Everyone’s talking about vitamin D. And, with good reason. We’re here to summarise everything you need to know about vitamin D and why it is so important, especially if you do a lot of exercise!
After this you’ll be armed with all the facts relating to how vitamin D levels impact muscle growth, the immune system and more. Plus, the key facts on how much to take, what to take and where you can get it from.
Vitamin D and Muscle Strength
It might seem strange that a vitamin can have an impact on your muscles but vitamin D really can! Numerous studies are now showing how vitamin D can play a significant role for anyone involved in sport. Here’s three recent studies showing this:
1. One study found vitamin D supplementation was shown to positively impact lower limb muscle strength in athletes.
(Study titled: Effect of vitamin D supplementation on upper and lower limb muscle strength and muscle power in athletes: A meta-analysis. 2019.)
2. Another study found vitamin D to play a positive role in muscle strength, injury prevention and sports performance.
(Study titled: Effects of Vitamin D on Skeletal Muscle and Athletic Performance. 2018.)
3. Finally, another study concluded that vitamin D3 supplementation improves upper and lower limb muscle strength in a healthy, adult, athletic and non-athletic population between the ages of 18 and 40.
(Study titled: Effects of vitamin D supplementation on upper and lower body muscle strength levels in healthy individuals. A systematic review with meta-analysis. 2014.)
These studies show a clear link between vitamin D and muscle strength. If your goal is to build up your strength then make sure vitamin D is part of your daily diet alongside protein.
Vitamin D and the Immune System
Another benefit of vitamin D is how it supports our immune system. The immune system is our bodies defence against infections; it consists of various organs, cells and processes. When the body senses foreign substances (called antigens), the immune system works to recognise the antigens and stimulate an immune response.
Vitamin D supports the function of our immune system by creating immune cells with a higher tolerance. A particularly important benefit during the winter months when there are more colds and flu around! We also have some other tips on how to boost your immune system here.
Other benefits of Vitamin D
As well as benefiting the immune system, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) state that vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones, teeth and blood calcium levels. So, it’s clear that everyone can benefit one way or another from vitamin D.
How much Vitamin D should I be taking?
The NHS recommend everyone should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months. This is because the majority of people (in the UK at least) will not get enough exposure to sunlight (your bodies main source of vitamin D) in autumn and winter. The supplementation recommendations from the government are as a result of their concerns for ensuring musculoskeletal health in the general population.
The NHS recommend adults need a minimum of 10 micrograms (40IU) of vitamin D every day. However, if you’re working out or exercising regularly you may need to take on more, which is why each capsule of our vitamin D is 50 micrograms (2000IU).
Do I choose Vitamin D2 or Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D comes in two main forms – vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Both forms are beneficial, however D3 is the most active biological form of vitamin D. Studies have shown that vitamin D3 may be more important to our health than vitamin D2. This is because vitamin D3 is thought to be more potent. For this reason, our vitamin D3 supplement is purely vitamin D3, not D2.
Where can you get Vitamin D from?
You don’t have to supplement with vitamin D. It can be gained from sunlight or the following foods:
- Oily fish
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
- Fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals
However, the NHS recommend that between October and early March, in the UK, everyone should take a daily vitamin D supplement due to less sunlight in the winter months.
A vitamin D supplement can also be an insurance policy if you’re not regularly eating oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks or fortified foods. Also, if you’re training regularly then your body may need more vitamin D to help with muscle strength (see point 1!).
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