Most of us know that vitamin D comes from the sun and it’s good for your bones but research is showing that this fat soluble vitamin may play a crucial role in overall health, like preventing cancer and heart disease. For athletes, vitamin D has been shown to reduce stress fracture occurrence and prevent overuse injuries while decreasing muscle soreness after training. Interestingly, adequate vitamin D can also decrease your chance of coming down with a winter cold by supporting your immune system.
Since natural sources of vitamin D are limited to fatty fish and fortified milk, most of us rely on UV rays from the sun to convert cholesterol compounds in our skin into vitamin D precursors. However, researchers at Harvard claim that at latitudes above Georgia, not enough UV rays penetrate the atmosphere during the winter months for us to produce vitamin D. Fortunately, we can store some from the summer but even so, a lot of us are hiding from the sun in the summer from 10am to 3pm when UV rays are the strongest. Your safest bet is to get a blood test to determine your levels and appropriate supplementation. If that’s not possible, look for a D3 supplement of 1000IU, you may find you don’t get sidelined by that pesky cold or winter training wound this season.