This article reviews recent research on the new link between Vitamin D and testosterone production. Could Vitamin D be a secret testosterone booster? Does low Vitamin D mean low testosterone? Read on and find out some surprising answers.
A epidemiological study done at the Medical University Graz in Austria that was published in Clinical Endocrinology in 2010 shows vitamin D supplementation is simple and powerful way for men to raise their testosterone level.
Vitamin D is technically not a “vitamin,” vitamin D is unique and in a class of its own. D’s metabolic product, calcitriol, is actually a secosteroid hormone and is the key that unlocks binding sites on the human genome. Human genomes holds more than 2,700 binding sites for calcitriol; those binding sites are near the genes in people involved in virtually every known major disease of humans. We also find among those vitamin D impacted genes are a few that are responsible for the production of testosterone in the Leydig cells.
There is an increasing body of research evidence showing that vitamin D is not only an important vitamin, but essential, and a nutrient that an overwhelming majority of the human population in the “west” has too little of in their systems. Why are inhabitants in the west so low in vitamin D? Simply put because our food contains too little of this vital nutrient leaving us dependent on the vitamin D that our body produces when our skin cells, once exposed to sunlight, makes when it convert cholesterol into vitamin D. But we also get too little sunlight and are therefore chronically deficient in vitamin D.
This chronic Vitamin D deficiency has many ramifications one of which is the question whether or not men in the west make too little testosterone? The Austrian researches focused on this question as they constructed this informative, revealing study. The study focused on the blood of 2300 male subjects in their 60’s. Out the subject pool only eleven percent of them had sufficient vitamin D levels in their blood and that the more vitamin D the men had in their blood, the higher their testosterone levels and their concentration of free testosterone [FAI].
Now, the concentration of vitamin D in the blood fluctuates with the seasons. The vitamin D concentration is highest after the summer. This is when some studies find the concentration of testosterone in men is highest. [Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2006 Aug;31(7):895-9.] The Austrians study confirmed that testosterone levels and vitamin D levels rise and fall in synch in the human body and seasons.
If men make sure they have enough vitamin D in their blood they also produce more testosterone. So what about those who take multivitamin tablets? Most multivitamins contain vitamin D, but not in significant enough levels. The Austrians researchers found the same results in their study. They noted that 78 test subjects of the 2300 total reported taking multi-vitamin supplements regularly most of which usually contained vitamin D3. Researchers noted “because 25(OH)D levels were only slightly higher in users of vitamin D preparations (mean 22.1 microg/l) compared with the remaining cohort (mean 17.2 microg/l), we decided to include these patients in the present analyses.”
So, when you think of supplementing Vitamin D you need to think of higher vitamin D doses somewhere between 400 and 1000 units per pill. A persons goal should be blood levels of 60-80 ng/ml of 25(OH)D, a person should adjust your vitamin D3 dose to achieve this level. Generally each 1,000 IU increase will lead to a 10 ng/ml increase in blood levels.