The Importance of Vitamin D:
By Reading This Article How to Tell if You Are Getting Enough Vitamin D you Will Get the Following:
- Why is Vitamin D important?
- How to tell if you are getting enough Vitamin D?
- The best practices to obtain more Vitamin D if you are suffering from a deficiency.
Why is Vitamin D Important?
When some people think of vitamin D, bone health may be the first thing that comes to mind. However, in recent years scientists have drawn new correlations between vitamin D levels and other important aspects of human health. Recent research has shown that vitamin D not only helps our bones and teeth but helps protect us from chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Also, vitamin D plays a role in cell growth, the immune system, and in managing inflammation. Scientists have even drawn connections between vitamin D and elevated mood and reduced incidence of depression. This can be seen on an individual level by noticing how you feel after spending 20 minutes in the sun.
As of 2019, it is estimated that one billion people are considered vitamin D deficient. The lack of Vitamin D is particularly noticeable among people living in regions where sun exposure is limited as well as people who have jobs or play sports that may prevent adequate daily sunshine. These challenges makes proper nutrition and supplementation incredibly more vital for maximizing health and performance.
Athletes and active people may have unique issues stemming from vitamin D deficiency, since being low in vitamin D has been shown to increase the risk of muscle injuries, stress fractures, and respiratory infections. Muscle strength and performance are also a part of the vitamin D equation. In fact, new research is connecting dots between adequate vitamin D levels and post-workout recovery, muscular strength, and body fat levels.
How to tell if you are getting enough Vitamin D?
Vitamin D for Athletes: What Can It Do?
When it comes to athletic performance, being deficient in vitamin D can prevent peak performance. Here are three key ways that vitamin D can impact your ability to execute at a high level:
1. Reduces recovery speed
Studies have shown that a vitamin D deficiency may slow your muscle recovery. The amount of vitamin D circulating in the blood influences how fast active athletes are able to recover after a high-intensity workout. Inadequate levels of vitamin D can lead to delayed muscle recovery and may adversely impact your training routine and athletic performance.
2. Boosts muscle growth and power
Vitamin D is now viewed as a key regulatory hormone for the human body. Muscle biopsies taken from adults deficient in vitamin D have revealed muscle atrophy. Specifically, this is evident with the fast-twitch muscle fibers that athletes rely on for speed and explosive power. In a 2019 study, insufficient vitamin D levels negatively impacted the muscle power, force, and velocity that goes into vertical jumps.
3. Assists with overall athletic performance
While researchers believe more work is required to fully understand the relationship between vitamin D and athletic performance, it’s been established that the two are associated. Russian scientists, dating back to 1938, observed that exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) could actually make an athlete run faster. German scientists in 1952 found that being exposed to adequate UV had a significant positive impact on cardiovascular performance in school-age children and that vitamin supplementation achieved similar results.
Lacking Vitamin D? Here's What Can You Do:
If you live in a warm climate and are able to spend enough time outside during the day, you may already have healthy levels of vitamin D. But if getting adequate sun is a challenge due to being inside or because of seasonal changes, you Vitamin D levels should be monitored and potentially supplemented with. This is especially true for those who live north of the 37th parallel — from Virginia to San Francisco in the United States.
Below are some basic tips.
- If you spend a majority of your day inside or you live in regions with limited sunshine, you should have your vitamin D levels measured throughout the year.
- If you know that you have a vitamin D deficiency, seek advisement from your doctor or registered dietician on increasing Vitamin D consumption through additional sun exposure or supplementation of Vitamin D.
- Ensure that you are getting enough magnesium as well. Some excellent natural sources of magnesium are avocados, nuts and seeds, legumes, and dark chocolate. You can also supplement what you cannot get naturally. At Kingsfield Fitness, we always recommend getting your nutrients naturally and supplementing what you cannot get through proper supplementation guidelines.
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