In the ever growing market of supplements and vitamins there are many things that have become popular by word of mouth, with many people starting to take supplements or vitamins without ever reading an article or study about any positive or negative effects it might have, the amount you need to be taking, and where to find the best quality product. It is obviously a much better idea to listen to Bobby Biceps tell you that he read in his Pump magazine that vitamin D is good for you and you should take it. Chances are that this bro has no clue that vitamin D is something your body produces naturally from exposure to the sun….he might not know what the sun is as well.
Along with being produced by the body from sunlight, vitamin D is also found in food sources such as fish, cheese, butter, and milk. Now if you have your grocery cart already packed sky high with all of the food products just mentioned, put most of them back. To even close to the amount of vitamin D your body needs, your diet would pretty much have to be made up mostly of fish and cheese….does that sound appealing to anyone? Luckily vitamin D can also be found in a pill or capsule form.
Now if you are sitting there reading this wondering why you should care about taking vitamin D, here are some pretty good health related reasons:
- Helps you live longer – In a recent study (Melamed, et al.) it was found using data found from the general population that the mortality rate was 26% higher in the people with the lowest vitamin D levels (25) compared to those who had the highest.
- Vitamin D deficiency is a major player in causing up to 17 different types of cancer.
- Alzheimer’s patients who were sufficient in vitamin D were more cognizant and responsive, as well as scoring better on their Mini-Mental State Examination, compared to the patients who had a vitamin D deficiency.
- Vitamin D may be able to protect against Type I and Type II diabetes.
- Vitamin D has been shown to lower blood pressure and increase people’s insulin sensitivity.
Besides the obvious health benefits of taking vitamin D, there are many performance related benefits as well.
Studies have been done that show that vitamin can directly act on muscles to cause an increase in protein synthesis.
People who were deficient in vitamin D were used in a study where they began being administered vitamin D daily and showed an increase in muscle protein anabolism (building muscle) and a steady increase in muscle mass.
It has also been shown that people who take in vitamin D on a regular basis have increased neuromuscular function such as, better balance and reaction time, compared to those who do not take a vitamin D supplement.
So if vitamin D can help you live a longer and healthier life, it can increase sports performance as well as muscle growth, it can not possibly have any other benefits right? Very wrong! Vitamin D is also a very important factor in weight loss and preventing obesity.
Studies have shown that regular consumption of vitamin D is related to increased fat loss while retaining muscle mass.
Patients with severe obesity and BMI levels were all listed as being very deficient in vitamin D.
Here are some other helpful vitamin D recommendations:
- Experts have said that the daily recommended intake of vitamin D should be anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 IU’s. ** (Much more than what the government recommends)
- During the winter months and during periods of high volume training, vitamin D intake should increase anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 IU’s per day.
- When at the beach, do not use any body washes or soap when showering after being outside. This will wash off the vitamin D that was produced from your body because it did not have ample time to be absorbed.
- Choose vitamin D in the D3 form, gelcaps are optimal.
- When increasing your intake of vitamin D, make sure you are getting the proper amount of calcium.
Hopefully this will answer any questions you might have and will help you when finding out if you need to take a vitamin D supplement.
“Am I Vitamin D Deficient?” Vitamin D Council | Understanding Vitamin D Cholecalciferol. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. .
Melamed ML, Michos ED, Post W, Astor B. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D levels and the risk of mortality in the general population. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(15):1629—37
“Vitamin D Background – Vitamin D Health Information – NY Times Health.” Health News – The New York Times. Web. 22 Apr. 2011. .
Stephen Volek Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, University of Findlay