Fun in The Sun: Getting Vitamin D

The cold winter weather and increased cloudy days might keep us inside. Maybe you work in an office where you have little to no chance to get outside. Perhaps you are a student at a school that doesn’t have PE outside regularly.

I want to encourage you to get outside as much as you can. Vitamin D deficiency has gotten recent attention due to its importance in overall health. While Vitamin D is essential for immune function, heart, cardiovascular and brain function, I want to highlight the role of Vitamin D in athletic performance to motivate you to stop avoiding the sun and start embracing it.

Vitamin D plays a key role in the body by improving skeletal muscle development and muscle strength.

If you are looking to be the BEST athlete, you want to make sure that your Vitamin D status is optimal. Research shows that jump velocity and jump height are improved with adequate levels of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D status is also associated with muscle power and force in adolescent girls. Inadequate vitamin D status may result in fatigue which can negatively affect muscle strength and cause weakness. This means that without enough Vitamin D your performance is suffering.

It is estimated that 66% of North Americans are not receiving enough Vitamin D. In order to make sure you are not part of the 66%, make sure you get at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight daily by exposing your arms and legs.

If you have dark skin, you need more than 15 minutes of sun in order to generate adequate Vitamin D. Sunscreen also plays a role in preventing Vitamin D production, but most people do not apply it completely, so adequate Vitamin D production is still feasible.

When it isn’t possible to get the required amount of sun, a supplement is beneficial for reaching optimal status. Supplemental Vitamin D should be in the form of D3, but dosing can vary based on your current level and a practitioner can help you decide which dose is right for you.

If you want to set yourself up for success on the field, court or in the gym, make sure your Vitamin D status is optimal. This is a simple blood test that can be ordered by your doctor. For more information on Vitamin D, help interpreting your results or information on other vitamins or minerals of interest feel free to reach out to me to schedule a chat! Send me an email if you think you might be deficient. Joanna.Amstelveen.1@gmail.com

JOANNA AMSTELVEEN

MS,RD,CSSD,LDN


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