Article at a Glance
- As a man ages, there are significant physiological changes that can be mitigated with some simple lifestyle changes.
- Herbs, supplements and IV therapies can all have their place in improving health and productivity.
- Sleep, stress, hormone balance, and brain capacity are all areas that can be improved upon with the right stack.
For men in their 40s, physiological changes may be slowly appearing. Certain hormones could be declining, sleep quality may change, and there could also be flagging energy levels. For the entrepreneur who wants to be on top of their game, this isn’t acceptable.
This article will discuss what you can add to your stack to improve your sleep, hormones, brain function and much more.
There are two main areas to consider in regards to sleep, which are sleep quality and sleep latency (the time it takes to get to sleep.) While it may be tempting to use alcohol to help wind down and get to sleep, it is absolutely terrible for deep sleep. So what can be done instead?
On top of maintaining good sleep hygiene via appropriate light exposure, avoiding stimulants later in the day, and having an optimal sleep environment, there are some extra supplements that can help.
Passionflower is an herb traditionally used for insomnia as well as to decrease tension and anxiety. Passionflower binds to and stimulates GABA receptors, helping you to switch off, calm down, and have a restful sleep [R, R].
This native Polynesian herb increases both GABA and serotonin levels [R]. Serotonin is the precursor to melatonin, the hormone that decreases energy and leads us to fall asleep [R]. Kava calms you down, relaxes your muscles, reduces pain, and promotes restful sleep [R].
Magnesium is referred to as the anti-stress mineral. It is responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, so it’s no surprise that some of these are related to sleep. It is suggested that being deficient in magnesium can hamper sleep quality significantly [R]. The magnesium forms L-threonate and glycinate are helpful for sleep due to their calming and sleep-inducing qualities.
When nothing else is working and you need that great night of sleep to crush tomorrow, consider using supplemental melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for controlling sleep-wake cycles. It’s produced as the day progresses and we’re exposed to less light and more darkness. As we age, less melatonin is produced, so supplementation can help if sleep becomes an issue.
It should be noted that supplementing may cause your body to produce less of this hormone, so use under supervision from your health practitioner.
What is measured is managed
Everybody is unique, with their own variations in how they respond to life’s events, nutrition, habits, and supplementation. That’s why a sleep tracker like the Oura Ring can be extremely beneficial. It enables real-time data on how sleep changes from the day’s events and supplemental changes, allowing alterations as necessary.
Being under a lot of stress is quite catabolic for the body – it breaks down that hard-earned lean muscle tissue. Pair this with aging and it can become difficult to gain or even maintain muscle. Beyond causing muscle loss, prolonged stress can increase the amount of cell damage, lower testosterone levels, and increase inflammation.
So what can be done?
Adaptogens are herbs that act on the HPA-axis and improve your body’s response to stressors, whether they be physical, emotional, environmental or biological.
Let’s briefly look at a few to consider.
Ashwaghanda is perfect for the entrepreneur who tends to be on the wired end of the spectrum and has trouble switching off. Ashwagandha acts as a GABAmimetic agent, behaving like an off switch for the brain, helping you enter a parasympathetic state and keep calm [R, R]. It can also increase levels of testosterone [R]!
Rhodiola impacts stress differently from Ashwagandha. It increases the production of proteins in the body associated with stress-resistance and longevity, and prevents the adrenals from secreting too many hormones when faced with stress [R, R]. Rhodiola can feel stimulating for the first 4-6 hours of use, while long term use has the effect of improving stress resilience. This can be fantastic for someone who needs a bit more get up and go.
Also known as Holy Basil, this is another herb famed for its stress adaptive qualities. Tulsi normalizes many of the biochemical and physiological changes that occur during stress and physical fatigue [R]. It has been shown to have antidepressant and anxiolytic properties [R].
At this age, the production of sex hormones, like testosterone, is under assault from a number of different avenues, including age-related decline and environmental exposure to various compounds. This is problematic, because on top of supporting muscle mass and fertility, testosterone is also necessary for staying motivated.
Nettle Root reduces the amount of testosterone converted to estrogen and to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Excess DHT has been linked with hair loss, visceral fat, acne and some cancers.
It’s very hard to keep focused, motivated, and productive all day when your energy is on a rollercoaster. Improving one’s metabolism can certainly help to stabilize energy.
Insulin and blood sugar support
Insulin is a key hormone involved in carbohydrate metabolism. It takes glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cell to be turned into ATP (the body’s energy source). From aging, inactivity, and overexposure to insulin, our body can become resistant to the effects of insulin, known as insulin resistance. This leads to unstable levels of blood sugar and subsequent dips in energy throughout the day, which can hinder productivity.
What to do? There are certain herbs that improve sugar metabolism, such as:
Consume these with a high-carb meal for best effects.
During aging, a number of compounds in our body start to decline. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is one such compound. It is found in every cell of the body and is needed for all cellular functions, including ATP production. Because of its widespread roles, supplemental NAD has been found to improve longevity, regulate circadian rhythms, modulate stress, reduce inflammation and increase energy [R]. No wonder it’s being dubbed the ‘fountain of youth.’
Nootropics are substances that improve one or many aspects of cognition, whether that be focus, memory retention, creativity, etc. The adaptogens listed earlier all have nootropic effects, but let’s put the spotlight on one more supplement.
L-Theanine is a component of green tea that promotes alertness and relaxation [R, R]. When L-theanine is combined with coffee it can prevent some of the jitteriness many people experience when drinking coffee alone [R]. On top of that, the two paired together have been found to improve reaction time, word recall, and memory [R].
Digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid production can decrease with aging. These digestive juices are needed to extract nutrients from the foods you eat.
Proper nutrient assimilation is important to ensure you’re meeting your daily requirements and actually getting the benefits from your supplements. This is of the utmost importance if you’re also working out with intensity.
On top of eating in a relaxed environment and consuming mostly whole foods, here’s what you can do to get the most out of what you eat:
- Supplementing with herbal bitters such as gentian, dandelion root, globe artichoke and ginger up to 30 minutes before a meal
- Supplementing with betaine hydrochloride, ox bile, and/or digestive enzymes with a meal
You don’t want sickness to slow you down, so it’s wise to implement some strategies to boost your immune system. The following herbs are fantastic for immune support. These don’t have to be taken when sick, in fact, the traditional herbalists of China and India would use many of these herbs in the absence of illness to build a robust immune system
- Medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, chaga, turkey tail and shitake [R]
- Astragalus [R]
- Ashwagandha [R]
- Tulsi [R]
While it may seem like your body is starting to work against you at this age, it certainly doesn’t have to be. Prioritizing your health via optimal sleep, hormonal support, and adequate nutrition and digestion can help you stack the deck in your favor. This is crucial for your entrepreneurial endeavors to help you to stay focused when you need it, and be able to relax and switch off when you don’t.
If you’re interested in learning more about improving your health in these areas, check out our directory.
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