In the past couple of years, vitamin D has received a lot of attention regarding how it impacts overall health. Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin, which encourages the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. It functions as a modulator for as many as 1,000 genes involved in cellular growth, immune function and protein synthesis as well as intestinal calcium absorption. Vitamin D is related to health and athletic performance through the following processes:
- Calcium homeostasis and bone health.
- Inflammatory modulation.
- Skeletal muscle function.
- Potential to impact health, training and performance of athletes.
People who are exposed to normal quantities of sunlight do not need vitamin D supplements because sunlight promotes sufficient vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Vitamin D conversion comes mainly from sunlight and happens around mid-day when the sun is highest overhead. Many people are out in the morning or evening but not as much during the lunch hour.
Anywhere from 5-30 min per day of sun exposure is suggested. The lighter the skin color one has, the less time is needed in the sun to absorb vitamin D; elderly people, as well as people with dark skin require longer exposure time and/or should consume extra vitamin D for optimal health.
The goal is to acquire 200 IU of vitamin D per day from food. Fatty fish (e.g., mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna) fortified milk, egg yolks, fortified orange juice and certain brands of margarine, yogurt and cereal are reputable sources for vitamin D.
Also, depending on the region you live in, vitamin D conversion during the winter months may be severely affected. Another contributing factor is the increased usage of sunscreen and the push to wear it at all times.
So get out and enjoy the sun correctly.Resource: NSCA Education