Phys Ed: Can Vitamin D Improve Your Athletic Performance?

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    Sep 24, 2009 1:37 AM GMT
    I have been seeing more about vitamin D lately. Just thought I would post this:

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/phys-ed-can-vitamin-d-improve-your-athletic-performance/Vitamin D is an often overlooked element in athletic achievement, a “sleeper nutrient,” says John Anderson, a professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of North Carolina and one of the authors of a review article published online in May about Vitamin D and athletic performance. Vitamin D once was thought to be primarily involved in bone development. But a growing body of research suggests that it’s vital in multiple different bodily functions, including allowing body cells to utilize calcium (which is essential for cell metabolism), muscle fibers to develop and grow normally, and the immune system to function properly. “Almost every cell in the body has receptors” for Vitamin D, Anderson says. “It can up-regulate and down-regulate hundreds, maybe even thousands of genes,” Larson-Meyer says. “We’re only at the start of understanding how important it is.”
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    Sep 24, 2009 5:11 AM GMT
    Years and years ago, my chiropractor "prescribed" two hours in the sun several times per week without sunblock. He'd check my vitamin D levels regularly with blood tests. As usual, western medicine is just catching on, but alternative doctors and nutritionists have long appreciated the importance of vitamin D. Of course, you have to be a bit careful if you supplement, since it's fat soluble. Get out in the sun more - without the sunblock.
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    Sep 24, 2009 7:14 AM GMT
    I am usually skeptical about grand claims of supplements, but it is certainly easy enough to supplement. Here are a few more articles:
    Vitamin D and Mental Health
    http://blog.vitamindrevolution.com/
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    Sep 24, 2009 10:38 AM GMT
    actually my mom just had this exact same problem. she is taking several thouand units to get her D-3 yup along with being in the sun. If you are of a darker complection its a natural problem.
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    Sep 24, 2009 12:05 PM GMT
    Yes, Vitamin D is important, as to the original question regarding its ability to improve athletic performance, here's what the Mayo Clinic website says about it...

    "Oral cholecalciferol does not appear to increase muscle strength or improve physical performance in healthy older men who are not vitamin D deficient."

    It did say this about muscle weakness though...

    "Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with muscle weakness and pain in both adults and children. Limited research has reported vitamin D deficiency in patients with low-back pain, and supplementation may reduce pain in many patients."

    So it sounds like unless you are deficient in Vitamin D there is probably no need to supplement.
  • dantoujours

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    Sep 24, 2009 12:27 PM GMT
    Vitamin D is a fat-soluble chemical that can build up in the body. There is a lot of controversy over whether it can reach toxic levels or not. Supplements are great, if you can't get enough through the diet but don't overdo it.
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    Sep 24, 2009 2:53 PM GMT
    Yes, one of the interesting things about some of the studies mentioned in the articles above was there were deficiencies in people they did not expect (look at the first article). It also mentioned that testing kits are available that allow you to test yourself:
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/phys-ed-can-vitamin-d-improve-your-athletic-performance/Concerned now about your Vitamin D status? You can learn your status with a simple blood test. An at-home version is available through the Web site of the Vitamin D Council. Be sure that any test checks the level of 25(OH)D in your blood. This level “should generally be above 50 nanograms per milliliter,” Larson-Meyer says.
    Of course some of this may be an attempt to sell a product