More and more you’ll hear people talk about the importance of getting your daily dose of vitamin D as the days grow shorter and colder. But how much do you know about vitamin D and what it does to keep you functioning as healthy as can be?
Vitamin D Benefits
Vitamin D benefits your body in many ways, keeping your bones and teeth healthy, as well as your muscles and strength. The good news it’s easy to come by. But are natural sources enough?
A healthy, balanced diet is always the first port of call when ensuring that your body is getting all the essential vitamins that it needs. For vegans, it can be that little bit more difficult sourcing all the nutrients your body wants when so many of them come from meat and dairy. But not all. Good natural sources of vitamin D include fish, orange juice, certain dairy products, cereals, cheese and egg yolks. The list goes on.
So if vitamin D is so widely available, why are vitamin D supplements such a big deal?
Where can I get vitamin D from?
It’s not just food that you get vitamin D from, it’s also available for free from the sun. In fact, much of our daily intake is from sunlight. If you’re reading this in the sunny English colder months, however, then you will have a good idea why you may need to find ways to compensate for a deficiency. This is doubly true for vegans.
A well-balanced diet and quality nutrition are vital for your overall health and recovery following exercise. Your body uses up the energy stores acquired from your consumption of protein and carbs during exercise and works harder to process your intake of vitamins.
To protect bone and muscle health, everyone needs vitamin D equivalent to an average daily intake of 10 micrograms. If you are unsure whether you are getting the right amount of vitamin D, the following may be signs that you may be in need of more:
Vitamin D deficiency
Change in mood
A vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased symptoms of depression, according to a new study.
Vitamin D has been associated with dopamine levels, a chemical linked to mood, in the brain as well as health benefits for the bones, muscles and heart.
Sure, after exercise you’re bound to feel fatigue, but if you’re feeling excessively tired or weary when you haven’t been exercising, a lack of vitamin D may be the reason why.
Vitamin D is good for strengthening bones and a lack of vitamin D has been proven to worsen symptoms of osteoporosis.
Because of its effect on your immune system, a lack of vitamin D could be a reason why you’re more susceptible to those bugs going around at work.
This doesn’t just apply for when you’ve been weightlifting; if you experience subtle to extensive pain in your muscles it may be from a vitamin D deficiency rather than lifting weights.
If your body temperature is at a normal level and you are sweating or glowing while maintaining a steady level of activity, a vitamin D test is advisable.
Vitamin D Research
Further to this, new research has since identified the relationship between vitamin D, sleep, and pain. The study, published in the Journal of Endocrinology, was carried out by researchers from the Department of Psychobiology at the Federal University of São Paulo in Brazil. Evidence suggests that vitamin D plays a role in biological processes including sensory signals and sleep regulation. The research also concluded that vitamin D plays a big part in bone metabolism.
While pain is linked to interrupted sleep, it is still inconclusive how vitamin D affects pain. Two of the ways vitamin D supplements could potentially impact on your sensitivity to pain is by affecting your sleep and via its role in countering inflammation. In acting against inflammation, vitamin D stimulates the anti-inflammatory response produced by your immune cells. This reduces your sensitivity to pain, which can also help you to sleep better.
Since it is difficult for people to meet the 10 microgram recommendation from consuming foods naturally containing or fortified with vitamin D, you should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D in autumn and winter.
Vegans, if you’re concerned about whether or not you are getting the right amount of vitamin D, or have any of the aforementioned symptoms despite an otherwise healthy diet, Myprotein’s Vegan Vitamin D3 could give you the peace of mind knowing you are getting what your body needs in order to function and train effectively.