Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that we can get from the sun, food or supplements. It can help maintain optimal health by supporting our immune system, bone, muscle and even mental health. The benefits of this heavily promoted vitamin have been known since ancient times with the Greek writers recommending Sun exposure to cure “weak and flabby muscles” and the Egyptians claiming the rays from the Sun-God could “make a single-man stronger than a crowd”. While these sayings may sound grandiose, you’ll see that they’re not without merit…
What’s unfortunate is 50% of the worldwide population don’t get enough vitamin D which can lead to bone weakness, muscle weakness, issues with muscle endurance and even problems with mood.
Therefore, not having enough of this Vitamin could hamper your exercise gains, mood and gym performance.
By having more Vitamin D in your body, it allows you to produce more Type II muscle fibers which leads to increased muscle size, power and strength. While we’re on the topic of muscle gains, if you’re looking to gain denser & lean muscle higher vitamin D levels have been shown to decrease fatty infiltration in the muscle- meaning that the vitamin reduces the amount of fat stored between your muscle fibers.
Now, what does muscle act on? That’s right, your bones. Your bones need to be strong enough to handle all that weight and stress you place on your body during those workouts. While we know our bones are made of calcium and that we need calcium to keep our bones strong, eating all those leafy greens, sardines and yogurt to maintain bone health go amiss without the Vitamin D that puts the calcium into your bones, otherwise you’re essentially peeing 90% of that calcium out.
If you want to keep showing up to training, you must be free from illness. That means getting enough sleep and having a good diet. If you want to reduce the chance of getting sick, Vitamin D has been shown to decrease incidence and symptoms of flu, respiratory diseases and increase lung function.
Getting daily sun exposure would improve your vitamin D levels and would be better for your overall health, however, for those who do not get daily exposure to direct sunlight due to your work environment, lifestyle etc. supplementation could be immensely helpful. Moreover, dealing with insufficiency by eating fortified foods is not ideal as the number on the nutrition label may not be the same as the actual vitamin content . Additionally, even though many types of foods have been fortified with Vitamin D i.e., dairy, half of the world population still suffers from vitamin insufficiency.
So, adding a Vitamin D supplement to your diet could help keep the immune system healthy, enhance muscle size, density, strength, power and improve your cardiorespiratory fitness.
Now, if you’re looking invest in a supplement, be sure that it includes Vitamin K, they can work together to further increase bone density and insulin sensitivity. Which can lead to lead to more muscle gain as it plays a key role in being anabolic and absorption of glycogen which is needed for intense workouts and weight training. Also, be sure that the company is reputable to avoid taking in all those unwanted fillers.