Most people know vitamin D is unusual in vitamins as it can be generated by the body from other sources, simply with the addition of a little bit of what we call sunshine. Now, as you look outside the window, and we are in the UK, it is important to note the likelihood that outside there isn't much in the way of sun, especially in the winter and especially at latitudes of 35 degrees north (the UK is about 51 degrees).
It is therefore recommended by nutritionists and the academic community at large, that other sources of vitamin D are found especially in the winter, especially at our latitude. It has been demonstrated that athletes in countries, particularly in the north, have shown signs of Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D has fortified already into some dairy and cereal products, as it has been recognised in the prevention of other disorders such as rickets, as vitamin D please an important role in bone turnover.
Athletic benefits of vitamin D
For the athlete and recreational sportsperson alike much higher dosages of vitamin D are recommended, as vitamin D plays a multitude of roles in the body that are essential for us as sportspeople to perform at our optimum level. Vitamin D is a key player in gene expression and has been cited as a controller of over 1000 genes involved in growth, immune function and the synthesis of protein in the body. As stated earlier it is important for bone turnover, studies have shown an increased risk of stress fractures in the physically active correlated with low levels of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency also has been associated with increases in musculoskeletal pain and muscle weakness; a recent study demonstrated that those with low Vitamin D concentrations suffered from an increase in non-specific musculoskeletal pain. In another study, Vitamin D supplementation improved back pain in patients starting out with Vitamin D deficiency. Recently more studies have been undertaken with regard to athletic performance. Vitamin D status has indeed been reported to be correlated with performance indicators for sport, such as jump height and power output, with those deficient in Vitamin D under performing compared to their higher status counterparts. Physiologically the causation of these results was stated to be the effects that Vitamin D has on autocrine function, or in short, the impact vitamin D has on growth factors that are used for muscle development and function.
Vitamin D and the immune system
Vitamin D has long been known to play an important role in the immune system, including controlling inflammatory response (which may aid recovery and joint soreness), as well as influencing the production of structures in the body that are used to fight and kill a wide variety of viral and bacterial infections.
Although an RDA has yet to be established for athletes, higher dosages have demonstrated positive results in the studies mentioned above. Personally, I use Vitamin D, particularly in the winter months as I find this also improves my mood state and I am less prone to catching bugs, despite the fact I work in a clinical environment in a hospital. I use PurePharma D3 capsules, each capsule gives me 2500IU (IU is the International Unit, 1 IU is the amount of a substance that is required to be effective in the body, the studies above have shown effects with around twice this amount per day) and the benefits this gives me, with no associated risk means with that with Vitamin D I quite happily play the more the merrier Card.
We at CSN do rate the PurePharma’s products very high as well as the Reflex Vitamin D they are some of few brands that only use the highest quality certified ingredients and high-level manufacturing processes, to ensure the quality of their products are second to none.