Sunbathing and Vitamin D
Increase Men's Testosterone
A spot of sunbathing may be just the thing to lift a man's libido,
say experts after an Austrian study finds testosterone is boosted
by vitamin D.
The bulk of this essential nutrient is made by the skin on exposure
to sunlight. The rest comes from the diet.
A study in Clinical Endocrinology journal of 2,299 men found
those with enough of the vitamin had more of the male sex hormone
than those with less.
Blood levels of both dipped in the winter and peaked in the summer.
Low testosterone levels can impact on a man's libido as well
as zap energy levels.
It also performs essential functions in both men and women such
as maintaining muscle strength and bone density.
The researchers from the Medical University of Graz, Austria,
found men with at least 30 nanograms of vitamin D per millilitre
of blood had much more testosterone circulating than those lacking
in vitamin D.
Across the 2,299 men studied, testosterone and vitamin D levels
appeared to peak in the month of August, and drop off in the winter,
hitting their lowest levels in March.
Professor Winfried Marz and colleagues, who ran the study, said
scientists should now look at whether vitamin D supplements would
have the same effect on testosterone.
Ad Brand of the Sunlight Research Forum in The Netherlands, a
non-profit organisation set up to inform the general public on
latest medical research on sun and health, said: "Men who
ensure that their body is at least sufficiently supplied with
vitamin D are doing good for their testosterone levels and their
libido among other things."
Cancer experts warn that too much sun exposure is damaging for
Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in Andrology at the University of
Sheffield, said: "We know that medically we can increase
the libido and general well-being of men who have low levels of
testosterone by giving them testosterone replacement therapy.
"However, this is for a defined set of medical circumstances
where testosterone production is low.
"Whether healthy men notice a significant changes throughout
the year is less clear and I would urge men to be sensible about
using sunbeds in the winter months given the known risks of using
Jessica Harris of Cancer Research UK said: "Enjoying the
sun safely while taking care not to burn should help people strike
a balance between making enough vitamin D and avoiding a higher
risk of skin cancer.
"People can also top up their levels of vitamin D by eating
more foods like oily fish such as salmon, trout or mackerel."
February 5, 2010