22 May 3 Ways ‘Vitamin D’ Can Improve Strength Training.

Vitamin D from Sunlight: Man on MountainVitamin D deficiency can have a greater impact than you think on your training performance.

Vitamin D is a very powerful vitamin, almost having the impact of a hormone as opposed to vitamin and it has a potent effect on your bones, muscle function, and the immune system.

What’s the easiest way to make sure you get enough vitamin D?  Actually it’s through sun exposure.

But, with all the bad press on sun exposure, one of the major benefits of the sun is getting adequate requirements of vitamin D.

This vitamin is produced in the skin and is converted into another form, called calicitriol, 25-dihydroxyvitamin.

Depending on where you live, there are many people that do not get adequate sun exposure to promote enough vitamin D and this is a major problem.

There is more emerging data to suggest that deficiency in vitamin D may lead to a vast amount of major health problems, let alone inhibit your training performance.

Here’s 3 ways that vitamin D could impact your training performance:

  1. Bone Health:  I’m sure you’ve heard before that vitamin D and calcium are important for your bones. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to not only low bone mass, but potentially increasing the risk for fractures or other bone related dysfunction, stress, or injury.  The bottom line is Vitamin D will assist to prevent training related bone injuries.
  2. Muscle Activity:  Vitamin D helps to assist in stronger and faster muscle contraction of your type II muscle fibers (the fibers that are used in quick, explosive movements such as with an exercise like the kettlebell swing).  There has been some research demonstrating higher serum vitamin D levels have improved physical performance measures.  It appears that the potential of having increased levels of vitamin D may be beneficial to specific training performance, however, more data is needed.
  3. Immune Function:  Physiological stress with exercise is normal and expected.  This can lead to immunosuppression and, ultimately, illness and infection if nutrition is not optimized around intense physical training. There is research to support that low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of infections, so vitamin D supplementation may be warranted in vitamin D deficient individuals.  To boost the immune system and remain free from illness or respiratory infection, vitamin D supplementation definitely seems like a smart choice.

Now, how much vitamin D do you need?

The general recommendation is 600 IU’s with an upper limit of 4,000 IU’s, although this has not been established.

Just to give you and idea, one cup of milk typically has about 115-124 IU’s per serving.

What’s the ideal dose?

I take 200o IU’s per day.

It’s thought that through proper nutrition and adequate sunlight, this recommendation could be met easily.

However, unless you are actually checked for serum levels of vitamin D, you wouldn’t know if you were deficient or not.

The sun can provide up to 90% of the vitamin D requirements, but remember, this will depend on where you live, what season you are in, and other factors.

In the summer, you’ll be more likely to get closer to your optimal levels, but in the winter months, you could be deficient.

There are many other factors that could lead to deficiency such as lifestyle, sunscreen use, and inadequate nutrition.

Again, there are many reasons to make sure you get enough vitamin D.

Studies have shown low levels do, in fact, correlate with many ailments such as:

  • stress fractures,
  • colds,
  • depressed mood,
  • poor immune system function,
  • decreased muscle strength and power.

These are things that can have a major negative impact on your training performance.

Now, do you see how sufficient levels of vitamin D can improve your training performance?

This vitamin may be one of the most important for optimizing your health and overall training.

It’s inexpensive, but a very beneficial supplement.

It’s really a “no brainer” when you think about it.

For my preferred brand, click here.

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