We spoke with Jared Paulson, acupuncturist at our Novato store, about integrative solutions to some of the most common health concerns we hear from men in our stores.
I have a family history of heart disease. What should I do preventively?
"Fish oil supplementation is a great nutritional way to benefit your cardiovascular system," says Jared, since it decreases inflammation in the body. He likes New Chapter's Wholemega.
Jared also recommends lowering your blood pressure with a daily tai chi practice. Indeed, studies have shown that tai chi can effectively reduce blood pressure, and more recent research in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that tai chi produced significant improvements in quality of life for patients with chronic heart failure.
I just had knee surgery and want to make sure I don't hurt myself again.
"Make sure you're taking a good multivitamin so you're getting all the basic nutrients for healing that tissue," says Jared. He also recommends a combination formula that includes nutrients such as glucosamine, MSM or hyaluronic acid, or what Jared calls, "more food to make sure the body is healing the injury properly." He recommends products like Osteo Move from Natural Factors or Jarrow Formulas' Joint Builder Plus.
Jared also recommends acupuncture. "It's very helpful for decreasing the pain associated with surgery, and healing and relaxing the muscles," he says. It's also good for keeping the muscles limber, especially important when they've been inactive for the post-surgery period.
How can I lose some of this belly fat?
Jared feels that the accumulation of fat around the abdomen is often associated with high stress and high cortisol levels. "Adaptogenic herbs can reduce those cortisol levels," he says. For general adrenal support, he recommends a formula called Stress Response from Gaia Herbs, which combines adaptogens like Ashwagandha, Holy Basil and Rhodiola.
On the exercise front, Jared says not to feel like you have to undertake a huge exercise regimen. Instead, he gives this simple advice: "Take every little opportunity to be as active as possible." That means parking farther away, taking the stairs at work, or going to talk to someone in their office instead of sending that email.
I have to urinate constantly. What can I do about an enlarged prostate?
The likelihood of suffering from an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), increases with age. In fact, more than 90 percent of men over age 80 experience it. Fortunately there are a number of herbal formulas that can help, most of which contain saw palmetto. Jared recommends Prostate Optimizer from Jarrow Formulas, or Natural Factors' Prostate Health.
Other research has suggested that pumpkin seed oil and green tea can be good dietary additions to help quell BPH symptoms. If it's not bothering you too much yet, Jared says, "develop a green tea habit and see what happens!"
What can I do about acid reflux and heartburn?
While there are a variety of remedies for acid reflux, Jared likes to recommend Heartburn Free from Enzymatic Therapy. It's an orange peel extract that helps tighten the valve at the top of the stomach, usually the source of acid reflux. Jared says that one dose can last up to six months and people see huge relief from it.
Jared also recommends avoiding common heartburn triggers such as spicy foods, citrus, or even coffee and alcohol, or trying some digestive enzymes to help improve overall digestion.
How can I boost my brain health and prevent brain degeneration?
Again, fish oil can be beneficial for maintaining good brain health. "DHA is a basic nutrient that's used in nerve cells in very high amounts," says Jared, so pick an omega-3 blend that's high in DHA. He adds that there are new studies coming out about curcumin (or turmeric) helping to prevent Alzheimer's by decreasing inflammation in the brain (and thus the formation of brain plaques that are the signal for Alzheimer's). Turmeric is available in a variety of supplementation forms and can be found in Indian curry dishes.
And, of course, Jared says, keep your brain active. "Learn how to play the violin, do crossword puzzles.just continuing to learn keeps the neurons functioning."
Bring your specific health questions to a Pharmaca practitioner.