Vitamin D: Get Your Daily Dose of Sunshine

Did you know?
Studies show that 88% of us receives less than the optimal amount of Vitamin D and that as we grow older, our ability to synthesize Vitamin D decreases by 75% as well. Scary statistics indeed – especially for athletes like you and I with audacious performance goals in mind.

Research studies in the last decade have indicated that active people who supplement with Vitamin D3 consistently and live a healthy lifestyle with enough nutrition in their diet, show significant improvements in their athletic performance and fitness.
Unfortunately sunshine is just not enough to provide us with what they need so we need to use a supplement and eat foods high in this essential vitamin.

Vitamin D is of particular importance to anyone regularly doing sport for the following reasons:

1. Promotes bone health – strong bodies = stronger runners, cyclists and swimmers
2. Essential for activating immune cells – the stress of training puts pressure on our immune system – nothing is more frustrating than getting sick!
3. Increases muscle strength – who doesn’t want to be a powerful athlete?
4. Enhances mood and reduces anxiety – happiness has been proven to improve quality of life, relationships and is directly
linked to sports performance

If you are not getting enough Vitamin D, like I experienced recently, what are the key symptoms?

• Getting sick often
• Loss of muscular strength
• Extreme tiredness
• More frequent muscular aches and pains
• Hair loss
• Increased feelings of sadness and negativity
• Unusual weight loss or weight gain
• Heightened anxiety

A quick blood test is the best way to diagnose a Vitamin D deficiency and your doctor can prescribe a supplement with the right amount that you need to address your symptoms.

What foods are high in Vitamin D?

• Salmon
• Cod liver oil
• Tinned tuna
• Sardines
• Egg yolks
• Fortified foods like cow’s milk, soy milk and oats

Natural sources of Vitamin D are limited (vegans and vegetarians are at a high risk of not getting enough of this), which is why supplementation is sometimes very necessary and with extra calcium as well. Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption, which is crucial for developing and maintaining bone strength.

If you are Vitamin D deficient and start using a supplement like I did, it can take 4-8 weeks to feel a difference but everyone is different and some people take longer or quicker to respond to the supplementation. It has been 4 weeks since I started using a Vitamin D3 5000 IU product and I am starting to feel the benefits of this now, especially the elevated energy levels and improved physical performance when I train.

Along with plenty of nutritious food, enough rest and recovery, getting 20 minutes of sunshine (don’t forget your sunscreen!) 3-4 times a week will also work some magic.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn