Ever wish you could see what’s coming around the next bend in your life, guys? Think of this as a science-backed snapshot of the future, with helpful tips on how to stay strong and healthy as you move from young adulthood to middle age.
Of course, the next step is to check in with your doctor or health care practitioner to get the full picture of what to watch for and which measures below are exactly right for you. (Because as any golfer knows, precision is everything!)
Young adult men (ages 18 to 25)
Sprint away from sports pain
More than 1 million injuries occurred to college athletes from 2009 to 2014. Ouch! These injuries can have lifelong effects, so prevention is key.
One of the most important preventive measures is a young adult’s mealtime habits—bad news for the stereotypical student who wants to live on pizza and pop. Preet Khangura, ND, notes that many young men’s diets leave something to be desired. “They’re not providing their bodies with the nutrients needed to maintain healthy tissues, and also repair tissues,” says Khangura.
Khangura says that, in addition to a healthy diet, popping these supplements may help young men maintain healthy joints and muscles:
- curcumin extract
- Boswellia extract
Stay mentally fit
Young people are more likely to experience a mental illness than any other age group of Americans. Yet there’s a lot of stigma attached to mental health. We’re talking to you, Mr. Strong and Silent.
“Young adult men have been culturally conditioned to suppress pain and emotion and avoid seeking help,” warns Andrea Whelan, ND. “Pharmaceuticals have their place in the treatment of mental health issues,” she explains, but she adds that it’s important to ensure the body has the essential nutrients to function optimally.
Whelan’s top three supplements for supporting men’s mood and mental health are
- a B-vitamin complex: “They play an essential role in all biochemical pathways and can be depleted by stress.”
- vitamin D: “Deficiency has been linked with depression and mood disorders.”
- omega-3s: These fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. “Research has linked certain mental health issues to inflammation in the brain.”
Adult Men (ages 25 to 40)
Skip the stress
“Older men typically come to me for low energy,” says Whelan. However, the root problem starts earlier. She suspects her older patients are fatigued due to chronic stress and adrenal fatigue from when they were younger.
Now is the time to get ahead of this stress to avoid future consequences, with these suggestions from Whelan.
- Meditate. “Deep breathing calms the nervous system and the adrenals.”
- Avoid processed foods and keep blood sugar balanced. According to Whelan, it’s the best way to support your adrenals nutritionally.
- Consider maca, Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) and Rhodiola rosea supplements. “They modulate the stress response while supporting the adrenals.”
Balance blood sugar
“We’re seeing a rise in diabetes and prediabetes in adult men,” says Holly Fennell, ND. Support healthy blood sugar balance with these suggestions from Fennell.
- Eat more foods that have a low glycemic index (GI), which measures a food’s effect on blood sugar. “A great low-GI snack that supports prostate health is a mix of pumpkin and sunflower seeds with walnuts.”
- Sweat a little. “Exercise can lower your blood glucose levels for up to 24 hours.”
- Add supplements. For example, Fennell recommends magnesium to help with blood sugar levels.
Middle-aged men (ages 40 to 60)
Get to the heart of the matter
At age 45, men’s risk of coronary heart disease ramps up—a decade sooner than women. Some of Khangura’s favorite supplements and herbs to keep our tickers strong include
- berberine extract
- coenzyme Q10
- proanthocyanidin antioxidants (like grapeseed extract)
Say “not the one” to metabolic syndrome
More than one-third of American adults have metabolic syndrome. Among American men, the prevalence is higher in non-Hispanic white men than in Mexican-American and non-Hispanic black men. “Metabolic syndrome” refers to a wide range of risk factors (including a large waistline, a low healthy cholesterol level and high blood pressure) that increase our chances of strokes and other health problems.
“A diet high in fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates … good fats … and limited alcohol is beneficial in reversing metabolic syndrome,” says Adrienne Youdim, MD. Exercise works, too. It “trains the muscles to better utilize sugar as an energy source so insulin levels fall,” says Youdim.
Supplements worth exploring, according to Youdim, include
- omega-3 fatty acids
- phytosterols (plant cholesterol)