Friday, October 19, 2012

Having Sex Protects Against Vitamin D Toxicity

by Chris Masterjohn, PhD

My focus for the last six years or so on the need to balance vitamin D with vitamins A and K2 has turned out to be a rather prudish solution to the soft tissue calcification that can often be caused by vitamin D. While a concoction of A and K may hold you up on the streets, the funner and more exciting solution to vitamin D toxicity lies between the sheets.

In 1935, a Swedish professor named Erik Agduhr published a paper in Zeitschrift für Vitaminforschung entitled "Ergosterol increases the prolific capacity of the experimental animals, and normal sexual functions intensify their resisting power against the toxicity of the ergosterol." In the paper, he describes experiments wherein he gave just under a hundred mice either 4,000 or 8,000 IU per day of irradiated ergosterol, known more simply as vitamin D2. These are huge doses for such little critters. But, you know how they do: give mice enough vitamin D and you'd swear they were bunnies.

Mice getting both doses of vitamin D were kept in a cage with one or a few other mice of the same sex. Some of those getting the higher dose, and some eating a control diet, were kept in mixed-sex cages and allowed their conjugal rights. If the females got pregnant and gave birth, their pups were immediately killed "in order to release the female from the exertion of the organism a lactation might give rise to," a process known in the past as infanticide (at least when humans do it to their own children), but recently advocated in the BMJ Group's Journal of Medical Ethics as "after-birth abortion."

Over the course of 40 weeks, lady mice in the control group found buns in their ovens on average only 5.2 times (yes, even normal mice are prolific), whereas lady mice getting the toxic level of vitamin D and caged up with hubbies getting the same found themselves in such straits 8.7 times. From these numbers, vitamin D would appear to be the original Viagra (or Clomid?): toxic doses of it increase "the prolific capacity" of mice by 67%.

But there's more! All this party time the mixed-cage male mice were getting really seemed to save their lives. Males caged only with other males were dying left and right while they were consuming toxic doses of vitamin D. Just under half of the dude mice getting the low dose died, while just under 65 percent of those getting the high dose died. Only seven percent of dude mice getting the high dose of D but caged with the fairer sex left this world for the next!

Female mice were much less likely to die. Given access only to other females, eight percent died, while none died among those who had good times with the males and wound up preggers. 

Animals that didn't die still developed toxicity, but the dramatic reduction in lethality makes it clear that the toxicity was greatly reduced among those with access to sex.

Agduhr speculated that part of vitamin D's toxicity related to its estrogenic activity. Vitamin D caused abnormalities in the thyroid, parathyroid, pitiuitary, and genital glands. The changes were more severe in males than in females, and certain aspects of these disturbances were partly reversed in the animals that had access to sex. His explanation, at least as far as it was developed in this paper, is not very convincing, but the reduced lethality of vitamin D among mice with access to sex, especially the males, is remarkable.

Generalizing from mice to men can often be problematic, but these findings seem to indicate that sex protects against vitamin D toxicity. Unfortunately, the results do not make clear how much sex is needed or whether its protective effect is dose-dependent. They tell us little about whether pregnancy is necessary, or whether physical or chemical contraception interfere with the protective effect. For that matter, the effect of allowing the offspring to live once born is also unclear. At the moment, this latter point is largely irrelevant because after-birth abortion is still illegal and not widely practiced. Nevertheless, young men and women at risk of vitamin D toxicity, particularly those who supplement or consume foods that may be subjected to accidental over-fortification, may consider marrying as a form of protection. As Regnerus and Uecker point out in Premarital Sex in America (2011, p 81), married emerging adults report having sex 100 times per year compared to the overall mean in this age group of 59. Given the uncertainties listed above, marriage would seem to increase the likelihood of frequent sex and provide a safer environment for the non-use of contraception.

Bottom line? If you accidentally eat the whole bottle of vitamin D, you have two options: break out the A and K, or break out the Marvin Gaye.

Read more about the author, Chris Masterjohn, here.

20 comments:

  1. It's gonna turn out sex is a cure for lots of imbalances - but may create a few of its own, depending upon how it's engaged in. For example, see "Men: Does Frequent Ejaculation Cause a Hangover?"
    Maybe the ancient Daoists had it right: For best results engage in frequent intercourse, but infrequent orgasm.

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    1. I agree with philosophe22. Didn't read the article. I don't support testing on mice. We are humans.

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  2. aaahhhh - but the bigger question - do i need yet another excuse to engage in my yet-to-be supplanted fav pastime? and can i trust that horny little rodents are a fair surrogate for my more rabbit-like compulsions?

    so many questions - that - IMHO don't need to be answered 'cause - the answer is rather obvious?

    thanks Chris for another "master(john)ful" post... ;-)

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    1. Thanks Ravi -- I always try to make my posts as full of masterjohn as possible. :-)

      Chris

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  3. First, I have to say that I have to wear socks while having sex. My feet get cold sitting in front of the computer. Eeeeewwwww! (But true.)
    I am a rather mature male who still likes women but have nothing to offer but myself. Got downsized three years ago, I was divorced, and am now living with my sister and her husband. I am the housekeeper and groundskeeper (about 2 acres). I have no income, no car, no house.

    Regardless of the vitamin D (and I get 20 minutes of noon sun whenever convenient and take about 780 IU of vitamin D, daily, in the form of a good Cod Liver Oil, about a 10 to 1 ration with vitamin A), I have "sex" 3 to 4 times a week. So I should be good, right? (Oh come on guys ... and gals ... there's nothing wrong with masturbation. It's safe sex with no complication and it feels good.)

    Second, I have read that testosterone is necessary for good male health, especially in our later years. The two best ways to produce natural--in your body testosterone--is by having sex, that is, having an orgasm, or by doing very intense physical workouts. I do both.

    By the way, a study in Germany a few years ago showed that by merely getting an erection would produce testosterone. Soooo, if you can't go all the way, go as far as you can, guys.

    Sorry ladies, I don't know what to tell you about sex and raising your libido, and over-all health, but it's still true that you must use it or lose it. If you have a "good" partner you probably are already there. If not, well, doing youself is still a very good option.

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  4. Oh Chris, you are so racy!
    :-)
    deb xo

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  5. My libido is nearly nil. No orgasms for weeks at a time. Last year I got my D3 levels up to 100, so I stopped supplementing. A few months later I got my D3 retested and it was still 100! I got almost no sun and didn't take vitamin A or K.

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  6. Fascinating...and hilarious!

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  7. y u delete my previous comment? i was ask serious question not trying to imply you're a bad christian.

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    1. I wouldn't delete a comment because it insulted me or accused me of being a hypocrite, but your comments were crude and referred to other people's personal lives, not just my own, and I prefer to keep my blog comments free from gossip that is entirely irrelevant to the post. I also don't understand why you (whoever you are) are posting anonymously when you're asking such personal questions. Nor do I understand why you're assuming I live a life full of conflict and then asking me how I reconcile all of the conflicts that you've imagined. I will continue to delete comments that I consider out of line based on the above criteria, so I imagine if this discussion continues much further I will be deleting comments again, but in the mean time I hope that helps clarify. By the way, this post is about mice!

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    2. No problem, thanks for understanding!

      Chris

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  8. Another great thought stumbled upon your site! Might as well buy generic viagra too, especially for those who work at night and barely see Mr. Sun at daytime.

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  9. I have read which testosterone is necessary for good male health, most especially in our later many years. The two ideal methods to produce natural--in the body testosterone--is by having sex, that is, having some kind of orgasm, or perhaps by doing really intense tangible workout sessions. I do concurrently.

    boost testosterone

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  10. So we probably need to be more concerned about accidentally OD-ing our children than ourselves.

    Fortunately, it's not especially easy to overdo the vitamin D unless you're on awfully heavy supplementation for an awfully long time.

    I find it fascinating that it was always believed that breastmilk is low in vitamin D - until they realized that if they supplemented nursing mothers with 10,000 IU/day, there was D in their milk! Sure sounds to me like we need a whole heck of a lot more we've been told.

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  11. There are many benefits of having regular sex, the best reason for me is that it helps me to get rid of stress.

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  12. How much vit D are you taking a day that you feel you have to control toxicity? for the last 3 months I have been taking 40,000 ui/day to control my rheumatoid arthritis. It completely took away multi joint arthritis in 3 days and that was 3 months ago. i have been disabled with it for over 10 yrs.

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  13. Fascinating! I think however that I had high sex drive with low Vitamin D. Bear in mind my sex drive is normally pretty low. I blame it on cheese which contains estrogen... and protein which stimulates testosterone.

    Anyway... does this mean men may have ... lower Vitamin D limits? Natural Vitamin D is usually okay, but the supplements can get toxic... men may actually have greater need for sex to stay healthy? if they get a lot of sun that is? Or maybe just optimal health. I definitely feel healthier with sex... like, I feel less need to actually get off on my own... as long as I have a regular sex partner. I can go longer without. I'm gonna hypothesize that estrogen and testosterone cause stress to the body and mind... anxiety... in absence of sex or at least physical intimacy. Pretty sure that happens to me. ;) Maybe sex also increases metabolism of Vitamin K1 to K2....... or downregulates parathyroid hormone...

    But those poor mice. Vitamin D2 is the bad form in mice, too? Or what? D3 is easier to use, right?

    I don't know if it's just because I'm ignoring my body more, but I feel healthier when I am just focused on a task to accomplish rather than worrying about my health or just doing random pointless stuff.

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