Vitamin D3 Benefits For Men – Men’s Health

Vitamin D3 Benefits For Men – Men’s Health

Did your recent blood test reveal that you have low vitamin D3 levels? Over 50% of the world's population is affected by vitamin D deficiency. This article isn't just a tale of vitamin D3; it's a journey into the essence of vitality and well-being. In a world where health often takes a backseat, we spotlight Vitamin D3 with a focus on male health. From sculpting stronger bones to sharpening mental acuity, discover how this sunshine-infused vitamin and hormone can revolutionize your wellness. CARE welcomes you to a brighter, healthier you!

Blog Author Elena Health Coach at CARE
Elena Iagovitina

Health Coach

Published in General Health
9 min read · Mar 22, 2024

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What is Vitamin D3? — More Than Just the Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is one of the five forms of vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in maintaining your health and well-being. Interestingly, vitamin D is both a nutrient we can eat and a hormone our bodies produce. Should it not be called “hormone D,” one might ask? Well, since we cannot live without vitamin D, it is called a vitamin. Vita is Latin and means life – hence, vitamin D. [1]

Oftentimes, when people speak about vitamin D3, they, in fact, refer to different forms of vitamin D. Let's take a brief look at this.

The Different Forms of Vitamin D – The Five Forms

There are five main forms of vitamin D, known as D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is naturally synthesized in the human body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. When your skin comes in contact with UVB rays, a form of cholesterol in the skin (7-dehydrocholesterol) converts into Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). This synthesis pathway highlights the essential role of cholesterol as a precursor in the natural production of Vitamin D3. [1]

Vitamin D3 can also be obtained through a few dietary sources and supplements, even though sunlight remains our primary source of vitamin D3. D3 is generally considered more effective in maintaining higher and more stable vitamin D levels than vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is commonly referred to as “the sunshine vitamin.” [1]

On the other hand, vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is primarily obtained from plant sources like fungi and fortified foods. It is also effective in raising and maintaining vitamin D levels in your blood, yet slightly less active and effective than vitamin D3. [1]

Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D functions like a hormone, and every cell in the body has a receptor for it. Chemically, Vitamin D3 is a secosteroid, which means it is a steroid molecule with a broken ring. This unique structure allows it to carry out its primary function — the regulation of calcium and phosphate metabolism in your body. This regulation is vital for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. [1]

Additionally, vitamin D3 influences various other physiological processes, including your immune function, your mood regulation, and your muscle strength. [1]

What Are the Benefits of Vitamin D3 For Men?

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The role of vitamin D is especially important for men in supporting their muscle growth and development, bone growth, mood, and fertility. Studies even show that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth. [2]

Therefore, exposing yourself to sunlight and providing your body with a diet that offers a sufficient vitamin D intake is essential to staying active, strong, and happy.

Evidently, the benefits of vitamin D for men are substantial. CARE has summarized some key benefits of Vitamin D3 for you:

Optimizing Bone Health & Growth

Vitamin D3 is essential for calcium absorption in the gut, which is critical for maintaining bone health and preventing osteoporosis. [1]

Maintaining Muscle Strength and Physical Performance

Adequate levels of Vitamin D3 are associated with increased muscle strength, which is particularly indispensable for aging men. Some studies even indicate that healthy levels of vitamin D can prevent falls due to their association with muscle strength. [1] [3]

Stable Testosterone Levels and Increased Fertility

Some studies suggest that Vitamin D3 supplementation can influence testosterone levels and, consequently, male fertility. [4]

Mental Health and Mood Regulation

Vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of mood disorders, such as depression, due to the basis of the homeostatic, immunomodulatory, and neuroprotective roles of vitamin D. [5]

Better Cardiovascular Health

Vitamin D3 plays a role in your heart health, and deficiencies are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. [1]

Enhanced Immune Function

Vitamin D3 enhances the pathogen-fighting effects of monocytes and macrophages — white blood cells that are important parts of your immune defense. It has also been shown to decrease inflammation. [6]

It is obvious that the d3 benefits for males are plenty and worth pursuing, so how can you approach this best?

How Can You Get More Vitamin D?

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There are three primary sources of vitamin D and ways to increase your vitamin D3 levels: sunlight exposure, diet, and supplementation.

  1. Sunlight Exposure

    Sunlight is the most natural way to get Vitamin D3 and also our primary source of vitamin D3. Exposing your skin to sunlight for 10–30 minutes several times a week can help maintain adequate levels. However, factors like skin pigmentation, geographical location, and sunscreen use can affect your UV ray absorption. [1]

  2. Dietary Sources

    Few food sources naturally contain Vitamin D3, but some fortified options can help. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, and cod liver oil are among the best sources. Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide smaller amounts. Additionally, foods such as milk, orange juice, and cereals can contribute to your daily intake of vitamin D if they have been fortified with vitamin D3. [7]

  3. Vitamin D3 Supplements

    For those who cannot get enough vitamin D through natural sunlight exposure or their diet, supplements are a practicable and sensible option. They are available in two forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol), with D3 being a little more effective in raising blood levels of vitamin D. [1] [2]

What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency in Men?

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You might not be aware that those are symptoms of insufficient vitamin D levels, but many people experience symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, like fatigue, muscle weakness, and mood changes on a regular basis. [1]

Especially if you live in the Northern Hemisphere (Northern Europe, Canada, and Northern parts of the US), you might suffer from vitamin D deficiency and its symptoms. In these regions, the angle of the sun during winter months leads to diminished UVB radiation.

Vitamin D deficiency can be subtle or even asymptomatic, but some symptoms and signs are more common and evident:

Bone Pain and Muscle Weakness

These are classic signs of severe vitamin D deficiency because vitamin D is crucial for the absorption of calcium and phosphate, minerals that are vital for maintaining healthy bones and muscles. When your vitamin D3 levels are low, your body can't effectively absorb these minerals, leading to weakened bones and muscles, manifesting as bone pain and muscle weakness. [1] [8]

Fatigue and General Weakness

A lack of vitamin D can lead to a sense of unexplainable tiredness since vitamin D plays a significant role in your energy production and muscle function. When Vitamin D3 levels are low, it can disrupt these processes, leading to a decrease in energy levels and an overall feeling of weakness and tiredness. [1]

Mood Changes

Mood changes, such as depression and irritability, are associated symptoms of Vitamin D3 deficiency because this vitamin is involved in the regulation of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which influence mood. Low levels of Vitamin D3 can lead to an imbalance in these neurotransmitters, potentially resulting in mood disturbances and depressive symptoms. [5]

Impaired Wound Healing

Slow healing of wounds post-injury may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Impaired wound healing associated with vitamin D3 deficiency is due to the vitamin's critical function in regulating inflammation and promoting the regeneration of skin cells. When Vitamin D3 levels are inadequate, these essential healing processes are hindered, resulting in slower and less efficient recovery of wounds. [9]

Hair Loss

In some cases, severe vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hair loss. Hair loss can occur as a symptom of vitamin D3 deficiency because this vitamin is essential for the proliferation and health of hair follicles. Inadequate levels of Vitamin D3 can impair follicle regeneration, leading to weakened hair strands and increased hair shedding. [10]

Increased Susceptibility to Infections

Vitamin D3 is instrumental in bolstering your immune system by activating key defense cells like T cells and macrophages, which are vital for combating infections. When your vitamin D3 levels are low, this immune enhancement is compromised, leading to a heightened vulnerability to infections, particularly in the respiratory system. [6]

Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements?

The decision whether you want or need to take vitamin D supplements should be made based on your individual health goals, lifestyle factors, and after consulting a healthcare provider. Because an excess of Vitamin D can also have negative effects on your health. With a comprehensive blood analysis at CARE you can learn more about your Vitamin D levels.

CARE has curated some groups of men who may benefit from vitamin D3 supplementation:

Those with Limited Sun Exposure

People with limited sun exposure, especially those living in higher latitudes (like Northern Europe, Canada, and parts of the northern United States) where sunlight intensity is lower, especially in winter months, will struggle to produce enough Vitamin D3 naturally through sunlight exposure. Supplementing with Vitamin D3 is essential if you live in one of these regions to maintain optimal vitamin D levels, as it compensates for the reduced opportunity for skin synthesis of vitamin D due to limited UVB rays. [1]

Older Adults

Older men often have a reduced capacity to synthesize Vitamin D3 naturally from sunlight due to aging skin, and they may have limited outdoor exposure. Therefore, taking Vitamin D3 supplements makes sense to ensure adequate levels, which are crucial for maintaining bone health, immune function, and overall well-being in this age group. [1]

People with Darker Skin

Are you graced with a tan or dark skin by Mother Nature? People with darker skin possess more melanin, a pigment that diminishes the skin's efficiency in synthesizing Vitamin D3 from sunlight exposure. This reduced natural production of Vitamin D3 makes supplementation a practical approach for people with darker skin tones to ensure they maintain adequate vitamin levels for optimal health. [11]

Individuals with Certain Medical Conditions

People who have celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or other conditions affecting the gut, such as ulcerative colitis, often experience impaired absorption of nutrients, including fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D3. Therefore, taking vitamin D3 supplements is crucial for these people, as it helps to bypass the compromised gut absorption and ensures they receive an adequate amount of this essential nutrient for their overall health. [1]

Overweight or Obese People

Vitamin D is fat-soluble, and a higher body fat percentage can impact its release into the blood. In overweight or people with obesity, excess body fat can absorb and store vitamin D3, hindering its circulation and utilization in the body. Therefore, supplementing with Vitamin D3 is a beneficial strategy for these individuals to overcome this distribution issue and maintain sufficient vitamin levels for their health. [1]

CARE Gives You Insight Into Your Vitamin D Levels

As your preventive healthcare specialist, CARE enables you to get a comprehensive overview of your health through your regular health check-ups and your in-depth blood analysis.

Several biomarkers in your blood can give you crucial information about your current health status and potential disruptions in your future health.

Take your health into your own hands and find out about your vitamin D levels and other health indicators to make sure that you stay as healthy as you are or even optimize your wellness and fitness further.

List of References

Blog Author Elena Health Coach at CARE

Elena Iagovitina

Health Coach at CARE Zurich

About the author

Elena is an enthusiastic Health Coach and blog writer at CARE, with a passion for holistic medicine and health. Previously, Elena worked for almost five years as a coach leading retreats, workshops, and seminars. These included mind-body therapy: breath work, meditation, and massage; as well as energy force therapy: reiki, and qi gong; and third expressive therapy: movement, writing and support groups. Elena shares exciting articles on the blog, on the topic of where the alternative and traditional medicine intersect with Western Medicine. Elena is also the driving force behind the CARE community. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, traveling to remote locations and dancing. You might also see her on the lake of Zurich as a coast guard. Join her on her journey to learn more about health and discover the world of preventive medicine! Visit all articles written by Elena!