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Summertime Nutrition for Men

Summertime Nutrition for Men


Summer is an opportune time to focus on health – the weather tends to be pleasant, which makes many people naturally feel like being more active and vigorous. Since June is also Men’s Health Month, let’s discuss a few nutrients that could be beneficial for men during a fun and healthy summer. According to the research, supplementing with zinc, vitamin C, and citrus bioflavonoids together could support optimal testosterone levels, recovery from injuries, and athletic performance.*


Zinc is the second-most abundant trace element in the human body; and plays a crucial role in many metabolic processes, including energy metabolism, immune function, hormone production, and muscle contraction.1-3 Zinc does not readily accumulate in the body; therefore, it is essential to consume this mineral daily from foods and/or supplementation.2,4 It is recommended that most adults consume at least 14mg of zinc per day.5

Zinc is a component of over 300 crucial enzymes, so a zinc deficiency could significantly impair health.6 Roughly two billion people worldwide are affected by suboptimal zinc status, and a severe zinc deficiency may contribute to multiple disorders, including immune abnormalities, abnormal hormone levels, and skin concerns. Zinc deficiency is also associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases and anemia. Since approximately 60% of all zinc in the body is in muscle and only 0.1% is in the blood plasma, the blood zinc level is not a reliable marker of zinc status.3 Therefore, diagnosing a zinc deficiency can be challenging.

Summertime Nutrition for Men Zinc

In men, a zinc deficiency may negatively impact health in many ways. A low zinc level can affect testosterone due to zinc’s role in hormone metabolism and its effect on steroid hormone receptors.7 The pituitary in the brain produces a hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH) that then stimulates testosterone production in the Leydig cells in the male reproductive system. Zinc is required for both the synthesis and the secretion of LH, so testosterone production is zinc-dependent.4,5 And, several studies have shown a zinc deficiency correlates with a lower testosterone level in the blood. Research has also demonstrated the restoration of normal testosterone levels after supplementation with zinc.8 When evaluating the overall effect of a hormone, though, one must consider the amount of the hormone present plus the number of receptors, or binding sites, since the receptors allow the hormone to exert its effects in the body. An animal study demonstrated that zinc deficiency decreases the number of testosterone binding sites, which then causes an overall reduction in the impact of the testosterone.9

It is fascinating to note competitive athletes appear to be at a greater risk for zinc deficiency than the general population. One study that examined the effect of zinc supplementation on testosterone concentrations in healthy young adults before and after exhaustive exercise reported that zinc supplementation increased testosterone levels when compared to pre-supplementation levels.5 Intense exercise may reduce the red blood cell (RBC) concentrations of zinc, which could then impair athletic performance. According to a study by Maynar et al., the swimmers with the highest degree of training had the lowest RBC zinc levels.2

Summertime Nutrition for Men Dog

Insufficient dietary zinc intake may also decrease exercise performance by affecting glucose uptake, glycogen synthesis, strength, endurance, aerobic power, insulin signaling, protein synthesis, and muscle repair mechanisms.1,3-7,10 Taken together, depletion of zinc in the body could negatively impact athletic performance to a significant extent.1 For this reason, active individuals could consider monitoring the zinc level in their red blood cells and supplementing with zinc to avoid the detrimental effects of a zinc deficiency on athletic performance.2

Zinc also plays a significant role in wound healing, and injuries can be common when engaging in physical activity during the summer. Studies dating back to the 1970s have shown the importance of an optimal zinc status for wound healing in patients with burn injuries and those recovering from surgery. Zinc is especially important in the skin, and approximately 5% of the zinc in the body is in the skin. Even a mild zinc deficiency is associated with roughened skin and impaired wound healing.11 Zinc helps coordinate every phase of the wound healing process. Specifically, zinc affects membrane repair, oxidative stress, inflammation, immune defense, tissue regeneration, blood vessel regeneration, and scar formation.11,12 Animal studies of the wound healing process have shown that within the first 24 hours after injury, there is a 15% to 20% increase in zinc levels near the wound, which then surges up to 30% as wound healing continues.12

Summertime Nutrition for Men Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that must be consumed daily. In humans, vitamin C is abundant in the endocrine system and is necessary to regulate adrenal and gonadal steroid hormone production, including testosterone production. There is also a high concentration of vitamin C in the pituitary gland in the brain, and vitamin C appears to play a significant role in the secretion of several pituitary hormones, including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Since testosterone production is regulated by LH, adequate vitamin C intake is necessary for optimal testosterone levels. One animal study confirmed administration of vitamin C significantly increased testosterone production by over 400% in three weeks.13 And, several additional animal studies confirm the administration of vitamin C increases testosterone production in general.14-16 Research also confirms Vitamin C protects against the effects of toxic substances that could impact the testosterone level, including alcohol, medications, and toxic metals.17-24 And, like zinc, vitamin C is required for optimal wound healing. Since vitamin C promotes the synthesis of collagen and a healthy inflammatory response, it supports the healing of cuts, scrapes, sprains, strains, and other types of summertime injuries.25-29

Citrus fruits and leaves on white background - InterPlexus Blog Summertime Nutrition for Men

Citrus Bioflavonoids

Polyphenols are compounds naturally present in plants and include bioflavonoids derived from fruits such as citrus, pomegranates, cherries, and berries. Recent studies have shown polyphenols have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that could offer an effective strategy to enhance muscle strength and improve muscle recovery after exercise.30,31 Nutritional supplementation is commonly used by athletes – should they consider adding bioflavonoids to a supplementation protocol?

Let’s look at the research!

A clinical trial that assessed whether supplementation with a citrus bioflavonoid complex for up to 8 weeks improved anaerobic exercise capacity concluded YES – daily supplementation with a citrus bioflavonoid complex significantly improved anaerobic capacity and peak power during high-intensity exercise in moderately trained individuals. Another clinical study showed polyphenols increased maximal power output, average power, and total power output during high-intensity exercise without inducing more fatigue.30 Moreover, the administration of citrus bioflavonoids improved vascular function by reducing inflammation and stimulating nitric oxide production. Increased nitric oxide production is associated with the dilation of blood vessels, which then causes a reduction in blood pressure and an increase in blood flow to active muscles. The increased blood flow removes fatigue-related metabolites and delivers critical nutrients and oxygen to the muscles.30,31 Overall, studies have determined bioflavonoids increase average power by 2.3% to 5%, maximum speed by 3.2%, peak power by 3.7%, and total energy by 2.6% without increasing the maximum heart rate (HR).30 Furthermore, bioflavonoids may exert other intracellular effects that support mitochondrial function to maintain a high energy level. Research has also shown polyphenols induce the biogenesis of new mitochondria, which then produce additional energy for further gains.31 According to the latest research, citrus bioflavonoids could be included in a supplement protocol to maximize athletic performance capacity.*

In conclusion, zinc, vitamin C, and citrus bioflavonoids are supplements all men could consider incorporating into their daily routine this summer. Research confirms these nutrients support optimal testosterone levels, recovery from summertime injuries, and improved athletic performance, which will help everyone have a healthy, active, and fun summer!*

Zinc, Vitamin C, and Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex are available as a synergistic blend in Zinc PlusTM from Interplexus.*

* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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