The Nutrition Expert Editorial Team June 05, 2017

On average, men visit their GP half as often as women… no matter what stage you are at in your life, it's important to be aware of your health. Here’s our top five supplements for men, recommended by the experts.

1. Saw palmetto

It is estimated that around 60 per cent of men over the age of 45 develop an enlarged pros-tate thanks to an increasing number of cells in the prostate gland, and symptoms, which include: poor stream, weeing more frequently and needing to get up at night to go to the loo – can really interfere with quality of life.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an enlarged prostate (also known as benign prostate en-largement), you might benefit from a supplement to help alleviate symptoms. Saw Palmetto is best known for its prostate-friendly properties, and, according to some experts, can also help recovery from prostate surgery and pelvic pain. Many studies have shown that saw palmetto is significantly better than placebo for improving male lower urinary tract symptoms and is particularly helpful for reducing the need to visit the bathroom at night. Saw palmetto can also be taken as a general measure to help maintain a healthy prostate gland and reduce the development of bothersome urinary symptoms.

Saw palmetto is also available as a traditional herbal medicine (THR), which is proven to help relieve urinary discomfort.

2. Lycopene

Studies have shown that lycopene, a carotenoid pigment found naturally in tomatoes, can boost sperm count by up to 70 per cent. Notably, a study of 30 men in India revealed that of those who took lycopene supplements every day, 20 showed an improvement in sperm concen-tration while 16 had improved motility.

Plus, in men with an enlarged prostate gland, taking 15mg lycopene per day for six months was found to significantly decrease levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) compared with placebo. In those taking lycopene, the prostate gland did not enlarge and symptoms improved, but in those on placebo, progressive enlargement was noted. Try Healthspan's High Strength Lycopene, which provides 15mg lycopene per day.

3. Magnesium

Did you know that middle-aged men are twice as likely to develop diabetes than women? And that 67 per cent of men are overweight or obese: a key risk factor in developing cardiovascular disease?

In addition to making the usual lifestyle changes – exercising more, following a Mediterranean diet and reducing sugar consumption, to name a few – upping your magnesium intake is thought to be beneficial in the treatment of and/or prevention of lifestyle diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The reason? Magnesium is involved in glucose control. Research involving over 536,000 people showed that those with the highest intakes were 22 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest intakes, with every 100mg per-day increase in levels reducing risk by 14 per cent.

Good sources of include: wholegrains, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, dark green leafy veg, seafood and beans. Or why not try a supplement? Healthspan's magnesium products includes a range of topical gels and bath salts, as well as tablets.

4. Zinc

Zinc plays a crucial role in male reproduction, increasing testosterone production and raising sperm count. It also has beneficial effects on the production of various hormones, including the sex and thyroid hormones, and could helpful in enhancing fertility.

A national survey in the UK found that overall, zinc intake was below recommended targets in 43 per cent of men aged 19 – 50. Rich sources of zinc include seafood (especially oysters), red meat, poultry, dairy foods, wholegrain foods (such as oats and brown rice) and nuts, though you may benefit from a supplement, such as Healthspan's Zinc with Vitamin C.

5. Plant sterols

While heart troubles affect both men and women, surveys show that 25 per cent of men are likely to suffer from heart disease compared to 17 per cent of women.

Men should keep a particularly close eye on their LDL cholesterol levels: a high level of which increases the risk of heart attack and possibly a stroke. Plant sterols are a group of plant chemicals with a structure like cholesterol. They are not absorbed by the gut, but reduce the absorption of cholesterol both from foods and from the bile that the liver discharges into the intestines, to reduce total cholesterol levels.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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