Does Vitamin D Increase Testosterone?

There aren’t many vitamins that are as easy to consume as vitamin D—just stand outside! Okay, maybe it isn’t that easy, because vitamin D deficiency can be very common. Particularly among darker skinned men and women who live in cold countries such as Canada, Scandinavia, the northern US states, the UK, and Russia. During the winter months, without adequate nutrition (and possibly supplementation), people can become vitamin D deficient. Many testosterone supplements contain vitamin D as they claim that it boosts testosterone. If this is the case, then boosting your testosterone levels may be a lot easier than previously thought. Does Vitamin D Increase Testosterone? Let’s find out. In this article, we’ll look at:

What Is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin (vitamins that need to be absorbed via fat rather than water), it is a crucial micro-nutrient. Vitamin D-3 can be found in animal fats such as meat, dairy, fish, or eggs, while Vitamin D-2 is found from plant sources. Vitamin D can also be produced in the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight (the body uses cholesterol to create Vitamin D). A common misconception is that the sunlight itself provides Vitamin D, but it just allows the body to produce it. Vitamin D deficiency is pretty rare, but does occur. Having lower than recommended levels of Vitamin D can lead to some unwanted side effects. However, overdosing on Vitamin D is just as likely. This is almost always caused by high doses of Vitamin D supplements rather than dietary—something to bear in mind if you are thinking of supplementing.

Does Vitamin D Increase Testosterone?

Whether Vitamin D supplementation increases testosterone or not depends on your current levels of Vitamin D. There is certainly evidence that Vitamin D supplementation can boost testosterone levels.
  • A study in Clinical Endocrinology (2010) found that men who had higher levels of Vitamin D had significantly higher testosterone levels than men who were deficient [1].
  • A similar study in Clinical Endocrinology (2015) found that there was no increase in testosterone in men with normal levels of testosterone in their blood [2].
  • A 2011 study by Pilz et al found that men taking 3,332 IU of Vitamin D for one year saw a significant increase in free testosterone compared to the placebo group [3].
From reviewing these three studies it is difficult to say for certain whether Vitamin D will increase testosterone. Clearly, it affects men with low levels of Vitamin D more than men who have optimal levels. There is also a chance that it could even help men who had normal levels of Vitamin D. Because while few people are deficient in Vitamin D, even fewer are hitting their optimal amount.

Are There Any Other Benefits To Vitamin D?

There are many benefits associated with optimal Vitamin D intake.
  • A reduced chance of cardiovascular disease, a reduction in colorectal cancer risk, lower blood pressure, and less risk of falling in the elderly [4].
  • Vitamin D supplementation may even reduce the risk of contracting flu [5], something to think about during flu season!
It is probably unnecessary to take a Vitamin D supplement year-round, but during the winter months (particularly if you are darker skinned) a Vitamin D supplement may be a really good idea.

Final Thoughts On Using Vitamin D For Testosterone

Overall, the evidence that Vitamin D has at least some effect on testosterone in certain situations is pretty clear. If you are already getting optimal Vitamin D, then you’re unlikely to see a benefit. Same thing goes if you already have optimal testosterone. However, if you are noticing that the early evenings and dark mornings are affecting your testosterone (mood, cognition, libido are all good examples) then taking a Vitamin D supplement could be a good idea. Even if testosterone is not a concern, there are so many benefits to taking Vitamin D (or increasing it through diet/sunlight exposure) that you would be crazy to ignore it.
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