5 Reasons You Need Vitamin D to Get Fit
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds.
Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s exposed to sunlight. You can also get it through certain foods. And, of course, you can supplement to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood.
Great food sources are:
• Egg yolks
• Wild Salmon
• Salmon Eggs
• Tuna – Look for line caught tuna for lower mercury levels. Tuna is a high-mercury fish.
• Cod Liver Oil
Notice that this list is heavy in high fat fish. High vitamin D levels is just another reason we should all have it in our diet.
What Vitamin D Does in the Human Body?
Vitamin D has several important functions ranging from weight loss to healthier and stronger teeth. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.
If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D, you’re at risk of developing bone abnormalities such as soft bones (osteomalacia) or fragile bones (osteoporosis). This is a silent decline of your finess and well-being.
In recent years, Vitamin D has been cited as the miracle micronutrient. It is able to do everything from boosting testosterone to supercharging metabolism. New research from the University of Birmingham finds inflammatory diseases like arthritis could be prevented by a dose of vitamin D.
What are the Fitness Benefits from Vitamin D?
• Vitamin D aids muscle growth and healthy bones
Vitamin D (through the regulation of neuromuscular functioning) impacts the synthesis of protein.
Individuals studied that are deficient in Vitamin D had decreased strength, muscle wastage and overall weak muscles. It plays a substantial role in the regulation of calcium and maintenance of phosphorus levels in the blood, two factors that are extremely important for maintaining healthy bones.
We need vitamin D to absorb calcium in the intestines and to reclaim calcium that would otherwise be excreted.
• Decreased risk of type 2 diabetes
It’s safe to say that maintaining your fitness can help you avoid type 2 diabetes. This disease can lead to some devastating long-term complications, including nerve damage, heart disease, kidney failure eye damage and vision loss. Recent evidence suggests that vitamin D may play a significant role in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes—especially in those who are at an increased risk for this deadly disease.
Several observational studies have shown improvements in beta cell function, insulin sensitivity, and whole-body inflammation with higher levels of vitamin D. A recent study calculated the risk of developing type 2 diabetes according to baseline vitamin D status and found those with the highest baseline levels had a 38 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with the lowest vitamin D levels.
• Strengthened Immunity
When you do vigorous exercise, like circuit strength training, your immune defense system drops a tad, temporarily. By strengthening the bodies innate defense mechanisms and weakening the adaptive response cascade, vitamin D is a double edged sword when it comes to immune health. Your body has cells called “natural killer” cells. Vitamin D supports these cells and it essential for their optimal function. It also helps prevent over-action of immune cells that could cause autoimmune diseases.
Vitamin D and its role as an anti-inflammatory are being studied with implications in heart disease, diabetes, stroke, asthma, and cancer among others.
That said, it is very helpful in reducing exercise-induced inflammation!
• Reduced depression
The combination of a fitness routine and vitamin D supplementation can change a person’s life through changing their brood to good mood! Or as I like to put it:
‘Get rid of the mope without dope!’
1 in 6 Americans take antidepressants.
Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. Low Vitamin D equals low mood. Many experience this firsthand when winter arrives. Less sunlight affects mood negatively for many, an extreme version being Seasonal Affective Disorder. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms. In another study of people with fibromyalgia, researchers found vitamin D deficiency was more common in those who were also experiencing anxiety and depression.
• Aids Weight Loss
If you are working on losing weight, no matter how often you switch up your circuits or revamp your diet plan, keeping your weight loss clock ticking can be tough. However, add an extra ray of sunshine to your supplements and fat loss can be a whole lot easier.
According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, higher levels of vitamin D were synonymous with faster weight loss – particularly around your stomach.
In a second study, people taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement were able to lose more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement. In another study, overweight people who took a daily vitamin D supplement improved their heart disease risk markers.
Further Benefits From Vitamin D
• Cancer prevention
Vitamin D is extremely important for regulating cell growth and for cell-to-cell communication. Some studies have suggested that calcitriol (the hormonally active form of vitamin D) can reduce cancer progression by slowing the growth and development of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue, increasing cancer cell death, and reducing cell proliferation and metastases. Vitamin D influences more than 200 human genes, which could be impaired when we do not have enough vitamin D.
Cancer of all types was last year’s biggest killer of British men, according to the office of National statistics. It is scary stuff, but with extra Vitamin D you can reduce your risk.
Northwestern university found a dose as low as 600 IU per day cuts your chances of developing pancreatic cancer, and the University of California San Diego discovered D cuts your colon cancer risk by 50%.
Personally, I supplement with 5000 IU per day and I try to double that the week before travel. I want my immune system to be in top-notch shape before I get into a plane with recirculated air. A doctor once told me that only one airplane in the world does not consistently circulate the same air through out the flight. He went on to say:
‘A baby in row 35 can have a cold and sneeze; even if you’re all the way up in first class, you’re breathing that…’
Make sure your immune system is ready; take vitamin D!
Final Thoughts on Vitamin D and Your Fitness
Safe daily sunshine, supplementation, and real food sources are all important ways to maintain balanced Vitamin D levels. Getting tested for this essential nutrient is important. Vitamin D deficiency is rampant.
Mindful daily supplementation and some sunshine is going to be your best strategy to prevent deficiency and maintain adequate levels. These small but extremely vital habits, is massively important for long-term health and well being.
Plus, if you want to get fitter faster, we all know that diet is essential. We forget how important it is to supplement our diets.