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Vitamin E Benefits for Men - Vitamin E and Fertility

Vitamin E benefits for men are greatest in improving athletic ability and in increasing a man's chances of becoming a father. In both cases, vitamin E boosts male health by preventing free radical damage.

Vitamin E Helps Men Build Muscle and Enhances Male Fertility

Popping a vitamin E pill want grown muscles without exercise and it won't make a man automatically virile. But over the long run, vitamin E is extremely valuable because of what it prevents.

Vitamin E for athletic prowess. Vitamin E is well known as a supplement for elite athletes.

  • Mountain climbers on a six-week trek who used vitamin E needed less oxygen, because their bodies could tolerate the free radicals generated by anaerobic exercise much better.
  • Elite cyclists generate enormous amounts of the "bad" form of cholesterol when they exercise. Vitamin E keeps this LDL cholesterol from turning in plaques.
  • In one clinical trial, volunteers ran on a treadmill until they were exhausted. In the volunteers who did not take vitamin E, blood tests revealed DNA damage from the free radicals of oxygen generated during the workout. In volunteers who took a single dose of 2,400 IU of vitamin E before heavy exercise, DNA damage was minimal.

But most men don't spend six weeks trekking across the Himalayas, ride in the Tour d' France, or even work out until we drop. Vitamin E has benefits for amateur athletes, too.

  • Older men doing weight lifting who took vitamin E got better increases to muscle mass because the vitamin preventing excessive breakdown of muscle during the workout.
  • Taking vitamin E before a weekend workout also reduced the stress on the immune system caused by generation of excessive amounts of free radicals, preventing colds and flu.

Vitamin E won't substitute for exercise. But it will help exercise do a man's body more good. It will prevent excessive aches and pains from weightlifting, encourage muscle growth (assuming there is a rest day between workouts for each muscle group), and keep the immune system in healthy balance, neither too weak nor too strong.

Vitamin E can compensate for lower fertility. Similarly, vitamin E is not a wonder drug for male infertility. If for some reason a man has no sperm production at all, vitamin E will not restore it. But if a man has low sperm counts, vitamin E may help his sperm reach their destination so he and his partner may become parents.

Sperm store fructose sugar for their journey from the cervix to the fallopian tubes where one sperm will fertilize the egg. Burning fructose generates so many free radicals that many sperm cells literally become bloated and distorted, so "out of shape" that the tail of the sperm cannot propel them forward. In some cases, the tail of the sperm disappears.

Taking vitamin E helps the sperm survive the trip to the egg. In an Israeli study, taking just 200 IU of vitamin E every day for two months increased the chances of fatherhood of men who had low sperm counts by nearly 50 per cent. Of course, couples seeking to conceive a child should also pay close attention to timing intercourse to match the female partner's window of fertility.

Exercise and reproduction are the areas in which vitamin E is of special benefit to men. The best supplement program for men involves a balance of 200 IU of d-alpha-tocopheryl succinate and 200 mg of mixed tocotrienols. This is also a great foundation for acquiring all the benefits of vitamin E against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, which are enjoyed by both men and women.

Vitamin E and Fertility - The Antioxidant Vitamin That Helps Couples Become Parents

First the bad news about vitamin E and sexual health. Vitamin E is not, as some have reported, the long-awaited women's Viagra. It isn't even a natural men's Viagra. Vitamin E has little direct effect on sex life, but it can have a tremendous effect on fertility.

Vitamin E was actually first investigated as the "fertility vitamin." Originally known as "factor X," vitamin E was originally investigated as the missing ingredient in female, and later male, fertility.

But the fact is, just about no one is infertile simply because they are deficient in vitamin E. Vitamin E cannot make up for total destruction of the ovaries or testes. But when men and women have low fertility, rather than no fertility, then taking vitamin E can be an important step on the path to parenthood.

Improving male fertility. Vitamin E helps boost the vitality of sperm.

To perform its mission, the sperm cell has to make an arduous journey from the cervix to the opening of the fallopian tubes to meet the egg. Swimming through the cervical mucus by flexing its flagellum, or "tail," each sperm burns its supply of fructose sugar to power the trip.

Burning fructose creates a lot of free radicals. Many sperm "burn out" on the trip from the cervix to the fallopian tubes simply because they don't have enough antioxidants. That's where vitamin E comes in.

Scientists at the University of Montreal in Canada gave men who had low sperm counts vitamin

E and selenium supplements for four months. Both vitamin E and selenium are potent antioxidants. At the end of four months of daily supplementation, the scientists observed that the sperm, while not more numerous, had more "swimming ability" and far more were able to maintain their characteristic shape, rather than breaking down under oxidative stress. When the men went off the supplements, the sperm lost their vitality.

Studies that tested the use of vitamin E alone as a treatment for low male fertility typically used 200 to 600 IU per day. A study in Israel found that having the male partner take 200 IU of vitamin E (and no other supplements) per day increased pregnancy rates from 15 per cent to 29 per cent. Vitamin E isn't a treatment for men whose chances of fatherhood are 0 per cent, but it is a tremendous benefit when the problem is low fertility, not no fertility at all.

Improving health of pregnant women and their babies. Men make literally trillions of sperm in the lifetimes. Women, however, only have about 450 eggs. For that reason, no medical studies have ever been conducted on the direct results of vitamin E on the viability of a woman's eggs or on women's rates of conception. However, scientists do know that vitamin E is very important to healthy babies, especially babies born prematurely.

The reason antioxidants are so important to a baby's health is that the fluids of the uterus are only about 4 per cent oxygen, while the atmosphere is about 21 per cent oxygen. A newborn undergoes a powerful shock on drawing his or her first breath. Suddenly the baby's body is flooded with oxygen, and the child has to already have antioxidants to prevent damage-especially to the retina. The only way a baby can build up its supplies of antioxidants is to get them from the mother. That's why vitamin E is an important part of prenatal care.

Mothers to be don't need to take megadoses of vitamin E. The 20 mg a day of natural vitamin E found in a supplement containing Tocomin ® is enough. If a woman is going to take a vitamin E supplement, only 100 IU a day is needed, and alpha-tocopheryl-succinate is best. This form of vitamin E goes to work quickly, and it also is especially well absorbed in the placenta and breasts, where it is needed most.

Vitamin E is important for both men and women seeking to become parents. Men need a lot of vitamin E. Women just need a little. But both men and women are far more likely to become parents of healthy children with the help of this antioxidant vitamin.

Selected References:

Aitken RJ. The role of free oxygen radicals and sperm production. Int Jour Androl 1989; 12: 95-97.

Zini A et al. Reactive oxygen species in semen of infertile patients. Int Jour Androl 1993; 16: 183-88.

Written By Robert S. Rister
Robert Rister is the author of Healing without Medication and many other books that have been translated into eight languages. He is a chemist, a formulator of natural products, and a writer of consumer guides to getting the greatest value from natural health care.

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