The expression “growing old gracefully” contains the hidden message that you’re just supposed to accept the illnesses and debilities that come with age. Older men – above the age of 60 – have much higher rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and a host of other illnesses, than younger men. Not to mention that they gain weight, lose muscle, and both sexual potency and sex drive decline. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and many older men are showing why and how it doesn’t.
The Old Paradigm
The old paradigm of older men’s health went something like this. You’re feeling poorly overall, or you have a specific complaint, and go to see your doctor. He then examines you and runs a lot of lab tests, which include your cholesterol (lipid) panel, but very likely not including testosterone, or fasting insulin, or a number of other markers that are more important for your health than cholesterol. The doctor notes that you’re put on some weight, that your cholesterol level is “too high”. Maybe even in the extreme case he notes that your PSA is elevated and schedules you for a biopsy. For your excess fat, he counsels a low-fat diet and some jogging. We know from extensive scientific studies that both of these interventions are ineffective for weight loss. The problem is that your doctor doesn’t know what else to recommend, because medical dogma states that low-carbohydrate diets are dangerous, and the only effective exercise is aerobics (“cardio”). Maybe your doctor prescribes you a statin drug to lower your cholesterol. While you may have read that statins can cause all manner of unwanted side effects, from muscle pain and weakness to memory loss, and may even cause heart disease, a doctor’s authority is powerful, so you go along. They are the lab coat God after all. Congratulations: the modern medical system has just made you less healthy and has set you up for even further decline.
The New Paradigm
In the new paradigm, older men use effective strategies to ensure continued good health. To use these effective strategies, the first step is to know what they are, because mainstream medicine, i.e. your doctor, doesn’t know what they are so they can’t tell you. Furthermore, the standard of care ties the hands of health practitioners, so even if they know, they’re reluctant to deviate from the standard. These strategies are basic, will help you to get or remain lean and muscular no matter your age. It’s not normal for a man to get fat and lose his energy and sex drive as he gets older. These strategies will also keep you free of heart disease and diabetes, and greatly lower your risk of cancer.
- Lift weights.
Virtually any type of exercise benefits health, but most types have little effect on weight loss or maintenance. That’s because they don’t emphasize muscle. Muscle is the body’s engine of metabolism, and burns more calories than other organ (with the possible exception of the brain, but you can’t grow your brain). Muscle also acts as a metabolic “sink”, and thus maintains insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for health and greatly lowers disease risk. While muscle is important for all men, it assumes even greater importance in the older man, and that’s because everyone – men and women – loses muscle as they age. The average man aged 70 to 80 will have lost half of the muscle he had at age 20, unless he takes active steps to fight that process. Loss of that much muscle is a disaster for health and will increase your risk for many diseases, not to mention a decline in well-being. Your doctor won’t tell you this.
- Eat right.
The old paradigm had us eating low-fat food and avoiding meat and eggs due to their alleged effects on cholesterol and heart disease. We now know what a line of BS that was. Dietary saturated fat is not associated with heart disease. The new paradigm has us eating nutrient-dense whole foods, and avoiding processed junk. They never told you that sugar was bad for you, and in fact its consumption was encouraged, because it isn’t fat. In fact, it’s one of the worst things you can eat. The topic of proper diet is a huge one, so for now I’ll just mention 3 things to avoid:
- Vegetable (industrial seed) oils
- White flour.
- Supplement optimally, and maintain optimal hormones
Maintaining optimal hormones, especially testosterone, is critical for the health and well-being of the older man. Many men in this country are deficient in basic minerals such as magnesium and zinc, and deficiencies in these leads to lower testosterone, as well as inflammation that in turn leads to heart disease and cancer. Furthermore, some supplements, such as berberine, curcumin, and resveratrol, have true anti-aging effects. [author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]”P. D. Mangan is the author of 6 previous books, and writes at his website, Rogue Health and Fitness. After doctors couldn’t treat his chronic fatigue of many years duration, he used his education in microbiology and biochemistry, along with many deep dives into PubMed, and figured it out himself. He lives in Northern California.”[/author_info] [/author] They can help maintain insulin sensitivity, keep iron under control, metabolism tuned.
The old health paradigm does little to help the older man lead a truly good life. It’s more of a band-aid against aging and decline. The new paradigm has men taking charge of their health by building muscle, maintaining high testosterone, and avoiding the processed junk food that’s all around us. Strategic supplementation forms a part of this paradigm, and is the topic of my new book, Best Supplements for Men: For More Muscle, Higher Testosterone, Longer Life, and Better Looks.