Vitamin D is not just a sun-derived vitamin, but is a crucial steroid precursor that is transformed into one of the most potent hormones in the human body for strength, power, lung function and regulating gene expression in every organ system.
Athletes need Vitamin D.
Dr. Cannell has written quite extensively about the role of vitamin D in athletes.
See prior post: 'Roid Rage Vitamin D3 -- DO IT (Part I)
Don't miss Dr. T's recent post: Vitamin D Summary of Actions. SUPERB!
Vitamin D: Flu, Asthma, Bronchitis, H1N1 Protection
Swine Flu H1N1.
Worried? Don't be.
Baby wanna be a millionaire? Vitamin D3... just do it. Baby by me, 50 cents YO.
Many factors can predispose an individual to be immunocompromised and more susceptible to the flu or H1N1 or bronchitis:
--excessive physical training
--hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue
--VITAMIN D INSUFFICIENCY
--VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
--poor, unbalanced gut biofilms (read Dr. Ayers Cooling Inflammation)
--gluten/wheat, lectins, omega6 and associated inflammation
Vitamin D stores may be depleted under all the circumstances above.
For the past season, naturally, I've been a total ding dong, frequently skipping my vitamin D supplement and sunlight. Yeah missed a boatload of doses. (*haaa* Yeah, I am THE vitamin-D-fairy-godmother and I hand it out like candy... wtf I s*ck) So... Three weeks ago my asthma came back full force and within days I was in the middle of a bronchitis/coughing attack again with a fever for 2 days. Last episode was EONS ago. Couldn't shake it but after a boost of vitamin D via a modified Stoss protocol (20,000 to 50,000 IU for 3 days) that Dr. Cannell frequently discusses for prophylaxis or acute treatment of influenzae or other viral infections, my coughing and infection were completely gone. My cough was almost gone OVERNIGHT. On the other hand, Dr. Cannell talks about much higher doses. Since I was not deficient, just 'insufficient', I used a lower dose.
The bronchitis was entirely aborted, shortened to a few days not a few MONTHS or a few WEEKS like the normal course of chronic bronchial inflammation I had experienced annually in the past. I ran 13.1 miles a week later and was fine (though my power and pace s*cked). My ghetto batgrrrl picture wasn't so bad though *wink*. Vitamin D does a body better. My skin, hair, muscles, recovery, breathing and body fat are all far better now that I'm back on the program.
Prior post: Stoss protocol Vitamin D3 Nature's Antibiotic
Vitamin D deficiency and chronic lung disease. Gilbert CR, Arum SM, Smith CM. Can Respir J. 2009 May-Jun;16(3):75-80.
Vitamin D and respiratory health. Hughes DA, Norton R. Clin Exp Immunol. 2009 Oct;158(1):20-5. Review.
Vitamin D Associated with Fitness, Power, Strength and Lower Body Fat
Two research articles highlight the relationship between higher vitamin D levels and athletic performance. The first showed a positive relationship between higher VO2 max and higher blood vitamin D (p<0.05) in n=59 adolescent and young females. Incidentally, lower body fat (p<0.05) was associated with higher vitamin D levels.
The second study reviewed baseline vitamin D concentrations (which were LOW low low) in 99 female athletes age 12-14 yo and found "Jumping mechanography to measure muscle power, velocity, jump height, and Esslinger Fitness Index from a two-legged counter movement jump and force from multiple one-legged hops was performed. Body height, weight, and serum concentrations of 25(OH)D, PTH, and calcium were measured. RESULTS: Median serum 25(OH)D concentration was 21.3 nmol/liter (range 2.5-88.5 [median 8 ng/ml with range 1-35.4 ng/ml]) and PTH 3.7 pmol/liter (range 0.47-26.2). After correction for weight using a quadratic function, there was a positive relationship between 25(OH)D and jump velocity (P = 0.002), jump height (P = 0.005), POWER (P = 0.003), Esslinger Fitness Index (P = 0.003), and force (P = 0.05). There was a negative effect of PTH upon jump velocity (P = 0.04). CONCLUSION: From these data we conclude that vitamin D was significantly associated with muscle power and force in adolescent girls."
Association among cardiorespiratory fitness, body fat, and bone marker measurements in healthy young females.
Mowry DA, Costello MM, Heelan KA. Mowry DA, Costello MM, Heelan KA. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2009 Oct;109(10):534-9.
Vitamin D status and muscle function in post-menarchal adolescent girls.
Ward KA, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Feb;94(2):559-63.
Vitamin D Alters Gene Expression
Many components of our diet are in fact potent modulators of genetic expression. Vitamin D is among many. In a variety of clinical trials, vitamin D lowers CRP (inflammation), increases testosterone (I've seen it and HH reports his anecdotal experience here), thyroid hormone, and (in rats) raises estrogen. Is this helpful for athletes? There are many mechanisms by which vitamin D exerts benefits for athletes including improved breathing, lung function, oxygenation, immunity protection, muscle strength, endurance, muscle power and hormone optimization (e.g. the big 'T').
Micronutrients and amino acids, main regulators of physiological processes. Verheesen RH, Schweitzer CM. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Oct;73(4):498-502.
Human physiology is supposed to be a complex interaction of regulating processes, in which hormones, genes, their proteins and apoptosis are thought to play a dominant role. We hypothesize that regulation of physiological processes is mainly influenced by amino acids and micronutrients with hormones, proteins, apoptosis and gene modifications being their derivatives. Furthermore, we suppose that the cells power plant, the mitochondrion, is in fact an intracellular bacterium, living in absolute symbiosis. Because of its intracellular existence it depends on the host's micronutrients completely. Within the host these micronutrients regulate their own formation, degradation, uptake and excretion. Known deficiencies, such as iodine and vitamin D, affect billions of people. Many micronutrients neither have been investigated, nor have they been studied in relation to each other and solid data are not available. Optimal levels of many micronutrients and all amino acids are not known.
Amino acids, vitamins and minerals are capable of altering gene expression, inducing apoptosis and regulating chemical processes. It makes them highly attractive for creating better health, against low cost, as we have already proven in the case of rickets, cretinism and scurvy in severe deficiencies. By creating optimal living conditions and study mitochondria from a symbiotic point of view we suppose that diseases not only can be prevented, but the course of diseases can be altered as well.
Ask Your MD for A Blood Test
Tracking of blood vitamin D levels (known as [25(OH)D]) is necessary to make sure you have the optimal range, not too high and not too low. Other labs to track are calcium and magnesium (and PTH if you have plaque or chronic kidney disease). Supplementation with either over-the-counter Vitamin D3 or prescription ergocalciferol (which is inferior and should be avoided) is contraindicated if you have a condition called sarcoidosis or isolated hypercalcemia (high calcium).
With dose initiation or increases, the blood levels take about 4-6 wks to stabilize. Consider requesting a blood test to confirm the value (either self-directed ZRT at heartscanblog or the vitaminDcouncil.org).
Dr. Harris MD discusses the accuracy of the vitamin D tests available on the market. Don't be blinded by his scorching hot brilliance or body. Paleo nutrition blog: HERE and HERE.
Dr. Cannell MD advises goal serum vitamin D [25(OH)D] 60 to 80 ng/ml (or 150-200 nmol/L). Personally my breathing and hormones appear to me the most optimal at 70s ng/ml. The past year I checked the [25(OH)D] twice and it was not more than 60. Incidentally, I did not feel so 'right on' as compared to when I had levels in the 70s. Everyone perhaps owns a 'set point' and you might need to figure what that is for yourself depending on your athletic performance, pulmonary function, immunity, mood and other metrics.
Hopefully your doc will not ignore the healing power of diet and certain nutritional supplements like vitamin D. (bwt don't bring the below article in -- the suggested doses are pathetically low baby doses).
- Nutrition 101: physicians can no longer ignore the healing power of diet and nutritional supplements. O'Keefe JH. Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2008 Jun;6(5):593-6.PDF here.
Low Vitamin D = Low Strength
Low serum Vitamin D concentrations are independently associated with SARCOPENIA decreased muscle strength:
- Concomitant lower serum albumin and vitamin D levels are associated with decreased objective physical performance among Japanese community-dwelling elderly.
Kwon J, Suzuki T, Yoshida H, Kim H, Yoshida Y, Iwasa H. Gerontology. 2007;53(5):322-8.
- Relationship between muscle strength and vitamin D metabolites: are there therapeutic possibilities in the elderly?
Bischoff HA, Stähelin HB, Tyndall A, Theiler R.
Z Rheumatol. 2000;59 Suppl 1:39-41.
- Prevalence of sarcopenia and predictors of skeletal muscle mass in healthy, older men and women.
Iannuzzi-Sucich M, Prestwood KM, Kenny AM.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2002 Dec;57(12):M772-7.
- Effects of vitamin D supplementation on strength, physical function, and health perception in older, community-dwelling men.
Kenny AM, Biskup B, Robbins B, Marcella G, Burleson JA.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Dec;51(12):1762-7. [Vitamin D 1000 IU daily was not sufficient to statistically improve strength or perception]