There are a number of vitamin D benefits for men. Lately, vitamin D has been the subject of much clinical study. Research shows that vitamin D is not just important for bone health. This vital nutrient also plays a role in supporting healthy muscle development, testosterone levels, and mental health. In this article, we provide information about vitamin D and share three surprising vitamin D benefits for men.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps maintain healthy blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. It also enhances the absorption of calcium, helping to build and maintain strong bones. The role that vitamin D plays in bone health is probably its most well-known benefit.
What are some surprising vitamin D benefits for men?
We all know that vitamin D is beneficial for maintaining strong and healthy bones. But, did you know that it does so much more to help you stay healthy? Read on to learn more about three surprising vitamin D benefits for men.
1. Vitamin D is essential for muscle development.
Vitamin D plays an essential role in the development of skeletal muscle, which is the muscle attached to bones that help move the body. Adequate vitamin D is also instrumental in optimizing muscle strength and performance.
Even elite athletes can benefit from adequate vitamin D levels. In one study, researchers looked at the vitamin D blood levels of more than 200 college football athletes. Nearly 60% of these athletes had abnormal vitamin D levels, while 10% had a severe deficiency. Those athletes with lower levels of vitamin D had a higher prevalence of muscle strain and core muscle injury. Adequate levels of vitamin D are essential for high-level athletes and weekend warriors alike to optimize muscle strength.
2. Vitamin D supplementation might improve testosterone levels.
The male reproductive tract is known as a target area for vitamin D. Testosterone (a male hormone) plays a crucial role in bone mass, muscle strength, fat distribution, and even sex drive. One study found that men taking vitamin D supplements had higher testosterone levels than the placebo group.
3. Vitamin D supplementation may improve mood.
Evidence for a link between vitamin D deficiency and mental health is growing. Vitamin D receptors are widespread in the brain, including the hippocampus, and it is thought that this nutrient may be a key player in our overall mental well-being.
How do I know if I’m deficient in vitamin D?
More than 41% of adults in the U.S. are deficient in vitamin D, with the highest rate of deficiency found in minorities. To see if you are deficient in vitamin D, your healthcare professional can do a simple blood test to measure your vitamin D (25(OH)D) level.
The Institute of Medicine proposed that a vitamin D level of 20 ng/mL is sufficient for most people, with 20-50 ng/mL considered a safe range. However, many vitamin D experts recommend maintaining at least 30 ng/mL, with 30-80 ng/mL regarded as optimal vitamin D sufficiency. While 20-30 ng/mL is considered insufficiency, and less than 20 ng/mL is recognized as vitamin D deficiency.
Lab tests commonly list 100 ng/mL as the upper limit, above which the risk of vitamin D toxicity increases.
How much vitamin D do I need?
Health experts do not agree about the optimal daily dose of vitamin D. The current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 600-800 IU per day, and the upper limit for daily intake for men is 4,000 IU. It is difficult to get even 600 IU daily from food alone since only a few foods contain vitamin D. Also, vitamin D researchers consider the RDA to be conservative. These experts often recommend higher doses for most adults, particularly those who have low or deficient vitamin D levels.
According to the Endocrine Society, adults with vitamin D deficiency (below 20 ng/mL), malabsorption issues, or who are obese or take certain medications may need higher doses of vitamin D daily to achieve a normal blood level (above 30 ng/mL). Speak to your healthcare provider to determine if you need to take a higher level of vitamin D.
Men can benefit in so many ways from having adequate vitamin D levels including supporting healthy muscles, promoting healthy testosterone levels, and supporting mental health.
Consult your healthcare professional to help determine how much vitamin D you need. Be sure to choose a high-quality supplement that is safe and effective, if supplementation is recommended to you.
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