the essentiality of the tocotrienols cannot be denied.

Tocotrienols Guard Your Heart

One of the main factors causing heart disease is the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is also known as “bad cholesterol.” Tocotrienols become incorporated into these lipoproteins where they guard against their oxidation.3 Supplementation with tocotrienols has also exhibited a reduction in LDL levels.4,5

Research on alpha and delta tocotrienols indicate that they have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease, possibly due in part to their inhibition of inflammation.6,7

The Connection Between Tocotrienols and Breast Cancer

Tocotrienols have shown an inhibitory effect in several human breast cancer cell lines.8 In one study, a tocotrienol-rich fraction of palm oil that contained tocotrienols and alpha tocopherol had an inhibitory effect on proliferation and long term growth, while alpha tocopherol alone failed to inhibit either.9

According to one review, "The exact reason why tocotrienols are more potent than tocopherols is not completely understood, but at least part of the reason is because of greater cellular accumulation."10

Prostate Cancer Protection

Research involving the exposure of prostate cancer cells and noncancerous prostate cells to the tocotrienol-rich fraction of palm oil found an increase in apoptosis (programmed cell death) and growth arrest in the cancerous cells.11

Other studies suggest that gamma-tocotrienol acts through multiple signaling pathways against prostate cancer.12 In experimental research, gamma tocotrienol administered for two weeks shrunk prostate tumors, and its combined administration with docetaxel further inhibited tumor growth.13

Research on Tocotrienols and Brain Health

Comparisons of plasma tocotrienol levels in individuals with varying degrees of brain function (from normal function to severe dysfunction) conveys the ability of tocotrienols to be supportive of healthy cognitive function.

Lower levels of plasma tocotrienol levels are associated with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.14 Also of interest is that tocotrienol supplementation was found to halt the growth of white matter lesions in the brain (a potential risk factor for Alzheimer’s).15,16

The Bottom Line

The information concerning tocotrienols’ many benefits is not intended to argue for the supplementation of tocotrienols over tocopherols, but to bring attention to this long-neglected half of the vitamin E family. It's recommended to supplement with both tocopherols and tocotrienols to obtain the best nutritional status.

References:

  1. Chandan KS et al. Mol Aspects Med.2007;28(5-6):692–728.
  2. Chow CK. Am J Clin Nutr. 1975 Jul;28(7):756-60.
  3. Suama C et al. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1993 Feb 24;1166(2-3):163-70.
  4. Qureshi AA et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Apr;53(4 Suppl):1021S-1026S.
  5. Baliarsingh S et al. Atherosclerosis. 2005 Oct;182(2):367-74.
  6. Theriault A et al. Atherosclerosis. 2002 Jan;160(1):21-30.
  7. Wu SJ et al. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Aug;52(8):921-9.
  8. Nesaretnam K et al. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2000;51 Suppl:S95-103.
  9. Nesaretnam K et al. Lipids. 1995 Dec;30(12):1139-43.
  10. Sylvester PW et al. Front Biosci. 2005 Jan 1;10:699-709.
  11. Srivastava JK et al. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Jul 28;346(2):447-53.
  12. Yap WN et al. Br J Cancer. 2008 Dec 2;99(11):1832-41.
  13. Yap WN et al. Pharmacology. 2010;85(4):248-58.
  14. Mangialasche F et al. Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Oct;33(10):2282-90.
  15. Gopalan Y et al. Stroke. 2014 May;45(5):1422-8.
  16. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2005;76:1286-1288

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5 Key Nutrients For Healthy Traveling

Holli Lapes, RD, LD/N

Many people find themselves over-packing when preparing for travel. But if you aren’t bringing your supplements with you, maybe you're under-packing. 

It makes sense to be prepared. And you can help your body get ready for travel by boosting your immune system before (and during) your trip.

While we travel, our bodies are exposed to a variety of pathogens including bacteria and viruses which leave us susceptible to illness.

That's why in the weeks leading up to your trip, it makes sense to work on proactively boosting your immune system with zinc, vitamin D, probiotics, and DNA-protective nutrients.

Fight Off Invaders with Zinc and Vitamin D

Evidence suggests vitamin D has a critical role in the regulation of the human immune system, and may reduce the risk of acquiring certain bacterial and viral infections.1,2

For optimal health, we should maintain vitamin D blood levels of 50–80 ng/mL. If you are not already in this range (or to maintain these levels) consider taking at least 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily.

You may already have some zinc in your multivitamin but is it enough to fight off invaders? An additional 20–50 mg of zinc could be your saving grace!3 Air quality, local pollutants, hotel vents and that recycled air on the plane may increase your exposure to pathogens and contribute to your risk of developing an infection. Zinc has antiviral properties that may prevent the rhinovirus from attaching to cells in the nasal passages, especially when taken as a lozenge in the form of zinc acetate.4

Bacteria That Works In Your Favor

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are found in small quantities in food such as yogurt. These live bacteria can populate humans, offering a wide variety of health benefits to the host, including immune health. With 70% of our immune system function relying on the integrity of our gut flora, we want to make sure we are equipped with plenty of beneficial bacteria.5 Leading up to your trip, consider a high potency probiotic blend.A probiotic supplement containing a variety of strains and at least 15 billion CFU is a great way to maintain healthy gut flora during your trip.

Gut flora not only influences our immune system but also our brain! Experiencing business trip anxiety? Certain strains such as Lactobacillus helveticus strain R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum strain R0175 have been shown to reduce perceived stress and promote relaxation.6

Protect Your DNA

Did you know that airplanes expose us to radiation comparable to receiving an X-ray? In fact, a flight from New York to Los Angeles exposes you to roughly the same amount of radiation you'd get from eight dental X-rays.7 Radiation exposes the body to free radicals that can interact with our tissues and disturb cell structures like DNA.

A blend of DNA-protective nutrients including organic spirulina powder, lemon balm extract and ginkgo8-10 extract can help to boost the body’s natural defenses and shield our vital cellular structures. This is an especially important consideration for frequent flyers, pilots and flight attendants.11

Melatonin has strong antioxidant properties, which can also protect our DNA and promote healthy cell division.12 Most people use melatonin for its role in promoting optimal sleep using an average dose of 3 mg.

You have a full day ahead of you tomorrow … don’t let excitement or that uncomfortable hotel bed keep you from getting a good night’s rest. If you are traveling somewhere where you will experience a time difference compared to the time zone at home that you are used to, use melatonin to quickly help adjust your body’s circadian cycle.13

References:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21242105
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21171208
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21328251
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10929163
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20803023
  6. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.4161/gmic.2.4.16108
  7. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/11/14/245183244/cosmic-rays-sound-scary-but-radiation-risk-on-a-flight-is-small
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20858648
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17711926
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11749812
  11. http://ingentaconnect.com/content/asma/asem/2014/00000085/00000008/art00008
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16682846
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22812159

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5 Nutrients to Fight Hearing Loss

Marie Parks

Cars, planes, concerts, and fireworks.  What do these all have in common? (No, we’re not talking about traveling and the 4th of July). All of these are examples of things that lead to noise-induced hearing loss.

There’s about 10 million U.S adults who suffer from noise-induced hearing loss, with around 40 million that are affected by tinnitus (chronic ringing in the ears). The scary part is that the number of people affected by hearing loss is increasing, and it’s developing at younger and younger ages.1,2

One of the reasons for these changes may be due to the rise in the use of personal listening devices like headphones and Bluetooth, as they’re often listened to at volumes that are sufficient to cause hearing loss.3,4

How Does Hearing Loss Happen?

The ear isn’t that big, but it’s quite complex…so we’re going to go over the basics of how hearing loss occurs.

The inner ear is filled with fluid and is lined with specialized nerve and hair cells.
When there’s a noise, it causes the fluid to move, which generates electrical impulses that are then processed into the sound you hear.

When a noise is loud, it causes hair cells to die which results in hearing loss.5,6 Impulse noise (sudden loud noise) poses a higher risk than continuous noise. If you’re exposed to continuous loud noise like loud traffic or power tools, you can wear ear plugs to muffle the noise. However, sometimes impulse noise comes without notice, which is why it’s important to make sure that you’re taking the necessary precautions to reduce the damage that it causes to your hearing.

Even if you’re not exposed to noises that you’d consider to be loud, you’re involuntarily exposed to a constant level of noise due to the natural environment, making it even more crucial to protect your ears at all times.

The maximum safe level of sound is 70 decibels, but many people are exposed to sound levels above 74 decibels on a daily basis (public transport sound levels themselves can even exceed 79 decibels)!7-11

Supplements That Help Protect Against Hearing Loss

Those who are aware that they will be exposed to loud noise (for example: construction and factory workers, hunters, as well as concert performers and staff) can take precaution by wearing ear plugs, which can help dampen the sound while still allowing you to hear conversations and music at a safer decibel.

In addition to ear plugs, here are some supplements that have shown to protect your ears to keep your hearing at its sharpest.

1. Magnesium has been repeatedly shown to decrease the frequency and severity of hearing loss.12 Impressively, many of these studies were done in military settings where exposure to loud noise takes place on a regular basis.13-15

2. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and acetyl L-carnitine (ALC) provide potent antioxidant defense and cellular energy support, respectively. Both of these properties help to protect hearing from loud noise before and after exposure.16-18 NAC and ALC have shown to guard against ear hair cell loss up to four hours after noise exposure!19,20

3. Lipoic acid is another antioxidant that counteracts free-radical damage to the hearing process caused by impulse noise.21,22

4. Melatonin offers more than sleep support! It also reduces ear damage and has shown to protect hearing better than some medications!23,24 Furthermore, melatonin can help decrease symptoms of tinnitus.25,26

5. Taurine has been found to reverse some of the processes that cause hearing loss.27,28 In addition to helping to keep hair cell function restored, studies have demonstrated that taurine can reduce (and in some cases, eliminate) ringing in the ears.29-31

The Bottom Line

Wherever you are and whatever you do, you’re exposed to noise at varying levels of loudness, most of which are enough to impart ear damage. Don’t wait until it’s too late to optimize your defense against noise-induced hearing loss.

References:

  1. Int J Environ Res Public Health.2010 Oct;7(10):3730-8.
  2. Neuron.2010 Jun 24;66(6):819-26.
  3. J Speech Lang Hear Res.2011 Feb;54(1):263-77.
  4. J Adolesc Health.2011 Feb;48(2):203-8.
  5. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol.2009 Jun;118(6):417-27.
  6. Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov.2010 Jun;5(2):147-63.
  7. Environ Sci Technol.2012 Jan 3;46(1):500-8. 
  8. AAOHN J.1997 Aug;45(8):397-408; quiz 09-10.
  9. Am J Ind Med.1997 Jan;31(1):75-9.
  10. Noise Health.2010 Jul-Sep;12(48):155-8.
  11. Eur J Epidemiol.1994 Oct;10(5):549-54.
  12. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol.2004 Aug;113(8):672-5.
  13. Schriftenr Ver Wasser Boden Lufthyg.1993;88:503-16.
  14. Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci.2004 Dec;29(6):635-41.
  15. Am J Otolaryngol.1994 Jan-Feb;15(1):26-32.
  16. Acta Otolaryngol.2007 Sep;127(9):914-9.
  17. Med Sci Monit.2008 Aug;14(8):BR159-64.
  18. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital.2009 Apr;29(2):70-5.
  19. Hear Res.2007 Apr;226(1-2):104-13.
  20. Acta Otolaryngol.2005 Mar;125(3):235-43.
  21. Biochem Biophys Res Commun.1998 Dec 9;253(1):114-8.
  22. Toxicology.2000 Nov 30;155(1-3):91-9.
  23. Auris Nasus Larynx.2002 Apr;29(2):147-52.
  24. Acta Otolaryngol.2009 Apr;129(4):385-9.
  25. J Otolaryngol.2007 Aug;36(4):213-9.
  26. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol.2011 Jul;120(7):433-40.
  27. Neurosci Lett. 2006 May 15;399(1-2):23-6.
  28. Neuroreport.2008 Jan 8;19(1):117-20.
  29. Hear Res. 2010 Dec 1;270(1-2):71-80.
  30. Pharmacol Rep. 2008 Jul-Aug;60(4):508-13.
  31. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Oct;20(5):409-15.

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5 Foods to Prevent Alzheimer’s

Marie Parks

This probably isn’t the first time you’ve seen information regarding foods and nutrients to support brain function. And if you Google this topic, you’re likely to wind up with a large number of suggestions. Are all of them accurate? Probably not.

However, there is a common thread between of the types of foods that are recommended. Most suggestions include increasing plant-based foods, berries, and green leafy veggies while limiting animal foods and foods high in saturated fat.

Since there are many foods that fall into the above categories, we won't cover them all here. Instead, we'll focus on a few of our favorite brain-boosting foods that won't only help ward off Alzheimer's, but can also help you stay sharp throughout your entire life.

MIND your Diet to Avert Alzheimer's

Recent research has proven that adhering to certain diets can result in cognitive benefits. For example, the MIND diet, which consists of 15 dietary components showed a 52% reduction in Alzheimer’s incidence, which was about the equivalent of being 11 years younger in age.1-3

In addition to encouraging plentiful consumption of 10 “brain healthy” food groups, there were five food groups of which consumption was reduced or avoided, including red meats, butter/stick margarine, cheese, pastries/sweets, and fried/fast food.

Ultimately, diets high in berries, mono- and unsaturated fats, and fish are encouraged.

Five Foods to Help your Brain Thrive

Blueberries

Blueberries are a fruit with one of the highest antioxidant capacities. Research has shown that diets high in antioxidants may fend off Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.4-6

The anthocyanins in blueberries can cross the blood-brain barrier allowing them to specifically support parts of the brain required for memory and learning.7 For a power breakfast, add some to Greek yogurt, oatmeal, or your smoothie.

Curry

Curry is made up of the spice turmeric, contains a biomolecule called curcumin. Studies have revealed that curcumin can inhibit and remove amyloid beta plaque. Amyloid beta plaque build-up is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s.8-12

Curries can be made into a variety of flavors that go well with many foods, so try it with your favorite meal.

Salmon

Along with other fish like mackerel and sardines, salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids make up important components of brain cell membranes. Therefore, by consuming these fatty acids, brain cells stay stable and strong, keeping your memory sharp.

Also, there’s research showing that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of amyloid beta plaque.13-15 Bolster your brain by eating omega-3 rich fish two times a week!

Spinach

Popeye might have been onto something as he ate multiple cans of spinach a day. Consumption of spinach and other leafy greens like kale and collard greens could slow down the rate of cognitive decline. These veggies are rich in vitamin C, folate, and other antioxidants that are supportive of brain function.

However, recent research has shown that the brain-protective effects of leafy greens may be a result of their content of vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for getting calcium absorbed into the bone, therefore keeping it out of the arteries. Evidence conveys that there may be a link between low bone density (leading to an increased risk of fractures) and cognitive decline.

The only people who need to be cautious about consuming these veggies are those taking blood thinners since they’re contraindicated with vitamin K.16-20

Chocolate

Those of you who have a sweet tooth know how overpowering the craving for chocolate can be. Well, we have some good news. The cocoa in chocolate is a rich source of flavanols, which have shown to work in multiple ways to protect brain function, particularly by blocking amyloid beta aggregation.21-24

However, it’s not all chocolate that’s associated with these types of health benefits. You want to opt for at least 70% dark chocolate. Also, keep in mind that chocolate can be high in sugar and fat, so pay attention to the serving size. Otherwise, you can have your chocolate, and eat it too!

References

1. Alzheimers Dement.2015;11(9):1007-14.
2. Available at: http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-diet-might-cut-the-risk-of-developing-alzheimers-1429569168.
3. Available at: http://experimentalbiology.org/PDFS/2015/ASN-Morris-Greens-FINAL.aspx.
4. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Apr;26(2):170-81.
5. Am J Med. 2006 Sep;119(9):751-9.
6. Subcell Biochem. 2007;42:299-318.
7. Nutr Neurosci. 2005 Apr;8(2):111-20.
8. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42923.
9. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2012 Apr;16(4):445-54.
10. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;44(1):283-95.
11. J Phys Chem B. 2012 Jun 28;116(25):7428-35.
12. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Jun 15;422(4):551-5.
13. Reprod Nutr. Dev 45.1 (2005): 1-28.
14. J Clin Invest. 115.10 (2005): 2774-83.
15. J Alzheimers Dis.2015;49(4):1191
16. Available at: http://www.newswise.com/articles/eating-green-leafy-vegetables-keeps-mental-abilities-sharp
17. Med Hypotheses. 2001 Aug;57(2):151-5.
18. Geriatr Orthop Surg Rehabil. 2010 Nov; 1(2): 52–62.
19. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 Jan 1; 18(4): 777–785.
20. Nihon Yakurigaku Zasshi. 1999 Mar;113(3):185-92.
21. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;41(2):643-50.
22. J Diet Suppl.2016 Jul 3;13(4):449-60.
23. Curr Pharm Des. 2016;22(2):145-51.
24. J Alzheimers Dis. 2016 May 6.

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