The Vitamin D Down Low
Vitamin D truly is a magical vitamin, so it’s surprising that the majority of athletes and the general population are completely deficient in Vitamin D.
Controversy and discussion of vitamin D is nothing new, way back in 1927 the German Swimmers’ Association used sunlamps on their athletes in order to boost performance (through vitamin D synthesis) this lead to an uproar and accusations of doping.
Is vitamin D really that powerful?
If you are deficient in Vitamin D many studies in modern times have shown it can be a performance enhancing substance.
The most common source of Vitamin D is sunlight, our bodies synthesize sunlight into Vitamin D, we have Vitamin D receptors all throughout the body, it essentially acts like a hormone.
“Why should I be worried about my vitamin D deficiency?” you ask, well there’s a TON of health benefits from getting in the right amount of vitamin D each day… such as:
- Prevention of stress fractures
- Maintain a healthy vitality
- Reduced risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s
- Reduction in eye inflammation due to aging
- Assists in the prevention of type 2 diabetes
Vitamin D and Muscle Growth
Is there a link between vitamin D and muscle growth? There certainly is!
Vitamin D (through the regulation of neuromuscular functioning) impacts the synthesis of protein. Individuals studied that are deficient in Vitamin D (below 30 nmol/l) had decreased strength, muscle wastage and overall weak muscles.
Vitamin D and Fat Loss
Is there a link between vitamin D and fat loss? Absolutely.
Studies have suggested that when supplementation of vitamin D is combined with resistance training (weights) overweight individuals noticed a decrease in their waist to hip ratio.
This study was performed on 23 overweight individuals over the course of 12 weeks.
Here’s what the authors had to say:
““The results of the current study demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation improved muscular power in healthy overweight and obese individuals within four weeks and that elevated vitamin D status was associated with greater losses in waist circumference, with no additional benefits in lean mass accumulation, muscular strength, or glucose tolerance during participation in a 12-week resistance exercise training program.
The current results support previous findings that indicate a relationship between vitamin D status and waist circumference rather than fat mass. The inverse relationship with waist circumference is particularly important as abdominal fat has been implicated as an important factor in the development of Type 2 diabetes…
Waist circumference is also an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the greater decrease in waist circumference associated with higher vitamin D intake represents a potential reduction in risk for metabolic disease and cardiovascular risk.”
Studies on Vitamin D and Performance
Vitamin D has had countless studies performed regarding the improvement of performance in athletes, below are some of the notable results.
Russian study suggests 100M sprint times improved 7.4% by those who had vitamin d exposure
German study suggests 13% increase in performance on a bike ergometer
German study on children suggests overall fitness improved in children whom were given the correct dosage of vitamin d
German study suggests reaction times in children improved by 17% when given correct vitamin d exposure
American college study indicated women exposed to ultraviolet irradiation (vitamin d) noticed improvements in strength, speed and endurance.
Vitamin D Recommended Dosage
There is no exact RDA recommended daily dose as of this stage as it is believed there is “insufficient evidence”, however 200 – 400 IU is the range prescribed by medical professionals and scientists whom have performed these studies, with younger individuals requiring slightly less Vitamin D, and older individuals requiring an increased dosage of vitamin D.
Supplement with Vitamin D.
Vitamin D has had enough studies performed to solidify (in my opinion) that it increases protein synthesis, improves protein anabolism and promotes an increase in muscle mass.
Vitamin D is proven to help prevent certain diseases and reduce the severity of colds and sickness in winter.
I personally supplement with Vitamin D-3 daily, it’s inexpensive and effective.