Saturday, August 6, 2011

2g Vitamin C Ameliorate Low Testosterone Levels and Sexual Dysfunction in Diabetic Rats. Usefulness in Normoglycemic Individuals Still Questionable.

Illustration 1: In view of the increase in renal
vitamin C clearance with higher plasma levels
(Friedmann. 1940), it may be sensible to use a
time-released vitamin C formula, or, even
better, eat a serving of veggies or fruits that
are high in vitamin C multiple times a day
Yes, I know, supplemental vitamin C does not ward off the common cold... the same applies for taking super high doses of vitamin C as antioxidant buffers before or around workouts. In fact, studies have shown that the antioxidant overkill of a combination of vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants could negate the beneficial effects exercise has on human blood glucose management. Now, a group of Brazilian scientists has published a rodent study that seems to suggest that in the absence of exercise the addition of 2g (human equivalent for 80kg male) of vitamin C to your diet could partially restore sexually function and increase testosterone levels in diabetic patients (Fernandez. 2011).

In their study, the Fernandez et al. had fed 10 out of 20 hyperglycemic rats vitamin C enriched chow (+150mg) and found that the addition of the water-soluble vitamin had beneficial effects on oxidative strees biomarkers in the erythrocytes, which have proven to be a valuable indicator of stress levels for the whole body (Naziro─člu. 2001; Garg. 2000)] (cf. figure 1),
Figure 1: Stress markers TBARS, SOD, GSHt and GSH/Px in hyperglycemic rats after 30 days on normal (placebo) and vitamin C enriched chow; data expressed relative to normoglycemic controls (data adapted from Fernandez. 2011)
as well as reproductive organ weights, sperm parameters, plasma hormone levels (FSH, LH and testosterone), testicular and epididymal histo-morphometry and histopathology.of the hyperglycemic rats (cf. figure 2).
Figure 2: Organ weights (*visceral fat / 100g), reproductive hormones and sperm number and quality in hyperglycemic rats after 30 days on normal (placebo) or vitamin C enriched chow; values expressed relative to normoglycemic control (data adapted from Fernandez. 2011)
Vitamin C supplemented or not, compared to the normoglycemic control,  the diabetic rats must still be regarded as partially impotent and overall sickly, which is an observation the scientists omit, when they conclude
[...] the present study showed that vitamin C supplementation minimized some alterations in the male reproductive system caused by hyperglycemia such as reduction of testosterone and LH levels and impairment in sperm morphology. [italicization by Dr. Andro]
After all, what's the worth of a "minimizing" the negative effect on testosterone levels to  -71%? This may be 10% less damage than without vitamin C, but wouldn't it be much better not to get yourself into such a misery in the first place?
Note! Not everything that is good for sick people makes a viable addition to the supplementation regimen of a healthy or even athletic person. Even Fernandes and her co-workers emphasize that "is possible that the beneficial effects of vitamin C supplementation are only relevant to those individuals with low levels of vitamin C and high levels of oxidative stress that occur in hyperglycemic condition."
Well, regular exercise and the avoidance of high fructose corn syrup and the other sweet suspects you poise yourself with on a daily basis would be the way to go - and you know that!