Benefits of Vitamin D in Performance and Immunity

Known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D plays many important roles in maintaining a healthy body and athletic performance. It can be produced by sunlight exposure, food or supplementation.

Supplementation is especially important for those who live in climates with limited sunlight (think fall and winter months). 

In fact, 42% of the U.S. population is deficient. 

Fun fact: Vitamin D is slightly different from other vitamins because it is also considered a steroid hormone. This means Vitamin D plays a role in supporting healthy estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels. Recent research also shows a correlation between Vitamin D levels and adrenaline and dopamine production which play vital roles in mood and athletic performance. 

Vitamin D is also significant in …

  • A healthy immune system
  • Muscle recovery – support decreased recovery time
  • Building new muscle – Vitamin D levels may support increased strength
  • Balance & coordination
  • Stress reduction
  • Brain function
  • Sleep 
  • Longevity (aka lifespan)
  • Absorption of calcium and magnesium

Vitamin D may also help prevent diseases such as type II diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and dementia as individuals with these diseases tend to have chronic low levels. 

Foods that contain Vitamin D

The recommended daily value (DV) of Vitamin D is 600IU for children and 800 IU (20 mcg) for adults.

  1. Salmon
    1. 3.5oz of wild caught contains 988 IU of Vitamin D (124% DV)
    2. Farm raised salmon contains less, 526 IU (66%)
  1. Cod Liver Oil
    1. 448IU per tsp (56% DV)
    2. Also contains Omega 3’s and Vitamin A
  1. Egg Yolks
    1. 37 IU of Vitamin D (5%)
    2. Levels of Vitamin D depend on the amount of sun exposure chickens receive and if it is in their feed. This means getting free range eggs will have higher levels of Vitamin D. SOme brands will also market eggs as containing higher levels of Vitamin D on the carton.
  1. Mushrooms
    1. 3.5 oz ( 1 ½ cups) contain 130-450 IU depending on variety and growing practices
    2. Contain D2 which is preformed Vitamin D. The body will still need to convert to D3, the active form.
  1. Fortified Foods
    1. Cereal, oatmeal, orange juice
      1. Brands will let consumers know if a product has been fortified with Vitamin D by placing it on the label
      2. Vitamin D does not naturally occur in these foods, so make these a last resort option

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *