Vitamin D is a special vitamin. Fundamentally, it is a hormone as it is mostly formed through the skin. The amount of vitamin D found in food is negligible and insufficient. To produce vitamin D in the skin, all that is required is sunlight / UV light. However, the reality is: the traditional office worker hardly gets any exposure to the sun. The result: more than 80% of the population in central Europe and more than 60% of the people living in southern Europe evidence a deficiency in vitamin D.
The most common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are: weak immune system, mood fluctuations, limited performance capability, and a low calcium level (eventually resulting in osteoporosis). The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V. – DGE – (German Nutrition Society) therefore recommends supplementation of 10 µg Vitamin D3 daily for young children and 20 µg for adults 60 and up.
In men, low vitamin D levels also have a negative effect on sperm development and the production of the male hormone, testosterone.2
Vitamin D Deficiency and Male Infertility
The concentration, progressive motility, morphology (apparent health), and overall motility of sperm are closely related to the blood concentrations of vitamin D. An American study showed that white males with low levels of vitamin D (less than 20 ng / ml) evidenced a significantly lower number, concentration, and motility of sperm than their counterparts with normal levels of vitamin D. 3
A larger study conducted in China confirmed the relationship between vitamin D deficiency, low testosterone levels, and limited fertility in 2012.4
However, overdosing with vitamin D with more than 20 Âµg vitamin D per day is also unrewarding: men with very high blood levels of vitamin D (>50 ng/ml) showed slightly diminished merits of vitamin D. Concentrations this high are very rare in central Europe.
In addition to sperm development, vitamin D is also important for the production of testosterone.5
These studies suggest that moderate supplementation with Vitamin D3 (approx. 10 µg daily, which corresponds to 200% RDA) is recommendable.
The best and most popular products for stimulating sperm development are compared here.
- Nationale Verzehrsstudie, Teil 2 (National Consumption Study, Part 2) ↩
- Jensen MB.; “Vitamin D and male reproduction.”; Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014 Mar;10(3):175-86. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2013.262. Epub 2014 Jan 14. ↩
- Blomberg Jensen M, Bjerrum PJ, Jessen TE, Nielsen JE, Joensen UN, Olesen IA, Petersen JH, Juul A, Dissing S, Jørgensen N.; “Vitamin D is positively associated with sperm motility and increases intracellular calcium in human spermatozoa.”; Hum Reprod. 2011 Jun;26(6):1307-17. doi: 10.1093/humrep/der059. Epub 2011 Mar 22. ↩
- Yang B, Sun H, Wan Y, Wang H, Qin W, Yang L, Zhao H, Yuan J, Yao B.; “Associations between testosterone, bone mineral density, vitamin D and semen quality in fertile and infertile Chinese men.”; Int J Androl. 2012 Dec;35(6):783-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2012.01287.x. Epub 2012 Jun 19. ↩
- Blomberg Jensen M.; “Vitamin D metabolism, sex hormones, and male reproductive function.”; Reproduction. 2012 Aug;144(2):135-52. doi: 10.1530/REP-12-0064. Epub 2012 May 25. ↩