Athletes regularly need supplements and nutrition to be in optimum shape. All these nutrients and supplements work concertedly to allow athletes to perform effectively in their sport. However, not every athlete has all the requisite nutrients. In fact, according to research, 40% of Americans are deficient in many of the vitamins which are extremely necessary for the sustenance of life and optimum physical performance.
One of the vitamins highlighted as being inherently ignored by many people in their healthy diet is Vitamin D. The article highlights the importance of this Vitamin to athletes.
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What Is Vitamin D?
Before deliberating on the role Vitamin D plays in the well-being and performance of athletes, it is essential to consider the science behind this Vitamin and understand what it is. Unlike many vitamins from dietary sources, Vitamin D is scarce in food, with only foods such as fatty fish, fish oil, margarine, and mushrooms containing the Vitamin, albeit in trace amounts. The best way to get Vitamin D is from exposure to sunlight and through Vitamin D Tablets.
Vitamin D, as obtained from the sun, is cholecalciferol and enters the body when the sun’s rays convert 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin to Vitamin D3. In this form, the Vitamin is usable in the body. Thus, the Vitamin can then be transported to the regions where it can be helpful.
Benefits of Vitamin D To Athletes
As with many other vitamins in the body, vitamin D plays a critical role, without which an athlete’s performance and physical capabilities may be grossly limited. Some of the essential benefits of Vitamin D are as follows.
1. Increase in Bone Density and Strength
When discussing bone density and strength, the most common mineral that comes to mind is calcium. However, calcium does not work in isolation when building bone density and strength. You need Vitamin D. Vitamin D facilitates efficient and expeditious absorption of calcium from the diet in the gut during the digestive processes. In addition, Vitamin promotes the health of the bones by regulating the quantities of phosphorus and calcium in the body. In doing so, the body keeps bone-related conditions such as rickets at bay.
Strong bones are significant for athletes regardless of the sport the athlete participates in. Strong bones ensure that the athlete enjoys freedom from stress fractures when they put a lot of pressure on their bones. Additionally, in instances of injury, as is typical for many athletes, they can recover quickly and get back on the field in no time, unlike in the cases where they have malnourished bones.
2. Muscle Strength
Vitamin D also contributes to muscle strength in people. According to research, vitamin D helps stimulate the genes in the body responsible for muscle strength and the expression of muscle fibers. By doing so, the muscles grow faster, evenly, and more robust. In addition, Vitamin helps in skeletal muscle rejuvenation and growth, especially after an injury. This helps to prevent muscular atrophy and the decline of muscle mass. Low muscle strength can disadvantage athletes, especially those involved in bodybuilding and other demanding sports. It may impede their performance and the ultimate success of their careers in the long run. Thus, athletes must check their Vitamin D levels regularly to avoid such occurrences.
3. Improvement of Heart Function
Vitamin D is instrumental in improving cardiac function in the body. Athletes with high Vitamin D levels can have an efficient blood circulation regime, which helps prevent high rates of cardiovascular disease. For athletes who regularly place high demands on their heart’s health through heavy exercise, a healthy heart goes a long way towards their longevity and the prosperity of their careers. As such, it is indispensable and vital for athletes to have high Vitamin D levels for this primary reason.
Vitamin D is crucial for regulating immunity and preventing inflammation of the tissues in the human body. The immunity in question is innate immunity that is not conditional on vaccination. By turning on the expression of broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptides, Vitamin D allows for the stimulation and strengthening of the innate immunity system.
The peptides are a crucial factor in the prevention of diseases. Cells of the innate immune system, such as monocytes, macrophages, and epithelial cells in the respiratory tract, secrete these peptides to facilitate efficient protection of the body from invasion by pathogens and disease-causing viruses. Preventing disease is essential for athletes as it ensures they are active and perform well throughout the sports season.
As seen above, athletes require high Vitamin D levels for their health as humans and their performance as sportspersons. For this reason, athletes should regularly monitor their Vitamin D levels and ensure that they consume foods rich in Vitamin D. In addition, they need to constantly be out in the sun to increase their body’s absorption of solar Vitamin D. Lastly, athletes should consider using Vitamin D tablets as part of their supplements.