Vitamin D Deficiency in Men
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble prohormones. It is introduced to your body through a wide variety of food such as fish, eggs, fortified milk and cereals, and cod liver oil. Sunlight is also considered a source, as direct exposure to UV rays for as little as 15 minutes stimulates the skin to produce vitamin D. Direct sun exposure, however, increases one’s risk for melanoma and other skin cancers. Because these cancers are more prevalent in the United States, more people are avoiding direct exposure to the sun, resulting in a widespread epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, which raises the risk of many diseases.
What Is the Role of Vitamin D in the Body?
Vitamin D’s main job is to increase the circulation of calcium into the bloodstream by promoting calcium and phosphate absorption from food in the intestines and the reabsorption of calcium in the kidneys. In this way, bone density and strength are maintained. In men, vitamin D plays a major role in maintaining the normal levels of the “manly” hormone testosterone.
Recent research, however, has implicated vitamin D in a huge range of health conditions. Today, we understand that vitamin D plays a crucial role in disease prevention and overall health.
Diagnosing Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is typically measured by a blood test. There are two types of vitamin D: 25-hydroxy vitamin D, or 25(OH) D, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, or calcitriol. Most blood tests measure the 25(OH) D because 1,25-dihydroxy has a short half-life. Current USDA recommendations are that adult men should have between 20 ng/mL and 50 ng/mL blood levels of 25(OH) D. A deficiency can be diagnosed if blood levels fall below 30 ng/mL.
However, based on the results of hundreds of studies, Genemedics Health Institute recommends maintaining optimal levels between 55 ng/ml to 80 ng/ml. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to:
Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Heart attack/heart disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Pain in muscle and bone
- Prostate cancers
- Type 1 diabetes
Benefits of Vitamin D
Recent research has shown that maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D has a wide array of benefits, including:
- Protection against certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases and other mental illnesses
- Lowering the risk of diabetes
- Lowering blood pressure
- Improving bone health, mood, memory and cognitive function
- Decreasing the risk of falls in elderly, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis
Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin D
Diet alone cannot correct vitamin D deficiency. If you have low blood levels of vitamin D, your physician will likely prescribe low-cost vitamin D supplements. Currently, the USDA recommends the following minimum doses to prevent bone disorders and other diseases related to vitamin D deficiency:
- At least 600 IU of vitamin D daily for adults under 70 years of age
- 800 IU of vitamin D daily for adults over age 70
However, Genemedics Health Institute recommends 5,000-15,000 IU/day of vitamin D for optimal health and wellness. Regular blood testing can ensure you’re maintaining optimal vitamin D levels.
Treating Vitamin D Deficiency
Genemedics Health Institute routinely recommends accurate vitamin D testing and thorough patient assessment as part of its comprehensive wellness and disease prevention blood panel. Before starting the therapy, your Genemedics doctor will assess your vitamin D blood levels and recommend further steps to ensure that you will get adequate vitamin D to obtain its maximum benefits.