While the difference between men and women isn’t drastic when it comes to day-to-day nutrition requirements, there are specific areas of focus that differ, from prostate health to sexual health.
Differences largely revolve around testosterone, part of the androgen family of hormones, best known for its role in the development and health of the male reproductive system and masculine physical traits, including hair growth and muscle mass. However, it has a huge influence on other areas of male biology.
Male Reproductive System
It would be incomplete to discuss male health without discussing the primary difference between sexes, the reproductive system. Two commonly discussed health concerns with the male reproductive system are erectile dysfunction and fertility.
Causes of erectile dysfunction are varied as it is considered both a physical and psychological condition, it could stem from stress and anxiety, side effects from medication, high cholesterol causing poor blood flow and low testosterone. In traditional medicine each possible trigger has an associated treatment, usually another form of medication.
Testosterone naturally declines from the age of 30, and combining this with a processed diet, low omega-3 status and poor gut health can lead to inflammation and excess fat storage. Raising testosterone levels through diet or supplementation often involves B vitamins, vitamin D, magnesium and zinc.
In the last 40 years, global sperm health has declined by 50-60%, therefore when trying to conceive, male fertility can be supported by focusing on sperm health/activity and making diet, supplementation and lifestyle changes. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle can all significantly affect male fertility. Nutritionally, vitamin D3, zinc, folate and coenzyme Q10 can support the normal function of sperm. Folate is well known for being a key nutrient for women during pregnancy, but this B vitamin is not just for women, in fact it supports a process called methylation which is important for sperm health. While vitamin D3 supports semen quality and zinc supports sperm health, coenzyme Q10 is known for energy production within cells and therefore improves sperm concentration and motility.
The body makes dihydrotestosterone (DHT) from testosterone, and it’s possible to have low levels of testosterone while simultaneously having the problems that occur with high levels of DHT, this may be a result of poor blood glucose regulation. The consequences of this include male-patterned baldness and prostate conditions. The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that aids in producing the fluid in semen, the health of which can be supported with powerful antioxidants, lycopene, calcium, selenium, vitamin D and vitamin E.
A high quality, methylated multivitamin can be highly supportive for normal function of the male reproductive system, heart health and prostate health in men, as can managing stress levels, reducing toxic environmental exposure and a healthy exercise regime.