The importance of vitamin D in ensuring bone health has long been recognised, but increasingly we are seeing research show the correlation between healthy vitamin D levels and reduced muscle fatigue.

The role of vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for bone health, as it ensures your body can absorb vital minerals, like calcium. It's also important for keeping teeth, muscles, heart and lungs healthy and it helps fight infection.

It’s an essential chemical manufactured by your body and stored in the liver. It’s the only vitamin to be converted into a hormone when activated for use and is a fat-soluble vitamin.

Vitamin D deficiencies

It’s quite common in the Northern hemisphere for many of us to be low in vitamin D. With the sun being the only natural source, it can be hard to get enough sunshine, especially during the winter months.

A vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis (fragile bone with a higher chance of fracturing) or osteomalacia (softening of bones also resulting in fractures)

How does vitamin D help with muscle recovery?

Recent studies have shown that there is a correlation between Vitamin D, specifically 25(OH)D, and muscle recovery.

The studies have concluded that having higher levels of vitamin D, in particular prior to exercising, results in less muscle fatigue and better recovery post-exercise.

What does this mean if you exercise regularly?

A good place to start would be determining what your vitamin D levels are. You can either assume, as you live in the UK, that you are deficient in vitamin D or you can get it tested.

If low or deficient be sure to increase your intake of vitamin D.

This can be done by ensuring that your diet includes foods like:

  • oily fish — like salmon, mackerel, and sardines
  • red meat
  • eggs

Vitamin D food sources — eggs

Or you can start taking vitamin D supplements to increase your levels. You can check your vitamin D levels at home as part of a vitamins blood test.

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References

Al-Eisa, E. S., Alghadir, A. H., & Gabr, S. A. (2016). Correlation between vitamin D levels and muscle fatigue risk factors based on physical activity in healthy older adults.Clinical interventions in aging,11, 513.

Barker, T., Henriksen, V. T., Martins, T. B., Hill, H. R., Kjeldsberg, C. R., Schneider, E. D., Dixon, B. M., & Weaver, L. K. (2013). Higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations associate with a faster recovery of skeletal muscle strength after muscular injury.Nutrients,5(4), 1253–1275. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5041253