7 Benefits of Vitamin D for Men By Kim Sjoblad #WellbeingWednesday
Vitamin D is one of the most common deficiencies in developed nations, yet it plays a big role in regulating many important functions – from blood pressure to your mood. “Winter blues” are turning out to be more than just a saying, with studies showing that Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin”, is lacking in the average person’s diet and lifestyle.
Vitamin D enters the body in 2 ways, one is through the skin when it comes into contact with the sun and other way we acquire Vitamin D is through the foods we eat. Since Vitamin D plays an active role in reducing inflammation in the body, low levels are associated with a range of diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and more.
A Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many chronic health conditions, including:
- Low energy/chronic fatigue, mood swings, depression and anxiety, and even heart disease and diabetes.
- Recently, studies have shown that deficiency in Vitamin D increases feelings of fatigue and sometimes sadness, especially during dark winter months when we get even less sunshine and light
- And other research lately puts a spotlight on Vitamin D deficiency contributing to hypertension, the hardening of important arties hat carry blood flow to and from your heart. “Primary hypertension” is diagnosed when doctors are unable to determine a specific medical condition that could be to blame for someone’s high blood pressure. This is the case in almost 90-95% of the people diagnosed with high blood pressure, and it’s now believed that low Vitamin D levels are one of the key deficiencies that may be to blame.
- A lack of vitamin D might also lead to hormonal problems and low libido. Research shows that men who expose their chest or backs (or even genitals) to direct sunlight obtain 120-200% higher levels of testosterone than covered up men! There’s other evidence that the majority of infertile men are deficient and this might also be contributing to low sex drive, depression and trouble sleeping.
Vitamin D provides the body with at least 7 of the following benefits:
- Maintaining a healthy metabolism
- Balancing calcium stores in the body
- Promoting healthy bones
- Helping to prevent diabetes
- Helping with mood and hormone regulation
- Aiding in healthy blood pressure
- Possibly helping to prevent various forms of cancer (breast, colon, prostate, ovary for example)
Despite the many important purposes of Vitamin D in the body, many studies show that it is hard for most adults to get enough of the crucial Vitamin from the sun and their diet alone, which is why according to Scientific America, 75% of teens and adults are deficient.
Even when someone eats a fairly healthy diet overall- with foods including fish, eggs, and mushrooms which are all good sources of absorbable Vitamin D- our “indoor” lifestyle and protected environment often makes it hard to acquire enough Vitamin D from the outdoors. Because so many of us spend a lot of time working inside, or we are careful to wear sunscreen when outside and exposed to the sun, most adults and children too in developed nations are at risk due to their lack of sun exposure.
Even though we’ve all been warned about the effects of too much sunlight exposure, we now know that low vitamin D levels are just as much a threat. How do we find a happy medium to protecting our skin but obtaining enough vitamin D naturally from spending time outdoors?
Most physicians recommend taking a good-quality supplement to cover your bases; according to Harvard Public Health, at least 600 IU daily (and up to 4,000 IU for some people more in need) is the recommended amount, along with eating plenty of Vitamin D-rich foods.
Another great way to obtain vitamins D while also getting other benefits? Exercising outside! If you live in an area where it’s relatively sunny most of the time, take your workout outdoors for the added benefit of some sunshine. Exercise, similarly to Vitamin D, improves our mood due to its effect on our “feel good hormones”, making us feel more optimistic, more confident, and livelier after a good outdoor workout.
If you’re wondering what’s the best time to get sun, Dr. Andrew Weil suggests the best time of day is noon!
Kim Sjoblad, a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Holistic Fertility Expert, is the creator of The Fertility Glow Program. Sjoblad created this innovative program from her passion for educating and coaching women on the many holistic ways to improve overall health and provide options for preconception. Specializing in fertility and women’s hormone conditions, Sjoblad works with couples who are undergoing IVF procedures and those wishing to use natural fertility methods.
Sjoblad graduated with first-class honors from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition—Canada’s most recognized institution for having the best comprehensive nutrition curriculum in the country.
Visit Kim Online: kimsjoblad.com