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Is vitamin D important for athletes?

  • 6 min read


Vitamin D is an important nutrient that you can get from exposure to the sun. Researchers determined that vitamin D is essential in the functionality and growth of bones, muscles, and organs. 

Many professional athletes use vitamin D supplements to improve their athletic performance. That even goes for athletes in countries that have sunny weather! 

Vitamin D is often partnered with calcium as they are both essential for bone health. Aside from this, recent studies show that enough vitamin D level is also important for other functions of the body.

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Now, the question is, what are vitamin D’s benefits that help in improving your fitness? In this article, we’ll discuss its benefits, and how it affects a person's athletic performance.

    What are the benefits of vitamin D?

    Here are some of vitamin D’s benefits to the body: 

    • Promotes healthy bones
    • Supports good immune function
    • Reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis
    • Decreases the chance of developing heart diseases
    • Might support weight loss
    • Lowers the risk of diabetes
    • Protection from certain cancer types

    Does vitamin D give you energy?

    Feeling a lack of energy or consistently tired is a common symptom of vitamin D deficiency. This is because the vitamin seems to help mitochondria— a part of the cell that generates energy—use oxygen to power different body parts, including muscles.

    Researchers suspected that the lack of vitamin D may impact mitochondrial function. When this happens, it causes fatigue.

    How does vitamin D affect athletic performance? 

    vitamin D affect athletic performance

    Vitamin D plays an essential role in the body. Evidence shows it has a significant impact on the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In some cases, low levels of vitamin D can negatively affect the immune system, muscle function, stress fractures, and injury risk. 

    This means that athletes should have a sufficient level of vitamin D to make sure they are in top condition. But, the main issue here is the availability of vitamin D. 

    Since sunlight is the vitamin's main source, insufficient exposure to the sun can cause problems. This is prevalent, especially during the winter season. 


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    Leading nutritionist Dr. Graeme Close pointed this out in his paperback in 2012. He measured the vitamin D levels of a group of athletes as a basis for his study. Based on his research, the optimal vitamin D level for athletes should be at 100nmol/l. 

    The result was surprising. Only one out of the 61 athletes reached the optimal levels of vitamin D needed by the body. In conclusion, vitamin D affects athletics performance depending on its level.

    Does vitamin D help muscle recovery?

    According to *The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH), vitamin D can aid in muscle recovery after an intense workout. They also indicated that it may also prevent muscle damage. 

    An intense exercise can often cause muscle damage, such as muscle strain and inflammation. A perfect example of this is when you do hiking. After walking for so long, your muscles start to swell and may not be able to exert as much force. But, after a few days, the muscles recover and regain their full strength. 

    They found out that those with higher levels of vitamin D  were able to regain their strength faster. They also concluded that the vitamin may also protect against muscle weakness caused by muscle damage.

    Aside from increasing the levels of your vitamin D to improve your athletic performance, you can also use kinesiology tapes.. 

    Improve your physical performance!

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    One of the benefits of kinesiology tape is providing support for your muscles and joints and reducing the risk of injury. This is why kinesiology taping alongside vitamin D may help propel your performance further! 

    But not all tapes are created equal! 

    When you’re using kinesiology tape, it’s essential to consider the quality of the kin tape. This is for the sake of your skin! 

    Taping is not just about muscle and joint support! It should also be protecting your skin from unwanted rashes and allergies. Make sure you protect your skin by avoiding low-quality adhesives!

    This is what Tape Geeks is all about! 

    Enjoy a great stick without making your skin sick with Tape Geeks kinesiology tape! TG tapes are hypoallergenic, zinc-free, and latex-free. 

    They’re manufactured in an ISO-certified and dermatologist-approved factory in South Korea. It's known for its consistent and reliable adhesives.

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    How much vitamin D should an athlete take?

    A high-quality vitamin D dose of 5,000 IU is a good investment in your health and a safe level for athletes.

    Getting the right vitamin D level, especially for athletes, is essential. 

    There's a significant relationship between vitamin D and the function of the body. It helps avoid stress fractures, muscle injuries, sick days, and long-term disorders. 

    Athletes who are vitamin D deficient and who train for lengthy periods of time are at a higher risk of skeletal injuries, autoimmune illnesses, and arthritis.

    How much vitamin D do you need?

    The US Dietary recommendations for vitamin D levels for adults are 600 IU. But, extensive evidence indicates that this figure below what most people need for good health, 

    Many research shows that at least 4,000 IU of Vitamin D per day is best. Additionally, other studies say it should be around 10,000 IU during the winter months only.

    Consuming more than 10,000 IU per day during warm weather may lead to Vitamin D overdose.

    Vitamin D overdose with symptoms is uncommon. The symptoms may include mental disorientation, nausea, and vomiting. Be sure to check with your doctor first to make sure you prevent this from happening.

    How do you get more vitamin D?

    get more vitamin D through sunlight

    The sun, good food, and supplements are all good sources of vitamin D. One of the best sources of its for the human body is the sun. 

    Time of day, geographical location, skin color, and sunscreen use all have an impact on how much vitamin D a person's body can produce from sun exposure.

    And for those who don’t go out often,  you can get vitamin D  from the food you eat. Vitamin D is in eggs, sardines, and salmon. Most milk, as well as some yogurt and breakfast cereal brands also have vitamin D.

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    What are the effects of Vitamin D deficiency?

    Vitamin D deficiency is simply the lack of vitamin D in the body. 

    Vitamin D is unusual in that it is produced by your skin utilizing sunshine. People with fair skin convert sunlight into vitamin D more efficiently compared to people with a darker complexion. People under 50 are also better at converting vitamin D compared to folks aged 50 or older. 

    For most people who were more exposed to the sun, like working in sunny fields, vitamin D deficiency is uncommon. While those who work in offices are more vulnerable to having vitamin D deficiency. 

    Non-white populations are more vulnerable to deficiency. This is because pigmentation reduces vitamin D production in the skin by approximately 90%. 

    Vitamin D deficiency is also common in patients having intestinal issues. This is because of the limit in fat absorption as well as those with kidney or liver ailments. 

    Furthermore, several drugs impair vitamin D availability or activity. Even healthy people are at an increased risk of vitamin D insufficiency as they get older.

    What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency?

    signs of vitamin D deficiency fatigue

    Vitamin D deficiency in children can cause muscle weakness as well as stiff and aching muscles.

    In adults, vitamin D deficiency is less noticeable. The following are possible signs and symptoms:

    • Fatigue
    • Bone ache
    • Muscle cramps, muscle weakness, or muscle pains
    • Mood swings, such as depression

    Is it bad to get too much vitamin D?

    It is not suggested that anyone consume more than 10,000 IU per day without consulting a doctor, as toxicity symptoms may occur. 

    Overdose symptoms include mental disorientation, nausea, and vomiting. But, these are uncommon. A high-quality vitamin D dose of 5,000 IU is a good investment in your health and a safe level for athletes.


    This article has been a comprehensive overview of vitamin D and how it affects your athletic performance. We’ve discussed its benefits, sources, and what would happen if you have low levels of this nutrient.

    Vitamin D is essential in keeping yourself fit. It is necessary in keeping your bones and muscles strong. It also helps in keeping you away from cancer and other cardiovascular diseases. 

    This way you have to make sure you're getting enough vitamin D from your diet, supplements, and sunlight.  But, you have to keep in mind the health concerns of prolonged UV ray exposure if you're getting most of your vitamin D from the sun. 

    If you think you might be deficient in vitamin D, talk to your doctor about obtaining a blood test to see if your levels are normal. They can give you the best recommendations on how to approach treating vitamin D deficiency.

    If you're looking for more information about other body aches and pains, we have a whole blog that you can check out. 

    Check out our blog posts about different ways to tape yourself and improve your athletic performance. These topics include how to make different tape cuts as well as seven ways to improve athletic performance

    Thanks for reading!

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    Vitamin D Can Help in Muscle Recovery*