Vitamin E And Testosterone – What Is The Relationship?
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is widely known for its antioxidative properties. Besides acting as an antioxidant, Vitamin E also has numerous beneficial effects on your health, such as naturally boosting testosterone levels and improving cardiovascular health.
Effects Of vitamin E On Testosterone
Approximately 100 years back, tocopherols were discovered as main micronutrient that prevents fetal resorption of tissues and cells. As it was the 5th vitamin to be discovered, this vitamin was named as “vitamin E”. After several years of discovery, vitamin E was divided into two groups i.e. tocopherols and tocotrienols. In 1930s this vitamin was discovered as antiestrogenic compound and was used to treat infertility, diabetes, blood clots and abnormalities of connective tissues.
Vitamin E has a very strong impact on reproductive health. From first animal research study, it was clearly indicated that vitamin E plays a vital role in the maintenance of both male and female fertility. Later another study suggested that its deficiency can cause suppression of testicular activity and production of testosterone.
Our diet is enriched with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and due to their long double carbon chains, they easily get oxidized by heat, light, and oxygen. This means, if you consume a diet rich in PUFA, more PUFA fat will be stored in your body. In other words, your body will have a higher proportion of compounds that will protect your body from oxidation-reduction reactions. The lipid peroxidation process rancidifies PUFA and leads to formation of more reactive oxygen species (ROS) which causes oxidative damage to cells and tissues. As a result, the stress hormone “cortisol” gets elevated, suppressing testosterone levels.
Vitamin E is a peroxyl radical hunter that protects PUFA inside lipoproteins and membranes. This will prevent formation of free radicals and reduce the risk of damage to cells and tissues due to oxidative stress (elicited by emotional stress, smoke, pollutants, drugs etc.)
- PUFA is found to be the most potent suppressing agent of testosterone and DHT. While this vitamin significantly reduces the lipid peroxidation of PUFA which explains why it is good for reproductive health.
- As per one study, 483mg of alpha-tocopherol can significantly raise the level of total, free, tissue and plasma testosterone.
- Besides increasing testosterone, it has other beneficial effects too. Being antiestrogen, it lowers the serum estrogen, suppresses prolactin and without affecting DHT and enzyme 5-a reductase, it enhances the prostatic health.
From the results of research studies and the mechanisms it is quite clear how beneficial vitamin E is for men and they should add it to their routine diet. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin E is 15mg/day. Besides vitamin E intake, one should also limit the amount of PUFA in diet.
- Aydilek, N., Aksakal, M., & Karakılçık, A. Z. (2004). Effects of testosterone and vitamin E on the antioxidant system in rabbit testis. Andrologia, 36(5), 277-281.
- Sahoo, D. K., Roy, A., & Chainy, G. B. (2008). Protective effects of vitamin E and curcumin on L-thyroxine-induced rat testicular oxidative stress. Chemico-biological interactions, 176(2), 121-128.
- McVey, M. J., Cooke, G. M., Curran, I. H., Chan, H. M., Kubow, S., Lok, E., & Mehta, R. (2008). Effects of dietary fats and proteins on rat testicular steroidogenic enzymes and serum testosterone levels. Food and chemical toxicology, 46(1), 259-269.