How important is vitamin D3 for athletes? Let's put it this way: this important training component, whether included as a supplement or a change in lifestyle, can make the biggest difference in your performance and overall health. But, before we can discuss the value of vitamin D3 for training, it's important to define the oft-confused difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3.
What's the Difference Between Vitamin D and D3?
Vitamin D, a complex vitamin needed by the human body, is available in two forms: ergocalciferol (vitamin D or D2) and cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3). Vitamin D2 is produced by plants or mushrooms and is available through foods like juice, milk and cereal. Vitamin D3 is produced when the body synthesizes sunlight on its surface, which happens when you are exposed to UVA and UVB rays. You can also obtain vitamin D3 through animal products or in D3 liquid or pill form.
Vitamin D3 for Athletes
While we know vitamin D3 is important for your overall health, it's especially important if you are training. Here's why:
It brings you optimal skeletal and muscle function. The link between vitamin D/D3 and optimal skeletal and muscle function is proven by science.
It may improve athletes' sprint times. During the 1950s, certain European countries put their athletes in front of sunlamps to improve athletic performance by increasing vitamin D levels. The runners who sat in front of the lamps improved their 100 metre by 7.4 percent, compared with a 1.7 percent improvement by those who didn't.
It has been related to better oxygen uptake. There’s some suggestion that sunnier months and locations (where more vitamin D3 is produced in people naturally) are linked with an improved oxygen uptake.
Vitamin D lowers your risk of bone fracture. Calcium, as we know, is a necessary component for healthy bones but, what many athletes aren't aware of is that vitamin D or D3 is necessary for the absorption of calcium. More vitamin D therefore results in a lower risk of bone fracture. Collarbone fractures - a common injury among cyclists and triathletes - can potentially be avoided by more time in the sun or a vitamin D3 supplement.
It may affect your overall performance as an athlete. Vitamin D deficiency is naturally more common in the winter months, and you may notice your performance suffering. In one study, ballet dancers took 2,000 IU vitamin D3 supplements for four months, during which they performed better and also suffered fewer injuries.
Health Problems Related to Vitamin D Deficiency
Several studies are now linking a lack of sun exposure, better known vitamin D deficiency, to health problems and diseases, some of which include:
Dementia: A 2014 study found that something as simple as a vitamin D deficiency in older adults can double the risk of developing certain forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease.
Prostate Cancer: Another 2014 study published in the Clinical Cancer Research Journal found a link between low vitamin D levels in the blood and advancing prostate cancer.
Heart Disease: According to research published in the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session, a lack of vitamin D has also been linked to severe cases of heart disease.
There you have it: several incredible, and proven, reasons why vitamin D3 is so important for your training as well as your overall health. Shop our Vitamin D3 supplements now, and get to your best athletic performance sooner.