For several years, it was believed that vitamin D only helps improve bone health by metabolizing calcium in your body. However, as the world evolved and people began spending more time indoors than outdoors, researchers found that vitamin D plays various other vital roles in the human body. Vitamin D is commonly associated with the sun, also called the sunshine vitamin.
Simply spending a few hours in the sun would not guarantee that your body produces vitamin D. There are a few factors to consider, including the time of the day. The mid-day is the best time to produce vitamin D, while the worst time is when your shadow is taller than your height. To learn about vitamin D’s role in recovery, consult with sports injury and performance grimes.
Role of vitamin D for athletes
Vitamin D is essential for athletes for a number of reasons.
- Bone health: Vitamin D strengthens bones and regulates growth and density, especially during injuries and recovery.
- Muscle function: Vitamin D can improve muscle function.
- Muscle repair and remodeling: Vitamin D can speed up your recovery from a sports injury when you exercise. It increases the speed of response from exercise.
- Immune function: Vitamin D develops a strong immune system and fights efficiently against diseases and injuries.
- Inflammation: Low levels of vitamin D can increase inflammatory markers in athletes.
- Iron deficiency: Research has shown a link between low levels of iron in the blood to low levels of vitamin D in the body.
What happens when there is a Vitamin D deficiency?
It is not uncommon for American athletes and the rest of the population to suffer a deficiency of Vitamin D, which you primarily receive via sunlight. Sunlight exposure in the Northern Hemisphere is limited due to shorter days and longer nights. Your body produces Vitamin D when it comes in contact with sunlight.
Vitamin D deficiency can result in bone health issues, such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Both conditions involve the weakening of the bones and result in an increased risk of bone injuries and fractures.
To prevent these conditions, it is essential to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Apart from the sun, you can obtain this essential nutrient from certain foods, such as fatty fish, dairy products, and supplements.
What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
Some common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in sportspersons and athletes include the following:
- Muscle weakness
- Bone pain
- Frequent injuries
- Slow recovery
- Decreased balance and coordination
- Increased susceptibility to illness
- Mood changes
- Decreased athletic performance