Think of Vitamin D as the MVP in the health game. Do you know your levels? As it turns out Vitamin D isn’t a vitamin at all. It’s actually a secosteroid hormone packed with a big punch.
Produced when UV rays from the sun strike the skin and trigger its synthesis, it’s been coined ‘the sunshine vitamin”.
Since Vitamin D is critical for Men’s Health and Sexual Wellness, we’ve been closely tracking the status in all of our patients. Unfortunately, about 94% of our male patients are operating their
machinery (aka body) with severely low functional levels (<30ng/ml). That’s greater than the national statistic clocking in at three-quarters of US teens and adults with a vitamin D
deficiency! Our higher number is most likely due to the nature of our male-centered practice.
Statistically, men seek medical attention far less often than women, making it easy for important things to fly under the radar. We’re aiming to change the men’s health landscape by encouraging men to see their specialist doctor for body maintenance as they would their barber for a grooming or their mechanic for an oil change. Our bodies need tune-ups too!
5 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT VITAMIN D
1. Vitamin D3 Prevents and Fights ALL Cancers. Vitamin D controls more than 200 genes, including genes responsible for inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells (aka it puts the brakes on cancer growth and progression). Prostate, breast, colon, and pancreatic cancers are particularly regarded as Vitamin D deficient diseases. Studies have found that men with prostate cancer have lower levels of Vitamin D, and men with healthier levels tend to have lower rates of prostate cancer and less aggressive cancers. Stay tuned for a blog on the latest research on Vitamin D and prostate protection and cancer prevention.
2. Vitamin D3 Prevents and Fights Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). CVD remains the leading killer of men (and women) in the US. Because CVD is a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels, it is also largely responsible for erectile dysfunction and decreased sexual performance. Although there are multiple factors in play with these illnesses, studies have demonstrated a strong association between Vitamin D insufficiency and risk of CVD, hypertension, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
3. Vitamin D3 Prevents decline of Testosterone Hormone. Testosterone is an anabolic hormone with positive effects on many aspects of health. Many studies show an increased risk of hypogonadism (low testosterone) and poor sperm quality in men with low Vitamin D levels.
4. Vitamin D3 Prevents Bone Loss and Osteoporosis. By promoting calcium absorption and maintenance, Vitamin D enables bone mineralization, growth, and remodeling by keeping calcium in the bones and out of your blood vessels where they cause damage. Without sufficient D, bones can become thin and brittle.
5. Vitamin D3 Prevents Autoimmune Conditions. Vitamin D keeps us strong and healthy by controlling the innate immune system, specifically the activation of macrophages and monocytes.
This is the internal defensive team that helps us fight off invaders like colds, infections, and autoimmune diseases.
BACKED EXTENSIVELY BY SCIENCE
The GrassrootsHealth Scientists Panel of 41 expert vitamin D researchers and medical practitioners suggest maintaining 25(OH)D serum levels between 40-60ng/ml for total body function based on the scientific evidence available.
Disease Incidence Prevention by Serum 25(OH)D Level. Copyright GrassrootsHealth, 6/1/12
Disease Incidence Prevention by Serum 25(OH)D Level. Copyright GrassrootsHealth, 6/1/12 www.grassrootshealth.net
According to the data depicted in the chart above, Vitamin D levels between 40-60 ng/ml are needed to prevent a majority of diseases. For example, breast cancer incidence is reduced by 30% when the serum level is 34 ng/ml vs the baseline of 25 ng/ml. And there is a startling 83% reduction in incidence when the serum level is 50 ng/ml vs the baseline.
VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTATION
Unless your schedule permits daily beach volleyball rendezvous in your bathing suit attire, chances are you are low in this mighty hormone. Besides having little contact with sunlight, darker skin tones and higher geographical latitudes also predispose you to low levels. The best way to know how much Vitamin D to supplement with is by getting your serum 25(OH)D3 levels checked. Also, to ensure proper and safe use of supplementation, it’s important your doctor evaluate your calcium levels, parathyroid, and kidney function. At our clinic, we also like to check for individual genetic variants that affect vitamin D’s performance in the body and dosing requirements.
Many multivitamins on the market have around 200-400 IUs of Vitamin D- a safe dose for all but not enough to receive the benefits mentioned above for most people. If you are certain you have healthy calcium levels, parathyroid hormone, and renal function, consider starting at 1000-2000 IUs daily. Then have levels checked at 3 months to see where you’re at.
Lastly, you want to make sure the form you take is Vitamin D3, not D2. D3 is the naturally occurring form in humans and has better pharmacological performance in the body. The only prescription form available on the market is D2. Look out for our online store coming soon to order quality supplementation.
I hope you enjoyed this article and are ready to D UP! Questions and comments are welcomed.
1 Adit A. Ginde, MD, MPH; Mark C. Liu, MD; Carlos A. Camargo Jr, MD, DrPH. Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency in the US Population, 1988-2004. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(6):626-632. doi:10.1001/archinternmed .2008.604
2 National Institute of Health(NIH); Office of Dietary Supplements.
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12 Zugel. et. al Immunomoreglation through 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and its analogs. Curr Drug Targets Inflammation and Allergy. Vol. 3, Number 4. 2004.
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