Men, Why Should you Care about Vitamin D

Four ways that Vitamin D can effect men

The winter months are upon us and as such we are seeing less sunlight and soaking in less of its wonderful warmth. Decreased sunlight hours coupled with increased time indoors avoiding the cold temperatures contribute to a loss of our main source of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is essential for bone health. Its presence is needed in order for the body to absorb calcium from our diet and build strong bones. One of the most common conditions linked to vitamin D deficiency is osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis is sometimes thought of as a “women’s disease” as women aged 50 years or older have a four times higher rate of osteoporosis compared to their male counterparts.[1] However, with continued research, there are many reasons that men should also be concerned with Vitamin D levels.

[1] Alswat KA. Gender Disparities in Osteoporosis. J Clin Med Res. 2017;9(5):382-387. doi:10.14740/jocmr2970w

Injury Risk

There is a well-known relationship between vitamin D and muscle function, with Vitamin D deficiency leading to muscle fiber atrophy, slow peak muscle contraction, prolonged time to muscle relaxation, and increased risk of chronic musculoskeletal pain.[1] Fast twitch muscle fibers are particularly sensitive to vitamin D deficiency. These fibers are important in burst activities necessary for peak performance and fall avoidance, so it is important that they are in working order!

[1] Shuler FD, Wingate MK, Moore GH, Giangarra C. Sports health benefits of vitamin d. Sports Health. 2012;4(6):496-501. doi:10.1177/1941738112461621

Weight Management

It’s been shown that vitamin D deficiency has a strong correlation with increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), type II diabetes, hypertonicity, and obesity. Those individuals with a high BMI and/or weight circumference are more likely to have an insufficient amount of vitamin D compared to those with less body fat.  One study even showed that supplementation of vitamin D with doses 50,000 IU/w for 6 weeks in obese and overweight individuals helped to reduce BMI and weight measures. [1]

[1] Khosravi ZS, Kafeshani M, Tavasoli P, Zadeh AH, Entezari MH. Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Weight Loss, Glycemic Indices, and Lipid Profile in Obese and Overweight Women: A Clinical Trial Study. Int J Prev Med. 2018;9:63. Published 2018 Jul 20. doi:10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_329_15

Testosterone

Research conducted by the Medical University of Graz found total testosterone levels increased in men who supplemented Vitamin D over the course of a year.[1] Furthermore, there may be a correlation between a lack of vitamin D and erectile dysfunction (ED). This has to do with vitamin D’s correlation to CVD as ED is an important indicator of CVD.[2]

[1] Roberts, Alex. 5 Reasons You Need to Take Vitamin D This Winter-As science shows it tanks arthritis, we shine a light on this multi-skilled supp. MensHealth. 2017

[2] Sorenson M, Grant WB. Does vitamin D deficiency contribute to erectile dysfunction?. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(2):128-136. doi:10.4161/derm.20361

Decreased Cancer Risks

It has been thought that men with higher intakes or circulating levels of vitamin D may have a reduced risk of prostate cancer. One study has demonstrated that while it is still uncertain if vitamin D will reduce the risk of getting cancer, men with very low levels of vitamin D had an approximately two-fold increased risk of being diagnosed with more aggressive prostate cancers.[1]

[1] Martin, Richard. Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer. https://www.wcrf.org/researchwefund/vitamin-d-and-prostate-cancer/

The research is continuing, but there have been some promising correlations and findings on the protective effects of vitamin D. As many of us are deficient of this important nutrient, especially during the winter months in North Dakota, this may be an important vitamin to add to our supplement cabinet!

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