The importance of Vitamin D in maintaining strong healthy bones has long been recognised, but increasingly research is demonstrating a correlation between healthy Vitamin D levels and a reduction in muscle fatigue.
I hear complaints from both players and coaches about muscle fatigue setting in early during training/comp time and not being able to bounce back quick enough for next training session or comp. Often asked what can be done to reduce or prevent this from happening, without working with that individual or player closely, I cannot give exact advice but what I can tell them is this. One important factor is to properly rest. I see many players finishing a game, heading out for the night or the weekend, running around the following day with their own businesses, families, etc (yes I know, they are human too and have lives) but....where is the proper downtime to allow the body to recover fully and optimally for the next training session, the next competition?
I also hear " their body's are ripped with not an ounce of fat on them" - great I say - being lean is required within specific sporting fields. However, just because someone has a lean body with 6-pack abs doesn't mean they are looking after themselves properly to support their body's needs on a daily basis or within their sport with either their lifestyle choices, nutrition or recovery. Let's stop focussing on the aesthetics. A bigger picture lies underneath.
If they or you are getting connective muscle injuries on a regular basis (sprains, strains, dislocations and joint injuries), fall ill regularly or suffer from slow recovery, muscle fatigue etc, something on a deeper level isn't right.
So what does Vitamin D do?
Vitamin D is essential to bone health, as it ensures your body can absorb vital minerals, such as calcium. It's also important for keeping teeth, muscles, heart and lungs healthy and keeps infections at bay by supporting your immune system.
Vitamin D Deficency
It’s pretty common for many of us resident in the UK to be low in Vitamin D. With the sun being our only natural source, and as we all know, it can be hard to get enough sunshine even more so in the winter months.
A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis (fragile bone with a higher chance of fracturing) or osteomalacia (softening of bones also resulting in fractures).
How can it help with muscle recovery?
Studies have shown that there is a correlation between Vitamin D, specifically 25(OH)D, and muscle recovery.
Studies concluded that having higher levels of Vitamin D, in particular prior to undertaking physical activity, resulted in less muscle fatigue and better recovery post-exercise.
What does this mean if you are an athlete or weekend warrior who works out regularly?
I'd say it would be good to assess what your current levels of Vitamin D are. I'd also add, that if you haven't been on a sunny vacation recently and predominantly reside in the UK, your levels will likely be low. I would recommend speaking with me by phone or email for how you can assess your vitamin D levels within the comfort of your own home.
If low or deficient I can then help you increase your vitamin D levels safely, over a suggested period of time with the recommendation of the appropriate potency of Vitamin D for your body.
It's good to ensure that your diet includes foods such as: Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), red meat and eggs - these have some, not a lot, but small amounts of vitamin D.