June is National Men’s Health Month, and for some of us, it is extra special because it also includes Father’s Day—Sunday, June 18th this year. Most of us are making some effort to be in overall good health, hoping those various efforts will bring about positive results in our jobs, recreation, even in our duties as fathers. With all that in mind, let’s consider some important things we ought to be working on in order to achieve and maintain optimum health. 

Diet – Water, Protein, Carbs 

We all know we need to drink plenty of water every day. Seeing that we are made up of trillions of cells, and cells contain a lot of water, we just can’t enjoy good health in a dehydrated state. The question we need to answer correctly is, “How much water should I drink every day?” Take your weight in pounds and divide it by two. That number is the total ounces of water you need to be drinking daily. Start drinking!

The body needs a certain number of grams of quality protein every day. How much? Take your weight and divide it by 2.2 – that will give you your weight in kilograms. You need ONE gram of protein for every kilogram (not pound) you weigh. The key is to divide that amount over 4 meals. So, if you weigh 180lbs, you will need a little over 80 grams of protein a day. That means you need FOUR 20 gram servings of protein throughout the day (morning, noon, mid-afternoon, supper). Peoples Rx carries a number of premium protein powders that make this part easier. I’ve used and recommended a variety of our whey proteins, like Whey Cool by Designs for Health, for many years with great success. 

As for carbohydrates, my best advice is to minimize unhealthy (refined) carbs. Try and eat complex carbs that are low to medium on the glycemic index scale (glycemicindex.com). Now you’ve got to go do your homework!

Hormone Balance – Testosterone, Cortisol  

Most men are somewhat aware of the importance of hormones like testosterone and DHEA, especially as we get older. In addition to these more well-known hormones, there are others in men that play a vital role in good health. One that is overlooked all too often is cortisol, which is our primary stress hormone. If cortisol levels are high (due to ongoing stressors), the rest of the body’s hormones (like testosterone, DHEA, insulin, etc.) will be less effective. Saliva testing is an easy and accurate way to assess hormone levels. I’ve been using and recommending ZRT labs for over 25 years; I’ve found their results reliable and easy to explain and understand. If you have any questions in regards to saliva testing, please feel free to get in touch with us at Peoples Rx.

Gut Health – Probiotics 

I remember first talking about the importance of gut health with my colleagues over 20 years ago. When trying to get people to understand gut health, I use the analogy of a city. In general, a city is made up of good and bad people (hopefully more good than bad). In order for it to remain that way, we need good people to move in on a regular basis. If not, the city will eventually be overrun with bad people. The same holds true for the gut. If we don’t “move in” good flora on a regular basis, our guts will eventually be overrun with bad flora, a condition known as dysbiosis.

I have no doubt that most over-the-counter and prescription GI remedies (Pepcid, Nexium, Prilosec, Tums, etc.) are prescribed and taken because of an imbalance (more bad than good) in the gut. Please note that all probiotics are not created equal. Make sure you are on a probiotic that has CFU’s (colony forming units) in the billions and one that is multi-strained (lots of different flora). I often recommend OrthoBiotic by Ortho Molecular and find it to be effective for most patients’ needs.

Exercise – Weight Bearing 

I’m sorry, but there’s just no getting around this one. I realize that forming the habit of exercising is easier said than done, but in our society, where physical labor is less and less a part of our lives, we must find time to exercise the muscles of the body. I’m in favor of weight bearing exercises because loss of muscle mass in the long run will mean loss of strength (especially in the hips and lower body) and bone density. When it comes to exercise, it’s imperative to find something you enjoy. That will surely help you in making it a habit that sticks.  

Sleep – Find a Pattern

We spend up to one third of our lives sleeping, thus sleep is critical in maintaining good health. In fact, sleep may be more important than diet and exercise, yet very little attention is paid to it. It is estimated that at least 30% of people suffer from insomnia and other sleep issues. What causes the most problems in regards to sleep? Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels.

Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stressors. If cortisol levels remain elevated on a regular basis, other healthy hormones like melatonin, testosterone, insulin, etc., will not produce the benefits they are capable of. Cortisol levels can be measured via the blood, but all the results are very limited. To get a clear picture, levels need to be measured when one first gets up, around noon, around 5pm, and right before bedtime. Since testing is so easy and accurate, I don’t like to guess which is why I recommend a simple ZRT saliva test. If you suspect that stress is affecting your sleep, please get in touch with us and ask about getting your cortisol levels measured. 

Supplements – Pharmaceutical Grade Only 

Let me conclude with a few recommendations for nutrients that we must be supplementing with no matter how good and clean our diet is. To state it as simply as I can, these are essential! 

  1. Magnesium Glycinate by Pure Encapsulations (NEVER take magnesium oxide, it is poorly absorbed and thus ineffective)
    • 240mg – 480mg daily 
  2. Ortho Biotic by Ortho Molecular 
    • 20 billion CFUS daily
  3. Vitamin D3 by Pure Encapsulations or Xymogen
    • 5000 iu daily (follow up with testing is recommended to make sure your level is above 50 ng/ml). 
  4. Curcumin by Thorne (Curcumin Phytosome), or by Ortho Molecular (Turiva), or by Standard Process (Turmeric Forte)
    • Take as directed on label 
  5. Omega 3 Fatty Acids by Nordic Naturals (DHA XTRA), or by Apex Energetics (Brain-E DHA 1200-TG)
    • Take as directed on label

No one said maintaining optimum health was easy, but implementing some or all of the above will definitely start you in that direction or improve where you are. Peoples Rx is committed to helping you enjoy the best of health. It’s who we are and what we do.

If you have comments and/or questions about this blog, email us at blog@peoplesrx.com.

About Robert N. Moore, R.Ph.

Robert graduated from The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy in 1987.  He has spent his entire pharmacy life being a part of independent pharmacy and working on its behalf at the local, state and national level.  Robert has worked for PeoplesRx since January 2014.

“I believe pharmacists still play a significant role in individual patient health care.  I also believe  that every day is filled with opportunities to help better the life of someone else by sharing specific drug knowledge or making an over-the-counter recommendation.  It’s all about making a difference in some small way.”