The link between vitamin D and testosterone in overweight men
There is a link between low blood levels of vitamin D and low levels of testosterone in overweight, young men, according to a study that is published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Endocrinology. It is also well known that vitamin D deficiency is more widespread among overweight people and this can affect your resistance, blood sugar levels, and a number of other functions. In fact, overweight individuals should make sure to get enough vitamin D. For men, it’s vital to produce sufficient quantities of testosterone, a hormone that is important for muscle mass, bones, vitality, fertility, and libido.
Testosterone is responsible for the development of skeletal muscle, sex organs, the stimulation of hair growth, the development of the voice, and for sexual desire in both men and women. Testosterone also affects the immune system and the spatial sense that is located in the right brain half. Men produce more testosterone than women, but levels of the hormone in both genders decrease as they age. It appears that overweight, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes in particular can inhibit male testosterone levels. The diet also plays a large role, and in the new study the scientists looked closer at the relation between blood levels of vitamin D and testosterone in young, overweight men.
Overweight men’s lack of vitamin D and testosterone is a dangerous cocktail
The scientists recruited young men who had been treated for their overweight during the period between 2013 and 2015 at health centers in Malaga, Spain. Men with comorbidities such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc. were excluded from the study. The researchers also excluded men whose blood levels of vitamin D had been raised artificially with various types of medical therapy. A total of 269 healthy, overweight men aged 30-40 years were divided into two groups. One group had vitamin D levels in the blood that were above 20 ng/mL, while the other group had levels below that threshold. According to the American health authorities, vitamin D levels below 20 ng/mL are referred to as the lower threshold, while levels above 50 ng/mL are defined as being optimal for a person’s health.
Both vitamin D groups were divided into three sub-groups with BMI readings of 30-35, 35-40, and 40+, respectively. Having a BMI higher than 40 is considered to be potentially life-threatening. The researchers also measured levels of testosterone and other sex hormone-related factors such as androstenedione, SHGB (sex hormone-binding globulin), and estradiol. When the researchers compared the different data and measurements, they found a direct link between low levels of vitamin D and low levels of testosterone, especially in heavily overweight men.
According to the scientists, low levels of vitamin D and testosterone in overweight men is a harmful cocktail that deserves more attention.
The new study is published in Frontiers in Endocrinology and supports an earlier study that is published in Clinical Endocrinology. Here, the scientists also observed that lack of vitamin D in men was related to having low levels of testosterone. Also, the scientists noticed that vitamin D levels were at their lowest in the early spring, which is when the vitamin D that has been stored in the liver all through summer has been used up.
- Vitamin D blood measurements cause quite a lot of confusion because two different methods are used: ng/mL and nmol/L
- In order to convert ng/mL to nmol/L, one must multiply ng/mL by 2.5.
- That way, the lowest threshold value of 20 ng/mL equals 30 nmol/L
Vitamin D deficiency is rather common, especially among overweight people
Lack of vitamin D is widespread because we spend too much time indoors. Furthermore, we are unable to synthesize the vitamin during the winter period where the sun sits too low in the sky. Other factors like having dark skin, being old, or using cholesterol-lowering statins can also inhibit your ability to synthesize the vitamin. It is even difficult to utilize and activate vitamin D if you are overweight or diabetic. This is because vitamin D is stored in fat tissue instead of circulating in the blood and because the liver and/or kidneys do not function optimally, which is necessary for the conversion and activation of vitamin D. Finally, lack of magnesium and zinc can impair the body’s ability to utilize vitamin D.
Damas-Fuentes M, et al. 25-hydroxyvitamin D and testosterone levels association through body mass index: A cross-sectional study of young men with obesity. Frontiers in Endocrinology. 2022
Hank Schultz. Study elucidates complex link between vitamin D and testosterone in obese men. NUTRAingredients.com 20-sep-2022
Michael Hull. How can you increase testosterone naturally? Examine.com Oct. 2019
Vakkat Muraleedharan and T. Hugh Jones. Testosterone and the metabolic syndrome. 2010
Vittorio Emanuels Bianchi. The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Testosterone. Journal of the Endocrine Society. 2019
Wehr E et al. Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men. Clinical Endocrinology 2010
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