Antioxidants are just as crucial for men’s health as a healthy diet and regular exercise. They move around the body, seeking out harmful free radicals that can negatively impact several key aspects of a man’s health, including muscle mass, mood and much more.
Read on to discover how antioxidants play a leading role in regulating several regular, essential processes throughout a man’s life cycle, as well as how to make sure you’re getting enough antioxidants for your body’s unique needs.
Free radicals inhibit testosterone production
Testosterone is known as the “male” hormone, producing male characteristics in the body. This hormone is responsible for many processes and actions in the body throughout a man’s entire life cycle, promoting physical development, strength, sex drive, mood and behaviors.
Men need regular levels of testosterone, but free radicals are an ever-present threat to testosterone production. Free radicals, specifically reactive oxygen species (ROS), are harmful to the body for many reasons. They travel throughout the body, destabilizing healthy cells and causing oxidative stress. As oxidative stress builds in the body, it can inhibit the secretion of testosterone, negatively affecting everything from fertility and mood to muscle mass and bone health.
The role of antioxidants in men’s health
Why are antioxidants so important when it comes to men’s health? In short, they prevent oxidative stress from damaging cells and tissues throughout the body. As they seek out and neutralize free radicals, they protect cellular health, preventing them from oxidizing. In terms of men’s health, antioxidants contribute to the following essential functions:
- Exercise and activity. While exercise is essential for overall health and wellness, prolonged physical activity is a catalyst for free radical production. When you work yourself to exertion, whether on a run or in the weight room, you generate more free radicals, including ROS, as you push your body to its limits and wear down your muscle tissues. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals, including ROS, that you produce after an exhaustive workout session, promoting healthy recovery and boosting your performance.
- Liver support. Your body uses antioxidants on a daily basis to detoxify your liver. The liver also processes all hormones you no longer need to support other bodily processes, including those made inside the body and those that come from diet and environmental factors. In terms of men’s health, the liver regulates estrogen, keeping it from building up in your system and promoting a healthy mood and fertility.
- Fertility and virility. The shape of sperm influences how successful they are at reaching and penetrating an egg. Oxidative stress hinders the development of sperm, negatively impacting their function. Maintaining stable antioxidant levels is shown to improve fertility, improving both quantity and quality of sperm.
- Energy levels. Mitochondria is the body’s internal energy powerhouse. They supply energy to Leydig cells that regulate the control and secretion of testosterone. By keeping oxidative stress in check, mitochondria can supply energy to the Leydig cells, thereby increasing testosterone secretion. This supports men’s health in a variety of ways, from improving strength and muscle mass to regulating mood, promoting physical development, regulating sexual drive and more.
How to improve antioxidant levels
One of the best ways to improve your antioxidant levels is by eating more antioxidant-rich foods—particularly foods that contain Vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant is one of 13 essential nutrients you need to support a variety of regular bodily functions.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient that seeks out free radicals, using its antioxidant properties to neutralize them and prevent oxidative stress from damaging cells throughout the body. Your body stores Vitamin E in fat cells and releases it whenever free radicals start to multiply—whether after intense exercise, a heavy meal or a wild night out.
Most people don’t get enough Vitamin E from their diet alone to maintain a healthy balance of antioxidants to free radicals. Healthy adult men need 15mg of Vitamin E per day but absorbing that amount from food can be challenging. It’s often safe, convenient and effective to supplement, so long as you get your doctor’s approval.
Make antioxidants part of total wellness
When it comes to your health, you need to focus on much more than your diet and exercise routine. Antioxidants keep free radicals and the oxidative stress they cause in check, promoting fertility, energy production, liver function and so much more. Increase your antioxidant intake, whether through diet or supplements, to promote your overall health and well-being. For men, a simple focus on antioxidant intake can have major effects on total wellness.