Geriatr Psychol Neuropsychiatr Vieil. 2016 Apr 21. [Epub ahead of print]
Walrand S. Inra, UMR 1019, UNH, CRNH Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France.
Beyond its traditional biological roles on bone health, extra-skeletal effects of vitamin D are currently under extensive research. The expression of the vitamin D receptor in most tissues has also strengthened the argument for its multiple functions. Among these, the effect of vitamin D on the mass and muscle performance has long been discussed.
In ancient Greece, Herodotus recommended the sun as a cure for the "weak and soft muscles" and former Olympians exposed to sunlight to improve their physical performance.
In 1952, Dr Spellerberg, a sports physiologist, has conducted an extensive study on the effects of UV irradiation on the performance of elite athletes. Following the significant results of this investigation, the scientist has informed the Olympic Committee that UV irradiation had a "persuasive" effect on physical performance and motor skills. These data are consistent with many subsequent studies reporting an improvement in physical activity, speed and endurance in young subjects treated with UV or with supplements containing vitamin D. Additional observation indicates a significant effect on muscle strength, particularly in the lower limbs. Concerning the mechanisms involved, some recent fundamental studies have shown that vitamin D exerts some molecular effects within the muscle cell. Specifically, a regulatory effect of vitamin D on calcium flux, mineral homeostasis and signaling pathways controlling protein anabolism has been reported in muscle tissue. Several epidemiological studies show that low vitamin D status is always associated with a decrease in muscle mass, strength and contractile capacity in older people. Vitamin D deficiency accelerates muscle loss with age (sarcopenia), and therefore leads to a reduction in physical capacity and to an increased risk of falls and fractures. In contrast, an additional intake of vitamin D in older people significantly improves muscle function and physical performance.
- History of Vitamin D from 500 million years ago to orthopaedic practice today – 2019
- Vitamin D – millions of years more ancient than Calcium – Jan 2016
- Vitamin D history back to Egyptians and fortification - Aug 2011
- More sunshine: more teeth (1862), fewer cavities (1934) – Oct 2011
- Vitamin D supplementation improves muscle strength in healthy adults – meta-analysis of 6 RCT Aug 2014
- Sun and UV
- SOLAR ultraviolet radiation and vitamin D: a historical perspective – Aug 2007
- Elite Athletes Try a New Training Tactic: More Vitamin D - WSJ Jan 2016
- The Importance of Vitamin D for Athletes - 2015
- NFL team less likely to cut players with high levels of vitamin D – Feb 2015
Overview Sports and vitamin D has the following summary
Athletes are helped by vitamin D by:
- Faster reaction time
- Far fewer colds/flus during the winter
- Less sore/tired after a workout
- Fewer micro-cracks and broken bones
- Bones which do break heal much more quickly
- Increased VO2 and exercise endurance Feb 2011
- Indoor athletes especially need vitamin D
- Professional indoor athletes are starting to supplement with vitamin D or use vitamin D beds
- Olympic athletes have used UV/vitamin D since the 1930's
- The biggest gain from the use of vitamin D is by those who exercise less than 2 hours per day.
- Reduced muscle fatigue with 10,000 IU vitamin D daily
- Muscle strength improved when vitamin D added: 3 Meta-analysis
- Sports and Vitamin D category