Vitamin D is an often-overlooked, under-consumed nutrient that plays a major role in your overall health and performance in the gym. Learn how to make sure you’re getting enough so you can be on top of your game!
You probably know it as the “sunshine vitamin,” or the vitamin that helps maintain strong bones, but there’s a lot more to Vitamin D than meets the eye. It serves a variety of functions in the body, including maintaining optimal bone and muscle health, as well as having favorable effects on inflammation. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get enough vitamin D on a daily basis, with a reported one billion people worldwide having a deficiency.
BENEFIT 1: STRONGER BONES
When you think of strong bones, calcium often comes to mind. Calcium is the major player when it comes to bone health and increasing bone mineral density, but don’t overlook the importance of vitamin D.
Previous research has shown that vitamin D is a strong stimulator of calcium deposition in bones, making them stronger and healthier.2 If you’re not getting enough vitamin D, your body begins to slow or stop depositing calcium into bones, eventually drawing calcium out from your bones back into the bloodstream. Over time, this constant cycle of deposit and withdrawal will make your bones weak and at high risk for fractures.
BENEFIT 2: IMPROVED MUSCLE FUNCTION
Short-changing yourself when it comes to vitamin D supplementation could be interfering with your strength gains. Research published in the Iranian Journal of Public Health in 2010 reported that over 70 percent of men ages 20-29 had some level of vitamin D deficiency.
Additionally, vitamin D deficiency is relatively common in athletes and is associated with muscle weakness and atrophy, specifically Type 2 muscle fiber atrophy. Skipping out on this vitamin is just as bad as skipping out on leg day.
BENEFIT 3: PROTECTION FROM CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
The classic function of vitamin D is to increase absorption of calcium to maintain proper bone health, but did you know it has a protective effect on your heart? Recent evidence has demonstrated that individuals deficient in vitamin D are at an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, sudden cardiac death, or heart failure.
Although the exact mechanisms are unclear at this time, it appears that vitamin D can help lower blood pressure, improve vascular compliance (how elastic your arteries are), and improve glycemic control. Save your heart by supplementing with the D!
BENEFIT 4: DECREASED RISK OF TYPE 2 DIABETES
Type 2 diabetes can lead to some devastating long-term complications, including nerve damage, heart disease, eye damage and vision loss, and kidney failure. Recent evidence suggests that vitamin D may play a significant role in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes—especially in those who are at an increased risk for this deadly disease.
Several observational studies have shown improvements in beta cell function, insulin sensitivity, and whole-body inflammation with higher levels of vitamin D.
A recent study calculated the risk of developing type 2 diabetes according to baseline vitamin D status and found those with the highest baseline levels had a 38 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with the lowest vitamin D levels.
BENEFIT 5: REDUCED RISK OF CANCER
Is there anything this vitamin can’t do? Research suggests that sufficient vitamin D levels in adulthood may significantly reduce the risk for many types of cancer, including colon, breast, ovarian, and prostate.
Vitamin D is one of the most potent inhibitors of cancer-cell growth, and reduces the risk of cancer by increasing calcium absorption and cell differentiation, while reducing metastasis (the spread of cancer from one organ to another).
BEST SOURCES OF VITAMIN D
How can you make sure you’re getting enough of this incredible nutrient? Here are top 10 vitamin D rich food, none of which will break the bank.
Now you know the benefits of Vitamin D and how it helps you remain fit. If you haven’t got yourselves tested for it, get yourself tested for accurate Vitamin Tests or Full Body Checkup at the comfort of your home from MedLabz.com or call on +91 7879-800-800 to get more information on the checkup at your location.