Vitamin D Helps Exercise Performance

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By Kirsten Cowart 

Taking a vitamin D supplement or getting a healthy amount of sunlight can improve your exercise performance while also lowering the risk of heart disease. These new findings were recently presented at a conference in Edinburgh for the Society for Endocrinology.

Vitamin D acts as both a hormone and a vitamin inside of your body. Your body will produce it naturally when you get sunlight (ultraviolet B rays) and you can also get it from food such as oily fish and eggs or vitamin D supplements.  

Vitamin D is important in your body, because it helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in your blood. You also need its help to form healthy teeth and bones.  

This awesome vitamin is believed to reduce the amount of cortisol circulating around your body, which is believed to be the reason why vitamin D can improve your exercise performance while also helping to protect your heart against cardiovascular risk.

Vitamin D Supplement Increases Performance 30% And Reduces Endurance Needed

In the Queen Margaret University study, researchers gave 13 healthy adults who were comparable in weight and age 50μg of vitamin D each day or a placebo for 2 weeks.  

The adults who were given vitamin D, when compared to those who were given the placebo, had lower blood sugar. They also had lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that is excreted from the body through urine.

A fitness test was performed to assess the adults who took the vitamin D as well. They found that at the beginning of the experiment, they could only cycle 5km in 20 minutes and after the 2 weeks, they were able to cycle 6.5km in the same amount of time. This is a 30% difference in distance.  

What is awesome about the second test is that, not only did the subjects perform better, but they also had lower amounts of physical exertion than before. This means that vitamin D may be the difference in having an easier time exercising.

In England, around 10 million people have low vitamin D levels. Even in the summer, around 1 out of every 10 adults have lower levels of vitamin D. In the winter, that number jumps up to about 2 out of every 5 adults who have a vitamin D deficiency.

If a person has darker skin, they aren’t as easily able to absorb vitamin D from sunlight, making it so that 3 out of 4 darker skinned adults are low on vitamin D in the winter.

“Our pilot study suggests that taking vitamin D supplements can improve fitness levels and lower cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure,” said study co-author, Dr. Raquel Revuelta Iniesta. “Our next step is to perform a larger clinical trial for a longer period of time in both healthy individuals and large groups of athletes such as cyclists or long-distance runners.”

“Vitamin D deficiency is a silent syndrome linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and a higher risk for certain cancers,” said Dr. Emad Al-Dujaili, lead author of the study. “Our study adds to the body of evidence showing the importance of tackling this widespread problem.”

Let us know about your experiences and how you keep your vitamin D levels high in the comments below.

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Kirsten Campbell
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Kirsten Campbell

Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
Kirsten Campbell
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