What Is Vitamin D3?
, which is also known as Cholecalciferol, is not actually a vitamin at all, but a hormone that is produced by the skin.
Cholecalciferol is made by the skin after it has been exposed to ultraviolet light, which can be found in sunlight.
It also helps in the delivery of calcium, production of testosterone, and maintaining prostate health, among many other functions.
It is typically taken by mouth in supplement form in order to help address vitamin D deficiency.
You can find Cholecalciferol naturally occurring in foods such as cheese, eggs and fish.
While Vitamin D deficiency is common among men and athletes, the issues that can arise from this deficiency is one that needs to be noted, especially for men.
Vitamin D3 and Men’s Health
There are several ways that vitamin D3 plays a role in men’s health.
This important substance helps to regulate many body processes, from reproductive health and testosterone production, to calcium absorption and bone density.
It is becoming more and more evident that vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem that is adversely affecting the health of men worldwide.
Not only does vitamin D help and assist our bodies to build stronger bones, it could also potentially save our lives.
To gain a better idea of how common this deficiency is among men, research showed that nearly 70% of men ages 20 to 29 revealed some level of deficiency.
This data would indicate that there is a distinct possibility that you yourself could be vitamin D deficient.
We will now discuss some common conditions associated with deficient levels of vitamin D in the body.
At least one study has shown a link between Vitamin D deficiency as a predictor of aggressive prostate cancer.
Current research indicates that the receptor cells for vitamin D and estrogen cooperate to encourage good health.
When these receptor cells become damaged in men, they can develop a higher risk for prostate cancer.
As a result, the supplementation with vitamin D could prove to be life-altering, especially if the prostate is being monitored for any abnormalities.
This monitoring becomes even more important as men get older.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to weaker muscles and atrophy, which makes it critical, especially for health and fitness enthusiasts.
If you are an athlete, regular monitoring may be something you may want to consider so as not to exacerbate an potentially existing condition.
In fact, deficient levels of vitamin D have been directly linked with low-T in otherwise healthy middle-aged men.
Also, the presence of vitamin D receptors in the testicles (where testosterone is produced) would further suggest an important role for the vitamin.
The reason for the vitamin D/testosterone connection is largely uncertain, but it appears that some function of vitamin D is needed for testosterone synthesis.
Not only can vitamin D3 maintain healthy testosterone levels, it also keeps a hormone called estradiol (an estrogen hormone) to a minimum.
Certain levels of estradiol are important for helping to maintain a healthy hormonal balance for proper bone, brain, and reproductive health.
However, elevated estradiol levels in men can create a whole host of problems, including loss of muscle mass, weight gain, enlarged prostate, erectile dysfunction and low sex drive.
Maintaining good vitamin D levels can ensure that the balance between estradiol and testosterone remains in a healthy and balanced state.
Vitamin D3 Production and Aging
The numbers of people with vitamin D deficiency has proven to be a global occurrence, especially with age.
As we get older, the ability for our bodies to take ultraviolet rays and ultimately convert them into an active form of Vitamin D goes down.
This means that a deficiency could occur, or an existing one could potentially get worse.
For men, keeping up on their Vitamin D levels and how much of it they are ingesting is critical, as it can help prevent other issues later on down the line.
Since vitamin D deficiency is linked to things such as prostate cancer, low testosterone levels, and other conditions, continuous monitoring is vital.
The best way to find out what your levels are is to visit your Doctor, who can then speak to you further about testing.
A blood test can be conducted to give you a better idea of where you are at.
According to some experts and the Vitamin D Council, the normal level for men, measured in Nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), falls in the range of 50 ng/mL to 80 ng/mL.
Finding out what your levels are can help you improve your situation, but in addition to that, you’ll find some added benefits as well.
If you grew up having been told that you needed to drink milk for stronger bones since it contained vitamin D, then you already know one of the major benefits of taking this important vitamin.
Here are some other suggested benefits:
- Improved muscle strength and function.
- Protects against cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
- Promotes healthy prostate function.
- Improves sex drive, erection quality, and sperm health.
- Reduces chronic inflammation.
- May help improve cognitive function and decrease risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Increased immune function.
There are other direct and suggested benefits that could come about from taking a Vitamin D3 supplement, but the ones listed above are of the greatest importance, especially as we get older.
Vitamin D3 and Bodybuilding
Vitamin D deficiency is fairly common in men, as well as athletes.
Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, a deficiency of this vitamin is linked to atrophy as well as a weakening of the muscles.
Because of it’s important connection to testosterone production, muscle function, and bone health, maintaining adequate levels of D3 is becoming a staple supplement for bodybuilders, weightlifters, athletes, and anyone wanting to increase strength and muscle mass.
To perform at optimal levels, it is crucial that athletes, especially bodybuilders, power lifters and weight lifters, ensure that they are getting enough Vitamin D.
Vitamin D3 (or Cholecalciferol) can be taken in a variety of forms.
You can take it in liquid form, as a tablet, capsule, chewable, or an oral solution.
For individuals who may have an insufficiency, the recommended dosage is 600 to 2,000 international units (IU) taken orally, once a day.
The maximum dose is 4,000 IU per day.
The usual dose for adults who may have a deficiency is an initial dose of 50,000 IU taken once a week for 8 weeks or 6,000 IU taken once a day for 8 weeks.
After initial dosing is done, the maintenance dose is 1,500 to 2,000 IU taken once a day, with the maximum dose being 10,000 IU taken per day.
When normal doses are taken, or if your doctor has advised that you need to take a specific amount, the determination is that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Most people who take Vitamin D3 do not suffer serious side effects, however that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any.
When taken in high doses, vitamin D3 can be toxic.
Side effects that some users have experienced have been things such as:
- mood changes
- increased thirst
- trouble breathing
There are other possible side effects, but if you begin taking Vitamin D3 and experience any of the above, you should seek medical help immediately.
Vitamin D doesn’t just help you to build better bones.
As we’ve discussed, there are many other added benefits.
A deficiency in men, especially older men, is not uncommon.
This makes it important for you to determine where your levels are.
If for no other reason, it is important for men to check their levels regularly for the prostate cancer link mentioned previously.
If you’ve been feeling a bit tired, losing strength and finding your muscles begin to atrophy, then you may want to visit your doctor and get checked out.
As with any other supplements, be sure to consult your doctor beforehand to see if it’s necessary, how much you should take, and if it could potentially cause you more harm than good.