What You Didn’t Know About Vitamin D – But Should
This one is for the men.
Noticing some finicky little changes in your health? Understanding the importance of balanced hormones can make all the difference. And making changes may be as easy as walking outside. That’s because science is finding a link between Vitamin D and testosterone levels.
Testosterone is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands and testicles. It is known as the primary male sex hormone and promotes sexual characteristics such as muscle and bone mass and body hair, as well as playing a key role in male reproductive tissues like the prostate and testes.
It’s no secret that proper levels of testosterone are critical for peak performance. But sometimes testosterone becomes depleted. And the lower the level, the greater the adverse effects on your health. Weight gain, fatigue, decreased sex drive, and more can happen when testosterone levels dip.
But what causes that dip?
Your body can experience a decrease in testosterone for a number of reasons:
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Certain drugs and medications (like spironolactone and marijuana)
But don’t worry. If you are experiencing trouble balancing hormones we have good news! Studies are finding statistically noteworthy increases in testosterone levels in men that increase their vitamin D intake.
A majority of people in the United States suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency – and don’t even realize it. Worldwide, an estimated 1 billion people suffer from low levels of Vitamin D. Symptoms are subtle but they can cause ongoing problems for your body and health.
Groups at highest risk include:
- The elderly
- Those who stay indoors often
- Those with dark skin
- Those living far from the equator
- Those who slather up in sunscreen every time they leave the house
Vitamin D is a prohormone produced by your kidneys. When your skin interacts with sunlight, a chemical reaction occurs converting those prohormones into hormones.
Vitamin D is essential for bone health. Recent research suggests it may have other benefits, too, such as protecting against colds and fighting depression.
That’s why those suffering from depression and mood swings often have their Vitamin D levels checked for any discrepancy . In a way, humans are like plants; add water and sunlight, and our bodies are happy. And maybe throw in some chocolate.
There are other ways to get Vitamin D, such as supplements, but unfortunately, there are no foods that can provide the body with enough of this essential vitamin on their own. Foods like salmon, tuna and other fatty fishes, egg yolks (yes, the yolks), fortified milk and orange juice, and my all-time favorite (not really), liver – these foods are high in Vitamin D and should be added to the diet and any supplement intake.
These are all good. But the best and easiest way to absorb the nutrients? To get your daily dose of vitamin D?
Spend some time outdoors.
The Risk of UV Rays: What About my Tan?
Though years of research have warned of the harmful affects of UV rays from the sun, (think skin cancer), more recent research reveals you may actually be missing out on the benefits of sunshine.
So go for that tan!
Just don’t over-do it. Spending just 10-30 minutes a day getting some rays helps your body produce the vitamin D it requires.
Try it. It’ll brighten your day.