When you think of vitamin D, bone health may be the first thing that comes to mind. But in recent years scientists have drawn new connections between vitamin D levels and other aspects of human health.
Research has indicated that vitamin D not only helps our bones and teeth but helps protect us from chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Also, vitamin D plays a role in cell growth, the immune system, and in managing inflammation. Scientists have even drawn connections between vitamin D and elevated mood and reduced incidence of depression.
With an estimated one billion people considered vitamin D deficient, the International Journal of Health Sciences has declared vitamin D deficiency “an ignored epidemic.” The epidemic is particularly acute among people living in regions where sun exposure is limited or who have jobs or play sports that may preclude adequate daily sunshine — making proper nutrition and supplementation all the more important for maximizing health and performance in these populations.
Athletes and active people may have unique issues stemming from vitamin D deficiency, since being low in vitamin D has been shown to increase the risk of muscle injuries, stress fractures, and respiratory infections. Muscle strength and performance are also a part of the vitamin D equation. In fact, new research is connecting dots between adequate vitamin D levels and post-workout recovery, muscular strength, and body fat levels.