Men’s Health Month, aka June, was established in 1994 as a way to raise awareness about the various health risks that males face in their lives. Men are more likely than women to smoke and drink alcohol, put off regular medical checkups, and – let’s face it guys - make less than healthy choices. Men also die about five years earlier than women. The leading cause of death of U.S. men (25%) is cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, a third of all men in the nation – more than 39 million – suffer from some type of heart or vascular problem, and nearly 400,000 of us die every year.
The Big Three of Men's Health
It’s no secret that there are three big keys to preventing many health risks: physical activity, healthy diet, and weight loss. The American Heart Association, for example, recommends at least 150 minutes of light physical activity each week, like going for a walk, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, like jogging or biking.
Click here to see a list of men's health resources from the CDC.
Some men use dietary supplements to help them achieve their health goals, with many good results. However, some scientists are becoming increasingly cautious about these supplements because of the way they can impact the liver. A recent study found that the number of liver injuries linked to dietary supplements have nearly tripled in ten years, from 7% in 2004, to 20% in 2014. Half of those cases were attributed to weight-loss and bodybuilding products that contained anabolic steroids and green tea extract. Some men's health supplements contained other undisclosed ingredients, such as banned, untested and prescription drugs.
So if you’re ever browsing the aisles for diet pills, be aware that some of those weight-loss and muscle-building supplements could pose a serious threat to your liver. In fact, research shows that within the three named categories – weight-loss, muscle-building, and sexual enhancement – tainted supplements may actually outnumber drug-free products.
One of the best ways to avoid buying adulterated supplements is to stick with products that have the USP Verified Mark on their label. The USP Verified Mark is awarded to dietary supplement products that successfully undergo the strict testing criteria of its voluntary Dietary Supplements Verification Program. USP inspects how the supplements are made, what methods are used to test both the ingredients and the final products, and whether those tests are capable of identifying harmful contaminants. Then USP tests the supplements against federally recognized USP-NF standards. Since the program's inception in 2001, the USP Verified Mark has appeared on more than 750 million labels/packages of dietary supplements.
Find out more about the USP Dietary Supplements Verification Program.
Happy men's health month and may all your months be healthy!