Vitamin D deficiency and low testosterone levels in men can lead to loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis (weak bones) and significantly affect sexual health. Since vitamin D deficiency reduces testosterone production, the two are more closely related than previously thought.
But exactly what does this have to do with testosterone?
Low testosterone symptoms can be very similar to a vitamin D deficiency: for example, erectile dysfunction and decreased sex drive seen in men with testosterone deficiency can also be a result of depression caused by low vitamin D.1
Low T and Vitamin D Deficiency are linked
Common symptoms of a lack of vitamin D and low testosterone include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low libido
- muscle weakness
Vitamin D is now more prevalent than ever, and everybody over 40 or with symptoms should get their levels checked. Some studies now suggest an association between in sufficient vitamin D levels and cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and depression. .
Low vitamin D levels can negatively affect sexual health 3. Vitamin D and TRT administration are shown to improve erectile dysfunction in men.
What Does Vitamin D Do?
Vitamin D is usually associated with healthy bones, but it also you regulates the amount of calcium, magnesium, and phosphates that absorb into your body.
These nutrients help you build bone, increase bone strength, grow teeth, and build muscle. If you are deficient in vitamin D, you are at risk of developing deformities such as rickets 4 and a softening of the bones called osteomalacia.
Vitamin D regulates many cellular functions in your body, having many benefits, such as:
- Has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties
- Supports immunity
- Helps muscle function and growth
- Supports Brain cell activity
- Maintains sexual health
- Increases insulin sensitivity
At optimum levels, vitamin D is crucial because it stimulates muscle growth, increases strength, and helps burn fat.
Vitamin D Supplementation Increases Insulin Sensitivity
Type 2 diabetes is a worldwide epidemic. Due to poor diet, too much sugar and a lack of activity more and more people are becoming pre-diabetic and then move on to developing Type 2 diabetes.Type 2 diabetes develops because your body becomes insulin resistant and too much sugar is in the blood. Over 95% of people with diabetes have type 2.
The main cause of this type of diabetes is excess body weight and physical inactivity. Insulin is a hormone that controls how much glucose in your blood. When you become insulin resistance, the body's cells stop responding normally to insulin. Glucose can't enter the cells, so it builds up in the blood. After time this can lead to type 2 diabetes.
There are many simple lifestyle measures you can take to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
- Keep to a healthy weight
- Keep physically active – Have 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days.
- Eat a clean healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats.
- Don’t smoke – smoking drastically increases the risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
As men age, testosterone levels gradually tumble, which makes it harder to burn fat and maintain lean muscle, commonly men with low T are overweight and have or are developing type 2 diabetes. Through lifestyle changes, taking D supplements, eating healthy, exercise, and replacing hormones like testosterone you can increase insulin sensitivity and even stop type 2 diabetes in its tracks. One study on 5,677 people with insulin resistance showed that taking vitamin D increased insulin sensitivity by an amazing 54%.
How Does Vitamin D Deficiency Affect The Body?
Vitamin D deficiency was common in the 19th century. In the 20th century, it became less common in the western world due to fortified cereals, supplements, and dairy products. Low vitamin D levels, particularly in children, cause rickets, slow growth, soft, weak bones, and even bone deformities.
Vitamin D Deficiency can play a role in the following conditions:
- Heart disease and high blood pressure.
- Diabetes and insulin sensitivity
- Infections and immune system disorders.
- Falls and broken bones in older people.
- Some types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and breast cancers.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Covid-19 (prevention of severe disease).
Vitamin D2 and D3: What's the Difference?
There are two main forms of vitamin D readily available: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), it is important to understand their differences when choosing.
Vitamin D (D2) usually comes from plant sources, such as wild mushrooms, and is often added to fortified foods, such as milk or cereal products. D3 usually comes from animal sources such as fish oil, fatty fish, liver, and egg yolks. Vegetarian versions are now available and produced from lichen. D3 is also what your body produces with sunlight exposure.
Vitamin D supplement potency is measured in international units, abbreviated as "IU" on labeling. 50,000 IU capsules are prescription only, while lower strengths are available over the counter. Usually, if you are clinically deficient in vitamin D, it is best to take D3 once or twice a week at a potency of 20,00IU.
Vitamin D3 is More Beneficial Than D2
Vitamin D3 is produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight and is instantly available for the body to use. Whereas, D2 must go through complex processes within the body before you can use it. For this reason, many doctors agree that D3 is more effective than D2.
In short, Vitamin D3 offers the most benefits.
Vitamin D and Sunlight
Your skin is responsible for producing vitamin D. When exposed to direct sunlight ultraviolet radiation penetrates the epidermis and converts chemicals in your skin into vitamin D3. This is then carried to your liver and then your kidneys to transform it into an active form of vitamin D3. If you live in a country with little sunshine or are not exposed to the sun you will need to get your vitamin D in supplement form.
Interestingly, vitamin D deficiency, rickets, and osteomalacia are more common in dark-skinned and migrant populations. These conditions weaken the bones and they become soft and often deformed. In countries such as India and the Middle East, many people cover their bodies from head to toe due to religious beliefs and vitamin D deficiency is common. A study of 316 young adults aged 30-50 years from the Middle East showed that 72.8% had vitamin D values of less than 15 ng/dL (severely deficient). Vitamin deficiency was significantly more common in women than men (83.9% vs. 48.5%, respectively). This highlights how limited skin exposure to sunlight affects vitamin D levels, particularly in women.
Where you live and the time of year also affects your exposure to sunlight. People living in the USA above 37 degrees north or 37 degrees south will make little if any vitamin D from the sun especially during winter. People living in these areas are at greater risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency and should put an importance on vitamin D supplements.
How Can I Get More Vitamin D?
- Exposure to sunlight
- Through what you eat either from food or supplements.
Diet and Vitamin D
When it comes to vitamin D from food, there are few options. You will find it near impossible to fulfil your requirements solely from what you eat and drink. Some good sources include:
- Oily fish such as mackerel, tuna, and salmon (avoid farmed)
- Foods fortified with vitamin D, such as some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
- Wild Mushrooms
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
Exercise and Vitamin D
Exercising does not increase vitamin D, but studies suggest7 it does support them. Vitamin D influences energy levels, muscles, and bone strength, benefiting your physical performance. Exercise strengthens bones, builds muscle, and reduces the likelihood of falls and fractures, even for those with osteoporosis. Avoid high-impact training and opt for lighter options like walking or swimming if you’re at risk.
Vitamin D and Testosterone
Disclaimer: Information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please feel free to contact us or consult your doctor.