I’m writing to you all now as a largely aging demographic but who—like me—wants to stay young forever. I have a lovely wife and we have wonderful, fulfilling sex. I’ll know I’m “growing old” when that stops (by the way, it’s not “OK but not as good as it once was…”; some of the best-ever lovemaking has been this year).
I’m not saying this to boast in any sense, just to tell you it’s all there for you. All you have to do is decide to party… and you can start partying, at ANY age.
Nevertheless, there is science to guide us and I love that fact that, almost every day, I get a surprise by new discoveries. Take the one that triggered this topic: it’s been found that low levels of vitamin D are significantly and independently associated with low levels of testosterone in otherwise healthy middle-aged men.
That’s a shock. Now remember that correlation does not equal causation. But in this case there is very good evidence to believe that one DOES cause the other. Let me share what’s known with you…
The starting place is a new study presented at the American Urological Association 2015 Annual Meeting in New Orleans.1 Researchers analyzed blood samples from 824 men to check, among other things, 25-hydroxy-vitamin D and total testosterone. The 24-hydroxy form is just the way we test vitamin D levels (best).
Level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were insufficient in 68% of the samples. Low vitamin D was defined as below 30.0 ng/L.
Of those 68%, only about 11% of participants with insufficient levels took vitamin D supplements.
It was found that the low vitamin D cases had significantly lower total testosterone than those with normal total testosterone. But that’s not all…
When levels of vitamin D were low, body mass index was higher, waist circumference was 2 inches greater on average and lipid profiles (blood fats) were less favorable.
In previous studies, testosterone levels were shown to be lower in mice who had the vitamin D receptor genetically deleted. This suggests that there is something about testosterone synthesis that needs vitamin D.
I can also tell you, from my work in genomic testing, that there is a surprise connection between the vitamin D receptor function and obesity. If the vitamin D receptor gene is ”off” or poorly functioning, obesity is hard to fight. You will gain weight (unless you follow my advice on how to turn “on” the receptor gene… You can start reversing the expression of known and as yet unknown age-related genes right away in my book Diet Wise).
We know that being overweight and obesity definitely reduces testosterone levels, so it’s beginning to look like a story; that the one truly causes the other.
Vitamin D Supplementation
In a small German study of healthy overweight men with low baseline levels of vitamin D and testosterone levels at the lower end of the reference range, there was a significant increase in total testosterone levels after 12 months of supplementing vitamin D at 3000 IU daily.2
So should you use vitamin D supplementation, just for libido? Absolutely.
We know already that vitamin D protects against cancer, infections, bone porosity and deformities.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated (causally) with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, peripheral vascular disease, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke.3
Vitamin D protects and enhances immune function and blocks inflammation.
But to take vitamin D and get all that, PLUS some weight loss and enhanced sexuality is a good thing! Don’t forget that women need a bit of testosterone too; the gals experience enhanced libido from small traces of testosterone already present in their bodies. In fact, it probably does more good for their zing than it does the guys!
Some researchers have suggested that low vitamin D simply is a reflection of the aging process. It’s part of the general antiquated medicine that says you can’t fix things; you are gonna age and you are gonna die.
Also I must also warn you against the pig-ignorant doctor (the typical one) who is 40 years behind the times and still recommending calcium supplementation “to protect your bones”. Calcium will kill you. It’s the mineral of aging: calcium in the coronary arteries is a number #1 marker for death by heart disease, calcium in the brain equals senility and calcium in the joints we call arthritis!
Read Thomas Levy’s book “Death by Calcium,” and stay away from calcium! If you feel you must take it, include also magnesium (300 mg.), boron (5mg) and vitamin D (3,000 – 4,000 IU), never on its own. There has been an association between calcium supplementation alone and increased risk for cardiovascular events in men.
The Link Is Real but the Pathway Is Unclear
The association between low vitamin D and low testosterone levels is real, but the pathway by which supplementation might improve androgen function and increase the biosynthesis of testosterone is simply not clear, said Abdulmaged Traish, PhD, from the Boston University School of Medicine.
Dr. Traish pointed out that the German study I just referred to was primarily a weight-loss study, and weight loss in and of itself causes increases in testosterone.
It’s remarkable but even if you remove fat artificially, as in lipo, or bariatric surgery, the benefits still manifest. Once the weight loss has taken place, however it is done, the patient’s testosterone levels normalize independent of anything else.
Dr. Traish said he has discussed the potential pathway by which the restoration of vitamin D could restore normal testosterone physiology with Michael Holick, MD, also from the Boston University School of Medicine, and the author of The Vitamin D Solution.
“When we talk about this potential association, we still can’t understand how vitamin D restoration might affect testosterone,” he told Medscape Medical News.4
“While I’m sure there are consequences of being vitamin D deficient, we can’t quite specify what adverse effects vitamin D deficiency might bring,” he said.
So which would you rather: take the famous blue pill for fun, or have all those wonderful health benefits from taking vitamin D, including more fun, and more sex drive?
I made my choice…
That’s me pretending to pole dance at a Las Vegas club! (Who is that guy checking me out?)
For more information on testing your genes, including the 2 main vitamin D receptors, go here.
1. American Urological Association (AUA) 2015 Annual Meeting: Abstract MP51-04. Presented May 17, 2015. This study was funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr McLaughlin and Dr Traish have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
2. Horm Metab Res. 2011;43:223-225
3. Harrison, P. (May 2015). Low Vitamin D Tied to Testosterone Dip in Healthy Men. Medscape Medical News. American Urological Association (AUA) 2015 Annual Meeting: Abstract MP51-04. Presented May 17, 2015.
4. Kovacs, B., Stöppler, M. (2015) Vitamin D Deficiency. MedicineNet, Inc.