Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is responsible for numerous functions in the body, including calcium absorption, white blood cell production and blood pressure regulation. In addition, it might help boost levels of testosterone, a hormone associated with maleness. Vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin from sun exposure and is found in salmon, mushrooms, eggs and dairy products.
Testosterone is a hormone found in higher amounts in males than females. It plays a role in sperm production, bone density, building muscle and libido. Testosterone levels are highest during adolescence and early adulthood, but slowly begin to decline after the age of 30. Symptoms of low testosterone include less sexual desire, increased body fat, fatigue and depression, according to the Urology Care Foundation.
Vitamin D Status
The relationship between vitamin D status and testosterone levels were studied by researchers from the Medical University in Austria. Scientists measured the vitamin D and testosterone levels in men undergoing a coronary angiography. They discovered that men with adequate vitamin D levels, defined as 30mcg/L or more, had higher testosterone levels compared to those with inadequate vitamin D levels, defined as 20 to 29.9mcg/L, according to findings reported in the August 2010 issue of “Clinical Endocrinology.”`
Vitamin D Supplementation
Scientists from the Medical University of Graz Austria examined the impact of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men with low testosterone. Participants received 3,332 international units of vitamin D or a placebo per day for one year. Researchers observed that the vitamin D group experienced increases in testosterone levels compared to the placebo group, according to research published in the March 2011 issue of the “Hormone and Metabolic Research.”
Side Effects and Interactions
Although it’s hard to receive too much vitamin D from foods, excessive vitamin D from supplementation may cause side effects, including excessive thirst, diarrhea, poor appetite and bone pain. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the safe upper limit for adults is 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily. It may interact with medications such as calcium channel blockers and atorvastatin. Therefore, consult with your health care physician before taking vitamin D supplements.