Vitamin D is so important to us as humans that we have evolved to be able to get it from the sun, but with reduced sun exposure and more people working longer hours inside without regular breaks more and more people are becoming Vitamin D deficient.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is the only vitamin we can make by standing in the sun. We can also eat it in fish, beef liver and mushrooms. Most milk, cereal, and orange juice that is fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and not a vitamin but a prohormone or a precursor to a hormone.
Vitamin D has multiple roles in the body including, promoting healthy teeth and bones, supporting immune and nervous system health, supporting cardiovascular health, healthy cell growth, regulating insulin levels. This leads to some of the benefits of Vitamin D – Increased testosterone, better cognition, improved bone health, higher immunity, lower risk of depression and slower rates of aging.
What are the benefits of vitamin D?
Stronger healthier bones.
Our bodies need vitamin D to extract calcium properly from the food we eat, but vitamin D deficiency means we cannot absorb enough calcium. It can also slow down bone loss, warding off osteoporosis and keeping you stronger for longer. Vitamin D deficiency in children can cause rickets which leads to a bow-legged appearance due to the softening of bones from lack of calcium absorption. In adults, it can lead to bone softening and muscular weakness.
Vitamin D impacts protein synthesis and regulates neuromuscular functioning with studies showing a lack of or low Vitamin D levels resulting in muscle wastage and reduced functioning. People with insufficient levels of Vitamin D can also suffer from fatty muscles due to fat infiltration into the muscle tissue which impacts strength and power and can impair physical functioning.
Vital for immune health
If you can’t get to the gym you can’t train so immune health is something that as gym fans we need to stay on top of. Vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of flu in this 2018 study. Further research is needed but the initial results are promising.
Improve Heart Health
A recent study in the European Journal of preventative cardiology found that Vitamin D helps to exercise ability and possibly reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Typically people with a higher VO2 max capacity can exercise longer and more vigorously and they found a correlation with an increase in Vitamin D and an increase with max V02.
What is vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency can occur for many reasons
Darker skin type
Darker skin and sunscreen reduce the body’s ability to absorb the UV rays from the sun which is essential for the skin to produce Vitamin D.
Where you live
People who live in northern latitude locations or polluted areas don’t get as much sunlight as their southern counterparts.
People who work night shifts, long shifts or work from home without regular brake from the office to go outside don’t get much sunlight.
What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
Getting sick often
Fatigue and Tiredness
Bone and Back pain
Impaired wound healing
What are the best dietary sources of Vitamin D?
The best way to get Vitamin D is through sufficient sunlight, however, here are some dietary sources of Vitamin D which can help to increase your intake.
Fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon
In our IgniteRX a specially formulated liquid multi-vitamin for functional fitness athletes, weightlifters, cross fitters and powerlifters we have added Vitamin D along with 28 other important vitamins, minerals, amino acids, greens, ginseng and caffeine for the extra energy boost.
You can buy our IgniteRX here.