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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Men, It's Time to Prioritize Your Health

May 31, 2024 09:33AM ● By Dr. Fred Harvey, Medical Director of Functional Medicine Florida

Men, we need to talk about wellness. The statistics on men’s health in America are alarming. Fourteen adult males still smoke, and another 10 percent vape or chew tobacco. Meanwhile, 30 percent admit to consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in one day over the past year. 

Only 28 percent meet federal exercise guidelines, while two-thirds are overweight, and 42 percent are obese. If your waist measures 40 inches or more, now is the time to take notice. Men tend to ignore symptoms and visit the doctor less frequently than women, but it’s crucial to take personal responsibility for your own health. 

We understand the causes of many degenerative illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, and autoimmune conditions like COVID-19 or rheumatoid arthritis. This knowledge enables us to care for ourselves to reduce the symptoms or even prevent these conditions altogether. While obesity itself isn't the direct cause of issues like severe COVID-19 or dementia, the toxins and lifestyle factors that contribute to obesity are.  

Pesticides, herbicides, artificial sweeteners, and food colorings are inflammatory and can damage the beneficial bacteria in our guts, which leads to illness. Exposure to these substances is directly related to a risk of diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, and heart disease. Sometimes exposure is unavoidable, as seen in Vietnam veterans who were sprayed with Agent Orange, an herbicide that causes heart disease. Many live with disabilities from Agent Orange, which is still sprayed on American farm crops today. 

Optimal health begins with an inner journey. Stress reduction is crucial. Meditation is an excellent way to manage stress, and exercise can help alleviate depression and reverse Type-2 diabetes. Aim for 150 minutes of aerobic activity, like walking, each week—that averages out to just over 20 minutes each day.  

A clean diet is foundational for wellness, too. Eat whole foods, cook from scratch, and choose organic ingredients whenever possible. Follow guides like the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. Aim for a diet that's 80 percent plant-based and 20 percent animal-based, similar to the Blue Zone diet known for promoting longevity. Include oily fish like salmon and sardines, grass-finished beef, and pastured poultry and eggs.  

Take a multivitamin, vitamin D, and fish oil if you do not consume fish. Eat fermented foods for gut health and seaweed for iodine and minerals. Limit alcohol to no more than two ounces in one day or six ounces in one week, and eliminate nicotine completely. Hydrate with clean, filtered water and prioritize sleep, so the body can recover and repair. 

At Functional Medicine Florida, my team and I specialize in functional testing to help identify the risks for illness before a formal diagnosis, especially if you experience vague symptoms that might be overlooked if your labs appear normal. We assess your toxin levels, sugar and insulin metabolism, and internal damage from toxins or free radicals.  

With this comprehensive evaluation, we can create targeted, advanced nutritional therapies, provide intravenous nutrition, and offer medications such as hormone replacement. Our personalized treatments aim to promote vibrant energy and joyful living to help you achieve an optimal state of health and well-being.  

With a distinguished career spanning over 30 years, Dr. Fred Harvey is the longest-standing functional medicine physician in the Sarasota community. He is quadruple board-certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Holistic and Integrative Medicine. Dr. Harvey educates a global audience through his weekly podcast, The Healthy Steps Radio Show, Tampa Bay's number-one health show, which covers many wellness-related topics. For more information, visit

Dr. Harvey’s goal is to prevent disease, rather than merely treating symptoms, with personalized, one-on-one care. His commitment to preventative healthcare and patient well-being has left an indelible mark on the Sarasota community and beyond. Schedule a “Discovery Visit” with Dr. Harvey by calling 941-929-9355 or visiting


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