Supplements

Meet the Last Pro-Hormone: Your Ultimate Boost!

The pro-hormone era was a wild time. Over-the-counter supplements that your body could convert into active hormones were popular and widely used. However, with the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004, legitimate companies could no longer make and sell these products. While the gray market continued to offer these supplements, their products came with risks like possible liver damage, acne, gynecomastia, hormone imbalances, and other health issues. Moreover, they were effectively illegal.

Interestingly, there is one remaining legal pro-hormone that many people do not recognize as such: vitamin D. The term “vitamin D” is somewhat misleading because it is actually a pro-hormone. On its own, vitamin D has no significant biological activity. It must be converted by the body into its active form, the hormone 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol, to exert its effects.

Once converted, vitamin D performs various vital functions. It boosts the immune system, increases testosterone levels, and even enhances the sex drive in females. You could think of taking vitamin D as a form of hormone replacement therapy. Similar to other hormone replacement therapies, vitamin D also appears to increase muscle mass, making it a valuable supplement for overall health and fitness.

Several studies support the muscle-building capabilities of vitamin D. For instance, nutritionists at Mahidol University conducted a study on 163 overweight men and women, finding that higher vitamin D levels were associated with more muscle mass and lower body fat percentages. Another study reviewed six different studies involving 370 participants who took 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily. These participants showed increased strength in various exercises, such as the leg press and bench press. A newer study found that participants who took 420 IU of vitamin D3 daily gained over a pound of lean mass without any additional exercise.

But why does vitamin D3 build muscle? One theory suggests that vitamin D3 suppresses the myostatin gene, which can inhibit muscle growth when overly active. Another theory is that vitamin D triggers PGC1-alpha, a key regulator of energy metabolism that helps develop new mitochondria. This process might enable harder training and, consequently, more muscle growth.

There are two main types of vitamin D supplements: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), derived from plants, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), derived from animal sources. Vitamin D3 is more effective at raising blood levels of the active hormone. While the study mentioned earlier used only 420 IU per day, it is safe and rational to use up to 5000 IU daily, especially if you don’t get much sun exposure.

Despite taking supplements, many people struggle to raise their blood levels of D3. To address this, consider taking microencapsulated vitamin D. This form of vitamin D3 is encapsulated in solid lipid nanoparticles, making it more stable and bioavailable. It protects the vitamin from moisture, oxidation, pH changes, and temperature fluctuations. Each tiny softgel of this microencapsulated product contains 5000 IU of D3, ensuring better absorption and effectiveness.

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