Vitamin D has been a “hot topic” for a number of years, and more physicians are having their patients get their blood levels of vitamin D tested to ensure that they are not vitamin D deficient. 

Vitamin D is a required nutrient, but it also is a secosteroid hormone (a secosteroid has a “broken ring” on its structure). The basic definition of a hormone is that it is produced in one area of the body but elicits its effects on another part of the body. 

Vitamin D is synthesized in the liver and the kidneys. The more active forms of vitamin D are synthesized in the kidney (calcitriol or 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, the most active form); however, the vitamin D that is synthesized in the liver (25-hydroxyvitamin D or calcidiol) is the form measured in the blood because of its longer half-life. This means that it stays in the blood longer than the other forms of vitamin D and, thus, can be better measured.

Vitamin D plays a major role in muscle function and thus can affect physical performance. Based on the aforementioned research and review article, it seems that vitamin D

supplementation in athletes who are diagnosed as having vitamin D deficiency can improve vitamin D status and physical performance. Conversely, caution must be taken in that vitamin D supplementation in individuals who are not deficient will likely not result in improved exercise performance.

Here’s How Vitamin D Can Give Your Workout A Boost, Especially Your Cardiovascular Fitness

It’s not just exercise that can help you increase your stamina and capacity to exercise more, the right fuel can be more important to push your limits. While eating an appropriate amount of fat, carbs and protein is the key, vitamins and minerals play a critical role as well. 

What’s equally important is to find the energy and motivation to get up and get into a workout. The good news is researchers have found that vitamin D can act as a pre-workout supplement giving you enough stimulation to skip the expresso shot or pre-workout powder for that energy zing you’re searching for.

Vitamin D is not just healthy for your bones but there is increasing evidence that it plays a role in other areas of the body including the heart and muscles, found a recent study. 

"Our study shows that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with better exercise capacity," said Dr. Amr Marawan, assistant professor of internal medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia, US.

"We also know from previous research that vitamin D has positive effects on the heart and bones. Make sure your vitamin D levels are normal to high. You can do this with diet, supplements, and a sensible amount of sun exposure."

Where to get vitamin D

The study also didn’t answer what the best sources of vitamin D are

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, develops naturally in your body in response to sun exposure.

It’s also found naturally in some foods, such as fish and egg yolks.

While your body can make vitamin D naturally, it can only do so during adequate sun exposure. That amount of sunlight is difficult to find in winter months and in latitudes above the 37th parallel north (a line that runs roughly through the United States from San Francisco to New York).

In these months, it’s better to look for the vitamin in fatty fish, including tuna, mackerel, and salmon, as well as egg yolks, fortified cereal and milk, and cheese. Some leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, are also good sources of vitamin D.

Supplements can be used to boost your levels of this important vitamin, too.

“The daily recommended dose is 400 to 800 international units (IU),”. “There are some studies supporting higher doses up to 4,000 IU for better cardiovascular health, but more studies didn’t support this. There is no agreement that higher vitamin D supplements will have a better outcome.”

But you have to use caution with supplements.

Too much vitamin D can lead to toxicity. Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include vomiting, nausea, and weakness.

“There’s nothing that substitutes for what your mom told you: Eat healthy, exercise, and listen to your body,” says Dr. Nicole Weinberg, a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. “It’s probably not as complicated as we’re trying to make it.”

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