Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D acts as a hormone in the body. Vitamin D receptors also play a vital role in muscle metabolism, which is another reason why vitamin D is essential for muscle function and muscle recovery. Furthermore, according to research conducted by the Medical University of Graz, vitamin D helps regulate and strengthen the body’s immune system.
7 Potential Benefits of Vitamin D
- Strengthens Bones
- Aids Muscle Recovery
- Increases Strength
- Boosts Testosterone
- Reduces Depression
- Supports Muscle Growth
- Boosts the Immune System
Vitamin D is synthesized by the body using sunlight. It is for this reason that vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin.” Due to vitamin D’s rarity, it’s no surprise that the Nutrition Research journal reported that 42% of the US population has a vitamin D deficiency. This affliction rate makes vitamin D deficiency a silent epidemic.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin due to its role in the absorption of calcium and phosphate. Vitamin D is also a key component of bone metabolism, leading to the development and maintenance of healthy bones.
Vitamin D supplements are necessary because many people don’t get enough sunlight. Furthermore, only a limited number of foods provide us with adequate amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin D2 comes from plant-based foods such as mushrooms, and vitamin D3 comes from foods such as eggs and fish oil.
Testosterone and Strength
Research by the University of Southern California shows a strong inverse relationship between muscle fat percentage and Vitamin D status. Research indicates that as vitamin D levels go up, fat levels go down.
Furthermore, insufficient levels of vitamin D leads to more fatty muscle tissue in the body. Vitamin D counteracts this problem by reducing the amount of fat infiltration into the muscles.
Research published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease examined 116 healthy people. The study analyzed the effect of active vitamin D on muscle size and strength. After the study, researchers found that high levels of active vitamin D increased strength in both the upper body and lower body.
Muscle biopsies also found that women with low levels of body fat were less prone to vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, individuals with high amounts of lean muscle mass had higher levels of active vitamin D in their bodies.
An examination of the relationship between vitamin D and testosterone found that increasing vitamin D concentrations increased testosterone levels. Men who took a daily dose of 3,332 IU’s of vitamin D for a year experienced a 25.2% increase in testosterone compared to men who didn’t take vitamin D.
Note: IU stands for International Unit. One microgram of vitamin D equals 40 IU. IU is used by pharmacists to measure the potency, or biological activity of vitamin D because vitamin D exists in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.
Safety and Side Effects
Vitamin D toxicity is rare. As it stands, vitamin D has a safe upper limit of 4,000 IU per day. You would need to take over 50,000 IU per day for a long period of time to experience vitamin D toxicity.
However, taking too much vitamin D can lead to hypercalcemia, which is the accumulation of too much calcium in the body. This is dangerous because too much calcium can lead to a higher risk of heart and kidney damage.
The US Institute of Medicine recommends an average daily intake of 400–800 IU of vitamin D per day. The recommended daily vitamin D intake of 400–800 IU per day is considered low for adults. Hence, the need to supplement with vitamin D if you don’t get enough sunlight.
Research recommends moderate doses of vitamin D at about 1,000–2,000 IU per day. Furthermore, vitamin D3 is recommended over vitamin D2 as the body finds it easier to absorb vitamin D3.
Effectiveness of Vitamin D
Despite the benefits associated with vitamin D, most people still suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. If you don’t eat fish and you don’t get enough sunlight, vitamin D supplements are essential.
Increasing your intake of vitamin D will improve your strength, bone health, testosterone levels, and also reduce your risk of depression. With that said, vitamin D is a crucial supplement that is both essential and beneficial for the body.