Some people mistakenly believe that “supplements” refer only to the stuff that meatheads use to juice up and bulk up, creating muscle that’s all for show with no real strength to back their play. And…there are some old-school philosophies out there that still support this antiquated way of thinking.
But make no mistake…supplements backed by science have a place. You see the results on the sports field. And, you see the result on the field of battle. Still there are skeptics that ask if there is any validity for the best vitamins for men training for military?
Support for Military Service
You’ve probably heard of sport-specific training, right? Well, career-specific preparations are really not that different.
Specialized activities require specialized physical training to excel and succeed. So then the idea of certain nutrients and supplements to support specialized lifestyles shouldn’t seem so unusual.
The fact is that those who choose military service are exposed to elements and stresses that the general population isn’t. And while many of these elements are man-made, science is discovering that Mother Nature has provided everything we need to combat those stresses.
There are several vitamins, minerals and supplements which can keep you healthy during military service and special ops assignments. Fatigue, jet lag, exposure to extreme temperature changes, lack of hydration, and the need to stay alert are just a few of the conditions that you’ll face as a soldier.
We cover many of of the nutrients that work well for those types of situations in the book Muscle Building ABCs. Here, we will talk about Vitamin E.
Special Benefits of Vitamin E for Soldiers and Other Exposed to Radiation
Vitamin E is most recognized for its antioxidant properties. For the military and other specialties at risk to extreme environmental forces such as radiation, Vitamin E takes on a whole new world of benefits.
There have been several studies conducted in the lab on mice exposed to total radiation. In those studies the mice were treated with an antioxidant blend which included Vitamin E before and/or after the radiation exposure.
What was the result? In all cases the antioxidants significantly increased the survival rate, total white blood cell counts, and bone marrow cell counts.
This is good news for men and women going into combat, into the space program, or into other volatile situations where exposure to chemicals and radiation is a real possibility.
Each study used a different blend of antioxidants; all included Vitamin E. The other ingredients included:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Carnosic Acid (found in Rosemary)
- Ocimum sanctum (O. sanctum leaf extract commonly known as Holy Basil)
- Turmeric extract
- l-selenomethionine (a form of selenium)
- Sodium ascorbate (a form of Vitamin C)
- N-acetyl cysteine
- Alphe-lipoic acid (a fat and water soluble antioxidant)
- Alpha-tocopherol succinate (aka alpha-TS…a form of Vitamin E)
- Co-enzyme Q10
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant which helps protect your body’s cells from the damaging effects caused by free radicals.
We are exposed to free radicals through the foods we eat as well as environmental factors such as pollution, cigarette smoke, chemicals, and ultraviolet light from the sun. Vitamin E boosts your immune system (as many vitamins do) and can also widen your blood vessels to avoid blood clots.
NOTE: This last point, the widening of blood vessels, should be considered if you are taken any prescription medicine that thins your blood. As with all dietary supplements, be sure that your doctor is aware of what you are taking to ward off any potential negative side effects.
Sources of Vitamin E
Vitamin E deficiencies can result when you either don’t eat enough vitamin-rich food, or when the food is cooked or processed in a way that eliminates most of the vitamins.
You can find Vitamin E in Oils like wheat germ (which contains the most and best type of Vitamin E), sunflower, and safflower. Nuts are also rich in Vitamin E such as Almonds (a top pick) and sunflower seeds.
Your green leafy veggies like spinach contain the vitamin. Finally, some food companies add Vitamin E to their processed foods. Although…the benefits of E in a processed, packaged food is often the less desirable way to ingest it.
A lack of Vitamin E is often found in people that have diseases where fat is not properly digested or absorbed such as Crohn’s disease or cystic fibrosis. Remember, Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin so it needs fat in order to be absorbed by the body.
What happens if you don’t have enough Vitamin E? Nerve and muscle damage, and a weakened immune system.
Benefits of Vitamin E
At the end of the day, supplementation is not about bulking up…it’s about building healthy cells. This is what gives you the edge so you stay in the best shape and experience a quality of life no matter how many candles you have on your birthday cake!
So is Vitamin E good for anything else? There have been studies conducted to discover any beneficial effects on conditions such as heart disease, cancer, eye disorders, and mental function. The results are mixed; however, the people in each study and the purpose of each study are mixed as well.
The conclusion in all cases seems to be that further study is warranted.
Most people would agree that prevention of illness is the best course of action in any nutritional and dietary health program. The more you can fortify your cells so they can naturally function and ward off the ill effects of free radicals and other environmental attacks, the better.
Prevention is better achieved when you get quality food, quality nutrients, maintain an active lifestyle, and can manage stress effectively. And getting the best vitamin for men training for military service does make a difference in how well you will perform.
When you want the best military training results, get the best dietary supplements…it’s that simple!