What do men’s health and vitamin D have in common? More than you might think! In fact, many people don’t realize that vitamin D plays an important role in men’s health, too. It helps maintain muscle function, aids immune system responses, and even helps ensure healthy reproductive function. But does this mean all men should rush out and start taking Vitamin D supplements? The answer to that question is both yes and no! Read on to learn more about the benefits of vitamin D for men’s health and what to consider before taking it.
Why do I need it?
This question is quickly answered when looking at how vitamin D helps maintain a healthy weight. The hormone leptin, which tells your brain you are full, is synthesized from vitamin D. This means that men who have low levels of vitamin D in their bodies will have lower amounts of leptin and will be more likely to gain weight. This leads to overweight or high BMI men and overall poor health. If you’d like to calculate your BMI, check our BMI charts for men.
Fat is carried in adipose tissue, which sits beneath your skin. This fatty tissue also produces leptin, and if you do not have enough vitamin D to create it, you will not be able to regulate body fat or know when you are full properly. Overweight men with low vitamin D levels will likely struggle with maintaining a healthy weight and staying healthy because of their higher susceptibility to serious diseases. This is why overweight men need to use vitamin supplements.
As a man, you may also have higher testosterone levels, which means that you are less likely to retain calcium in your bones. This makes it harder for your body to create bone marrow, properly synthesizing healthy red blood cells. Healthy red blood cells deliver oxygen to your muscles and other organs to function correctly. Without enough vitamin D, your body will not be able to create enough healthy red blood cells for oxygen delivery and overall fitness.
Where do I get vitamin D?
While we can’t make it out in sunlight, there are other ways to get our hands on vitamin D. So, how do you know if you’re getting enough? Most doctors recommend that men between the ages of 19 and 70 have levels between 20-40 ng/ml. The easiest way to ensure you’re getting enough is to take a supplement—and there are few better sources than vitamin D3.
When you take a supplement, what you’re getting is vitamin D3. This is important because while they’re both forms of vitamin D, they work differently in your body. Studies have shown that vitamin D3 is absorbed more quickly than other forms such as vitamin D2 or cod liver oil when taken as a supplement.
You can also get vitamin D in your diet. The primary food sources include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. While these are all great foods to eat, they only account for a small number of your daily needs. So unless you’re eating these foods regularly, you’ll probably need to supplement them with vitamin D3 to ensure that you’re getting enough.
How much vitamin D should I take?
If you’re going to supplement, it’s important to know how much vitamin D you need. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU for men and women between 11 and 70 years old; however, recent research has shown that higher doses are necessary for stronger bones in adults—the elderly should aim for around 800 IU daily.
Most vitamin D supplements are measured in micrograms (mcg), which you should take as a daily multi-vitamin. If you’re taking an individual supplement, aim for at least 400 IU, and don’t exceed 4,000 IU.
What are the best forms of Vitamin D?
One of the most common forms of vitamin D is through skin exposure to sunlight. A doctor should determine the benefits of vitamin D and healthy lifestyles before you begin taking any supplements. Healthy lifestyle options are often best when looking at how to get vitamins and minerals from food sources.
Another smart way to get vitamin D is through food. Milk, cheese, cereals, and orange juice are some of our top choices for adding vitamin D and healthy lifestyles into our daily lives. When looking at how to get vitamins from food, we want to ensure that we’re getting as much vitamin A and B12 as possible.
How long before I notice results?
If you suffer from a deficiency, vitamin D supplements can take four to six months before they are fully effective. However, if you get enough sun exposure, it takes approximately three days for your body to produce all the vitamin D you need. If you live in a location where sun exposure is limited, or if you have darker skin (which makes absorbing UV rays harder), it’s a good idea to supplement with 2,000 international units (IU) daily.
The Other Benefits Of Taking Vitamin D
Besides helping to ward off osteoporosis, bone fractures, and chronic pain, several other health benefits are associated with taking vitamin D supplements. As a natural hormone synthesized by your body, vitamin D is involved in virtually every primary organ system: promoting strong bones and a healthy immune system to reduce risks for various types of cancer. In addition, it may also help prevent or reduce symptoms of conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
Some research suggests that taking vitamin D supplements may improve your body mass index (BMI) and reduce your body fat percentage by promoting weight loss through enhanced metabolic function. This can make vitamin D an essential part of any healthy diet—particularly if you’re struggling with being overweight or obese.
If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can be difficult. When your body mass index is too high, it may mean that your body fat percentage is also elevated. Vitamin D supplements can help improve weight loss through their positive effects on metabolism. One study found that those supplemented with vitamin D had better triglyceride and glucose levels than those who did not supplement.
So there you have it! There are plenty of benefits of vitamin D for men’s health. So get out there, get some sun and soak up all of that glorious vitamin D!
Read our post here if you are interested in other health tips for overweight men.