Benefits of Vitamin D3 Supplements | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Benefits of Vitamin D3 Supplements

November 27, 2012 | Brian Lebo

Must See Nutrition Videos

Vitamin D3 supplements provide a form of vitamin D that is found in the human body. Vitamin D3 is produced when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light (like sunlight). You can also get it from certain foods, such as wild salmon, egg yolks, and fortified milk. Of course, Vitamin D3 can also be taken in supplement form. Since it can be difficult to get enough of it through sunlight and diet, doctors sometimes recommend such supplements.

Vitamin D3 has many roles in the body, including facilitating calcium absorption by the intestines, promoting bone growth and boosting the immune system. (Learn more about the Why Athletes Need Vitamin D.) The usual supplement dosage varies among adults, based on body mass (weight), amount of sun exposure, and level of deficiency. Consult your doctor before taking vitamin D3.

A few years ago, during a routine physical exam, a blood test revealed that I had a vitamin D deficiency. As you might have guessed, the exam was administered during the middle of winter, and I live in northeast Ohio. My doctor suggested a 1,000 IU vitamin D3 supplement, in addition to my daily multivitamin (which contains 600 IU vitamin D). Prior to my exam, I felt that my energy level had been a bit lower than normal, and I was experiencing somewhat of a plateau in my strength and conditioning (keep in mind, I'm very active). (Learn 5 ways to break through a plateau.) Although I realize this is anecdotal, within a few weeks after starting the supplementation, I felt more energized and stronger (I didn't really change any other component of my nutrition or training). Since then, I have shared my experience with scores of clients, of all ages, most of them athletes. Of those who have consulted with a physician and started taking supplemental D3, the vast majority have reported similar results, to some degree.

Here are more good reasons to consider a vitamin D3 supplement.

Health Benefits of Vitamin D3

  • Promotes calcium absorption
  • Helps build bones
  • Enhances muscle strength and function
  • Improves immune function
  • Boosts mood, energy level, and motivation
  • Contributes to nervous system function
  • May help defend against certain cancers and high blood pressure

Vitamin D3 and Athletic Performance

Considerable research links vitamin D3 to improved athletic performance, specifically in the areas of strength, speed, and balance. How much it might improve your performance depends on how deficient you are to begin with (but a surprising number of athletes have been found to be vitamin D deficient).

Vitamin D3 acts directly to increase protein synthesis in the muscles. Studies have found that vitamin D administration enhances cross-sectional growth of Type II muscle fibers and results in strength gains. (Find out more about muscle fibers.)

Other studies have found that vitamin D3 administration improves neuromuscular functioning, including balance, muscle strength, and reaction time.

Research has demonstrated an association between seasonal vitamin D3 level variations and athletic performance, with peak performance and trainability occurring during the summer months, when D levels are highest, followed by sharp declines in autumn and a low point in winter.

Finally, athletes who consumed calcium and vitamin D3 (in fat-free milk) after working out became stronger, gained more lean muscle mass, and lost more body fat than those who drank a carbohydrate drink after their workouts.

Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...
Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...
Must See
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,295
How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert
Views: 83,168
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 24,322,563

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,466
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,408
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,723
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,368
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,988,602
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,610
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,504
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,175,033

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Why You Can't Ignore Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition

The Best Post-Workout Supplements and Nutrition

Soy vs. Whey Protein

5 Rules You Must Know Before Taking a Fish Oil Supplement

Why You Need Vitamin D in Your Diet

The Best Time to Consume Creatine

Workout Supplements: Do You Really Need Them?

The 5 Essential Sports Supplements

6 Supplements That Power Quality Workouts

The Positive Side Effects of Creatine (Besides Building Muscle)

Creatine Supplements: Benefits, Concerns, Types and Dosage

Use Sodium Bicarbonate to Get More Out of Creatine

The Truth About Muscle-Enhancing Supplements

Should You Be Taking BCAAs?

L.A. Galaxy's Safe Supplementation for Soccer Players

3 Reasons Why You Should Take a Fish Oil Supplement

This Just In: Boost Your Workout With Peppermint

Why Creatine Is the Best Sports Supplement

3 Tips on Choosing the Best Post-Workout Creatine

4 Best Supplements for Football Players

Blueberry Supplements: Better Than Actual Blueberries?

7 Sketchy Marketing Phrases Used By Supplement Companies

DHEA Supplements: Should You Take Them?

The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements

How to Select a Healthy Protein Bar

Do Athletes Need Zinc Supplements?

Powder Hour: Is It Time to Add Protein Powder to Your Diet?

2 Safe Pre-Workout Supplements

Fuel for Thought: Gels, Bloks and Beans

What's Missing From the Female Athlete's Diet, Part 2: Iron

Should I Take Creatine?

4 Creatine Myths Exposed

EXOS Launches New Line of Supplements

7 Fiber Supplements: More Than Just For Weight Loss

HGH Use Among Teens on the Rise, According to Survey

ZMA: Is This Mysterious Supplement Right for You?

4 Muscle-Building Supplements That Don't Work

3 Supplements to Boost On-Ice Performance

Ask the Experts: Is Caffeine Safe for Athletes?

Demystifying Popular Smoothie Boosters

Make Sure You're Getting Enough Calcium

Can Baking Soda Improve Your Training Gains?

The One Thing You Need to Do to Build Muscle

The Powerful Health Benefits of Turmeric

Iodine: An Overlooked Essential Mineral for Female Athletes

7 Rules That Would End PED Use in Baseball Immediately