In previous newsletters I have covered King County's role in public health. In particular, I have reviewed the rapidly growing role of natural medicine, with special emphasis on women's health issues. Subsequently, a number of my male constituents have asked me to provide some coverage for men's health issues. I asked them what they wanted me to review, and the most commonly-requested items are discussed below.
The many benefits of hormone replacement therapy for men are discussed in the new book by Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. and Lane Lenard, Ph.D., entitled "Maximize Your Vitality and Potency for Men Over 40." Although other hormones such as DHEA are discussed in the book, the main emphasis is on testosterone.
The book notes that the free testosterone level in a man is at a peak in his late teens, but by the time a man reaches middle age, the testosterone level has declined by about half. The reduced testosterone is usually accompanied by lessened physical strength, reduced sexual vitality, a decline in memory, and a weaker cardiovascular system. By supplementing testosterone, these problems can usually be significaantly improved. The testosterone can be applied as a cream that is simply absorbed directly through the skin.
Drs. Wright and Lenard recommend only natural (identical to human) testosterone. Testosterone is a controlled substance that must be obtained by prescription from a physician. You may have to do a bit of work to find a physician who knows how to compound and dispense it. Most conventional physicians would tend to prescribe chemically altered forms of testosterone that have been synthesized and patented by pharmaceutical companies. These chemically altered forms of testosterone include testosterone propionate, testosterone enanthate, and testosterone cypionate which are usually delivered by injection or patch.One oral form of chemically altered testosterone (methyl testosterone) is available, but because it is taken orally, it must be processed through the liver, thereby causing toxic side effects for some patients. In other words, there are good reasons for insisting on natural (identical to human) testosterone, the kind that has been circulating in your body all your life.
Testosterone is not for everyone, and you will have to work with your physician to be sure it is right for you. However, many middle-aged men can benefit from its rejuvenating effects, particularly with respect to its ability to improve physical strength, sexual vitality, memory, and cardiovascular functioning. For further details, consult the new book by Jonathan Wright and Lane Lenard.
Kidney stones are excruciatigly painful, and while they do occur in both men and women, they affect men far more often. The most common type of kidney stone is composed of calcium oxalate, which can form in men who are deficient in magnesiium. The very efficient cure recommended by natural medicine practitioners is to take about 400mg of supplemental magnesium each day, which simply dissolves the kidney stones from the body. For further details, consult the newsletter Nutrition and Healing, January 1996.
Most middle-aged men experience some degree of prostate gland enlargement, which tends to worsen as men grow older. The most common annoying symptom is a need to urinate frequently accompanied by a feeling that the bladder cannot be completely voided. The herb saw palmetto has been proven in medical studies to relieve non-cancerous prostate gland enlargement. However, some natural medicine practitioners feel that an even better approach is to take supplements of zinc, flax oil, and Vitamin E. For details, consult Nutrition and Healing, August 1994.
Heart attacks kill more middle-aged men than any other disease. As always, the first line of defense is to strive for prevention. An improved cardiovascular system can often be achieved by living a more healthy lifestyle. Most natural medicine doctors would encourage a diet of natural, whole foods, not processed or refined. Those same natural medicine doctors would recommend avoiding stress and eliminating (or reducing the consumption of) harmful chemicals, additives, and drugs, such as alcohol, tobacco, sugar, caffeine, and trans-fat (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil). A few of the many supplements that may help significantly include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, folic acid, magnesiium, L-carnitine, L-taurine, and co-enzyme Q-10. Also, as mentioned elsewhere in this newsletter, testosterone can provide excellent support to a man's cardiovascular system. A full discussion of heart disease is beyond the scope of this newsletter. However, if you are interested in a specific problem (such as angina, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, atherosclerosis, heart arrhymias, or congestive heart failure), you can easily find a number of informative natural medicine references to cover your subject matter of interest.
Natural medicine can improve men's health in many ways. This can be of special value not only to all men, but also to taxpayers, because in the long run natural medicine can lower the cost of health care. If you have ay questions about this newsletter, please feel free to contact me at (206) 296-1009.