By Poliquin™ Editorial Staff
Take vitamin D to lose fat and boost hormone levels that regulate metabolism. Getting enough vitamin D is necessary for both men and women, but for slightly different reasons.
For men, vitamin D enables optimal testosterone levels for health and optimal leanness. For example, a new study that tracked 2,069 older men over three years found that men with a higher vitamin D status had higher free testosterone. Men who were deficient in vitamin D and testosterone had a 111 percent increase in all-cause mortality over the course of the study.
Scientists think there are at least two reason for vitamin Ds role in regulating testosterone. First, vitamin D inhibits the process of aromatization in which testosterone is changed into estrogen. Second, vitamin D enhances the sensitivity of receptors on the cells in the androgen glands that release testosterone.
Supplementing with vitamin D works for men who need to raise testosterone: A groundbreaking study showed that giving men with low testosterone a supplement of 3,332 IUs of vitamin D for a year resulted in an impressive 20 increase in free testosterone.
This study didn’t measure body composition, however, a number of association studies show that men with adequate vitamin D above 30 ng/ml have higher testosterone, less body fat, and greater lean muscle mass.
For women, getting enough vitamin D ensures optimal hormone levels for body composition as well. Vitamin D plays an anti-inflammatory role, supports thyroid function, and muscular and bone health in women, all of which influence leanness.
Women with higher blood levels of vitamin D have less body fat, and mothers with adequate vitamin D have leaner offspring because vitamin D affects genetic signaling pathways linked to metabolism in the developing fetus.
As you probably know, the body makes vitamin D in response to sunlight. What most people don’t know is that the month of May is when people tend to experience their lowest vitamin D levels all year if they do not supplement. A daily dose of 4,000 to 5,000 IUs, or a single weekly large dose of 35,000 IUs, is effective to raise vitamin D to optimal levels.