Nobody likes to look in the mirror and see signs of aging. Gray around the temples. Creases in the forehead. Or maybe some serious laugh lines which are nothing to laugh about. But aging goes far deeper than that. As we age, our joints succumb to the wear and tear of years of use. Our glands no longer are capable of producing hormones in sufficient quantity to keep us functioning at an optimal level. Our heart and cardiovascular system may struggle to do its job. And even if we maintain a healthy diet, our bodies may now struggle to absorb essential nutrients with the efficiency of our more youthful days, perhaps causing deficiencies is some important vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B-12 is especially important to the health of our red blood cells and nerve function. A deficiency in vitamin D will adversely affect our bones. Teeth, and immune system.
Many of us may have been health conscious long before we reach our sixtieth birthday, and have been taking multivitamins for years. But once you reach your sixth decade, it may be time to review exactly what type of vitamin supplements you have been taking, and how they measure up to what you really need. The best way to do this, of course, is to consult your doctor. Tell him about your concerns about your continued good health, and listen to him. He will be well able to advise you on the matter of multivitamin supplements.
Now, the problem is to choose the correct multivitamin to suit your needs. It is important to read the label thoroughly. Not all daily multivitamins are the same. The ones suitable for use by children or young adults may not suit your growing needs. Read the label and look for what you need. B vitamins, antioxidants, and folate will promote the health of your brain, at an age when your cognitive abilities and concentration levels may start to fail. In order to boost your immune system, look for products rich in antioxidants and probiotics. Protect your eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration by choosing a supplement rich in lutein, carotenoids, and vitamins C and E. Vitamin E will also help protect against prostate cancer, and, combined with lycopene, can also kill cancers which already exist in the prostate. For protection against rectal and colon cancer, look for supplements rich in folic acid and calcium. And, while many people are aware of the danger of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, you may not be aware that 20% of men over the age of sixty suffer from the same condition, so we must stress the importance of calcium in your supplement of choice.
If you, or your doctor, has a specific concern about your health or nutritional needs, it is possible to return to our youthful vigor, or come close, by simply redoubling our efforts to provide our physical being with the basic elements which it needs. And this can often be accomplished by the simple method of supplementing our daily intake of nutrition. It is important, however, to know what exactly is needed to overcome the process of aging as it applies to our own personal condition.
Probably the first concern of senior men is the condition of their heart and circulatory system. Omega 3 fatty acids, according to the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine, provide essential fats, which “fight heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative conditions.” They also exhibit anti-inflammatory properties which can alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, which can seriously affect one’s quality of life. There are many high quality Omega-3 supplements available over the counter, or you can go for another approach by including certain foods into your diet. Fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, and anchovies are rich in these essential fats, as are, to a lesser degree, spinach, Brussels sprouts, walnuts, and soybeans. Sprinkling Chia seeds or flax seeds over a hot or cold cereal, or salad, or, perhaps, a smoothie can also help. For those with a more expensive pallet, caviar and/or oysters will also do
Another major concern of the aging male population is the condition of their prostate. A condition known as benign prostate hyperplasia can cause incontinence, painful urination, and increase the risk of urinary tract infections. According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, more than half of men between the ages of sixty and seventy suffer from this condition. In the Summer 2001 issue of Reviews in Urology, a herbal extract called Saw Palmetto can relieve the symptoms. This useful supplement is sold over the counter and has proven safe to use, offering no side effects aside from the occasional upset stomach. Small price to pay for the relief it provides.
And finally, another major concern, perhaps for men of all ages, but certainly for those who have reached their so-called “golden years,’” is the inevitable drop in their testosterone levels. This is the hormone responsible for the growth of our muscles, as well as our libido. The quintessential male hormone, you might say. Nothing can make a man feel as young and vigorous as a return to the testosterone levels of his youth, and the opposite may be said about the declining levels experienced in his advancing years. ZMA is a nutritional supplement. Composed of zinc and magnesium, with a bit of vitamin B6 thrown in. It is marketed to improve muscle mass and increase the level of testosterone in the blood. Tribulus terrestris is a supplement made from the plant of the same name. It has been touted to increase muscle mass and stamina, as well as testosterone levels and libido. The jury is still out on these products, but there has been significant positive results. That being said, the products seem to offer no dangerous side effects, so, whether they can help or not, it seems they are virtually risk free. The choice is yours.
So, if that older face looking back at you from your mirror leads you to any concerns about your future well-being, consider taking a proactive approach. Talk to your doctor, and head to the health food store. Life may begin at forty, but there’s no reason for it to drag to a close after sixty!
I’m Nick Wilkinson. I writer and radio personality who lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
With over 14 years of experience in the Behavioral Health Field, I’ve been working in close contact with kids from all walks of life.
Specializing in teenagers and young adults, I’ve been a career long supporter of “verbal de-escalation” and non-violent crisis intervention. I believe that what you say, and how you say it, are the keys to successful communication. I currently write about men’s health topics, parenting and child abuse topics, and other social issues. You can visit my blog at www.ActingNotReacting.com