Vitamin A and Testosterone Levels
Vitamin A is one of the essential vitamins that people of both genders should take in to ensure good health. It is actually listed as one of the 24 nutrients that are considered essential for long-term survival. However, while the name suggests that it is just one single nutrient, the phrase ‘vitamin A’ refers to a group of different nutrients, including retinoic acids, retinol and retinal as well as some carotenoids which are not actually vitamin A themselves, but that the body can convert into Vitamin A.
Why Does This Matter?
Vitamin A is essential for a lot of different processes within the body. If you don’t get enough of it in your diet then you will start to go blind and the functioning of your immune system will become impaired. In addition, you will suffer from fertility problems and your body would not be able to absorb dietary fat properly, which would create even more problems because you would end up with a deficiency of a number of other fat-soluble nutrients.
So Does Vitamin A Increase Testosterone Levels?
Recent research suggests that there are some links between testosterone production and Vitamin A. It is known that vitamin A can be found in the form of retinal within the Sertoli cells in the testicles. The body can convert it into retinoic acid if required.
In studies that have been conducted on rodents, it has been found that if there is no vitamin A in the testicles, then the rodent’s testosterone levels will fall rapidly while their estrogen levels will increase.
The main theory for why this occurs relates to the issue of vitamin A and fat absorption. Dietary fat is important for testosterone production – so if you are deficient in vitamin A then this will mean that your body won’t be able to use the dietary fat in your diet to produce testosterone.
In addition, vitamin A is used to make transferrin, which is a compound that is used to take cholesterol to the Leydig cells in the testicles. That cholesterol is used to make testosterone. If you don’t have enough vitamin A in your diet, then your body won’t be able to make testosterone efficiently.
A Look at the Studies
There have been a few studies conducted on humans. One looked at 155 twin men and found that vitamin A had a significant positive impact on testosterone levels. Another study took 102 boys who were short in stature and had been through delayed puberty, and divided them into four different groups. One was given synthetic testosterone, one was given vitamin A and iron supplements, one was given both TRT and the supplements, and then the final group was a control group.
The control group did not gain any significant amount of height or benefit from accelerated puberty. However, interestingly enough, the vitamin A and iron group noticed similar gains in height and in puberty rate as well as testicular volume as the group that was given TRT.
What Does This Mean for Men and Nutrition?
These studies show that vitamin A deficiencies are a bad thing for men. However, not all men who are deficient in testosterone will be suffering from problems related to Vitamin A. There are many other reasons why someone might have lower than normal testosterone levels. They could be lacking in fat-soluble nutrients or vitamin D, or they could have an underlying medical condition.
If you are concerned about your testosterone levels, it is worth cleaning up your diet first of all, but if a healthy diet does not make a difference to how you feel, then you should talk to your doctor about your problems so that they can rule out any serious medical conditions. Do not start by taking mega-doses of vitamins without talking to a doctor first, particularly if you are taking any prescription medications or taking other supplements. A lot of supplements can interact with other vitamins and minerals, and this could cause serious health problems, or make your medication less effective. It pays to be cautious with the things you put into your body – even over the counter products.