Vitamin D Pill Can Improve Exercise Performance

Taking vitamin D supplements can improve exercise performance and may also lower the risk of heart disease, according to a new study.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to insulin resistance and diabetes, explained lead study author Dr. Emad Al-Dujaili. The current research suggests that supplementation can not only help cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure, but also may improve physical capacity during high-exertion exercises like cycling.

The study included 13 healthy adults who were given 50 grams of vitamin D per day or a placebo for two weeks.

The adults taking vitamin D had lower blood pressure than participants taking the placebo, and they also had lower levels of cortisol - a stress hormone - in their urine. The vitamin D group also performed better on cycling fitness tests than the subjects not taking vitamin D.

A 'silent syndrome'

Lack of vitamin D can be a "silent syndrome," the authors stated, as there are often no symptoms.

Past research had shown that vitamin D deficiency is closely associated with glucose metabolism - and even certain cancers.

While vitamin D is synthesized in the body through exposure to sunlight or through diet, most people don't have sufficient levels.

Since the current study suggests vitamin D may play a larger role in cardiovascular health than previously thought, the authors hope to conduct more research on how the vitamin affects fitness levels.

"Our next step is to perform a larger clinical trial for a longer period of time in both healthy individuals and large groups of athletes such as cyclists or long-distance runners," said co-author Dr. Raquel Revuelta.

Source: Society for Endocrinology

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