Reducing Inflammation: Why Vitamin D Is Important For Men's Health

Michelle Hopkins

After surgery, your orthopedic surgeon might ask you to get more vitamin D. Vitamin D's job is to help bones pull in more calcium, which can help with healing and overall bone structure after orthopedic procedures through a clinic like Surgery Center of Kenai. But vitamin D goes a step further and also helps improve inflammation in your body, which is important for recovery and overall health. You can certainly take a vitamin D supplement, although if you consume lots of vitamin D-rich foods, you might not have to.

Vitamin D and Testosterone

Research published in the 2011 edition of "Hormone and Metabolic Research" explored the relationship between vitamin D and men's testosterone levels. Research participants were healthy and nondiabetic, yet overweight. At the beginning of the study, participants had vitamin D levels that were, on average, less than 50 nanomoles per liter, a deficient range. Testosterone levels averaged on the lower end of the healthy range, too -- 9 nanomoles per liter.

During the study, one group of participants were given 83 micrograms of vitamin D daily for a year -- this is over five times the general recommendation of 15 micrograms or 600 international units a day. At the end of the study, the vitamin D levels in these participants more than doubled. Their overall testosterone levels also went up by an average of 3 points.

What This Means for Inflammation

The same year, researchers at Jena University in Germany found a link between testosterone levels and inflammation. Because men naturally have more testosterone than women, researchers found that men have much fewer pro-inflammatory markers in their systems. Women were shown to have up to double the amount of these markers.

They found that these pro-inflammatory markers went down when levels of testosterone went up -- in this study they treated participants with testosterone injections. This is why it's so important to ensure you have enough vitamin D in your system: You want to make sure your testosterone levels stay up in normal ranges.

Recommendations and Sources

Up through age 70, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends that men get 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D every day. This amount goes up to 800 IUs after age 70.

You can take a multivitamin or vitamin D supplement to get what you need, under the supervision of your orthopedic surgeon. However, you can also eat more vitamin D-rich foods to up your intake. This list is just a few selected foods and their approximate vitamin D contents.

  • Swordfish, cooked: over 565 IUs per 3 ounces
  • Sockeye salmon, cooked: nearly 450 IUs per 3 ounces
  • Canned tuna, in water: about 155 IUs per 3 ounces
  • Orange juice, vitamin D fortified: approximately 140 IUs per 8 ounces
  • Milk, skim, 2 percent or whole, vitamin D fortified: 115 to 125 IUs per 8 ounces
  • Yogurt, vitamin D fortified: 80 IUs per 6 ounces
  • Egg, whole: over 40 IUs each
  • Breakfast cereal, vitamin D fortified: around 40 IUs per serving