Oxidative stress plays a pivotal role in many of the health challenges facing men today. Free radicals—those misbehaving molecules that are missing one electron—can create chaos throughout the body, causing a number of ailments. Rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular issues, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), neurologic disorders, and even some types of cancer have all been linked to oxidation in the body. That’s why it’s so important to counteract this oxidative stress with plenty of antioxidants.
Over the years we’ve seen nearly endless evidence that those eating an antioxidant-rich diet have a lower risk of coronary heart issues and an improved quality of life overall. And there’s good reason for that. Antioxidants fight pesky oxidation by scavenging those problematic free radicals that damage cell membranes, and tamper with DNA, making them essential for complete health. Even if you are getting ample amounts of antioxidants in your diet, it’s smart to give yourself an added boost with the following supplements:
Numerous studies have demonstrated the favorable health benefits of curcumin—the compound that gives turmeric root its golden hue. Curcumin is a robust antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that has been shown to support the immune system, joint health, mood, cognition, the cardiovascular system, the prostate, and more. However, dietary absorption of curcumin is very poor. Simply eating a diet high in turmeric isn’t enough to reap the rewards of this important nutrient. Standard supplements fall short of providing a significant heath boost, too, since curcumin in pure form is only absorbed at a rate of about 50 to 60 percent. But by combining curcumin with turmeric essential oils, absorption is increased seven-fold. This proprietary combination, known as BCM-95, greatly enhances the bioavailability of curcumin in the blood stream. And that helps to significantly suppress oxidative reactions, which is essential in the
war against free radicals.
Pomegranates are brimming with vital nutrients every body needs. Just one cup of raw pomegranate seeds contains important nutrients like vitamins C and K, and folate. But it’s pomegranate seed extract that’s getting more attention these days due to its remarkable antioxidant properties. Pomegranate seed extract has powerful polyphenols that contribute to the reduction of oxidative stress. It’s also been shown to guard against the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol particles, one of the markers on the path to heart disease. If that weren’t enough, research shows that the regular ingestion of pomegranate in cardiovascular patients had a positive effect on blood pressure, significantly lowered triglycerides, and improved the triglyceride/HDL (good) cholesterol ratio.
It’s not just the heart that’s helped by this promising nutrient. Evidence also suggests that taking a pomegranate seed extract could protect against prostate cancer. Preliminary studies show that pomegranate significantly slows the rate at which prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels go up, known as PSA doubling time. During one clinical trial conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, doubling time was significantly increased from 15 to 54 months in patients who consumed pomegranate juice daily. But just drinking pomegranate juice alone won’t give you all this fruit’s potential benefits. Look for a pomegranate seed extract supplement that has undergone supercritical CO2 extraction. This will ensure higher potency, solubility, purity, and a greater yield.
Grape Seed Extract
The health benefits of grapes have been known for centuries. These berries are an exceptional source of vitamins and minerals that your body needs. But simply enjoying a glass of red wine with dinner isn’t enough to reap all the rewards grapes have to offer. That’s why it’s important to incorporate a concentrated extract derived from grape seeds into your supplement regimen.
Grape seed extract (GSE) provides potent antioxidants called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs), which reduce free-radical damage much more effectively than vitamin E. Because of this, GSE has been shown to have the potential to favorably influence vascular function, appearing to significantly lower systolic blood pressure and heart rate, while improving blood flow. Based on reported findings, OPCs have also been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergic properties, making it a must-have for any man’s medicine cabinet.
Minerals are also critical for good health, and one of the most important is selenium. Your body uses selenium to make enzymes called selenoproteins, and some of them—like glutathione peroxidase (GPx3)—work as dynamic antioxidants, protecting endothelial cells from those detrimental oxidative molecules. A study conducted at the University of Minnesota found that individuals with both low HDL (good) cholesterol and low GPx3 activity are at a markedly increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Taking supplemental selenium can increase levels of GPx3 activity, which may help to reduce CVD mortality rates in men.
The prostate may get a helpful boost from this micronutrient as well. A Dutch study of more than 500 men has associated selenium intake to a diminished risk of prostate cancer. Researchers tested the levels of selenium in the toenails of the study’s subjects, a marker that gauges long-term selenium intake. The analysis found that the greater the level of selenium, the lower the risk for prostate cancer in study participants. Take 200 mcg a day to get all of selenium’s prostate-protecting benefits, however, taking a higher dosage without consulting with your physician is not recommended.
Last but certainly not least is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). In fact, CoQ10 may be one of the most crucial antioxidants you can take. That’s because it’s utilized for energy by every single cell in the body—and that’s especially true for the cells in the heart. So it’s little wonder that studies have linked a deficiency in CoQ10 with CVD and other heart-related ailments. CoQ10 works by inhibiting LDL oxidation and thus the progression of atherosclerosis. It also diminishes pro-inflammatory cytokines and decreases blood viscosity, which is helpful in patients with heart failure and coronary artery disease. And if you are on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, taking a CoQ10 supplement can replenish depleted stores and may even relieve statin-related muscle pain.
The problem is, CoQ10 levels start to diminish as you age, leaving you susceptible to free-radical damage. That’s why getting the most out of your supplement is imperative. Advancements in technology have allowed for a more effective and bioavailable type of CoQ10, called ubiquinol. Test results were significantly better after users began taking ubiquinol, indicating better absorption and free-radical scavenging activity compared to ordinary CoQ10 supplements.