Few supplements can hold a light to the likes of Protein and Creatine when it comes to muscle building, in terms of muscle protein synthesis, total strength and power, these are the undisputed must have supplements.
So what about vitamin D?
Take vitamin D then, and you’ll be completely forgiven for thinking of bone health and sunshine. These are exactly what the bulk of the research out there supports, sunshine is an integral source of the vitamin, whilst vitamin D is key to the uptake of calcium and bone mineral density.
Multi-talented vitamin D
Some of you reading this may or may not know that vitamin D isn’t just linked to bone health now. Some compelling evidence by a multitude of researchers including Aranow, (2011) and Djukic et al. (2014) demonstrates that vitamin D is also an essential component of leukocytes, phagocytosis rates, intracellular killing rate and microglial cells, all of which are important in maintaining a healthy immune response.
And now… Muscle strength?
The rationale for this assertion is based on a review of 7 studies involving the data from 310 adults with an average age of 21-31, with 67% of the participants being female. Each individual was studied between 4 weeks and 6 months with a vitamin D dosage range of 4000 international units (IU) per day, to 60,000 IU per week.
Now although this is only one study, confounding variables have been factored and the researchers from Queen Mary University of London have been diligent in most areas that I can see, plus they recognise their limitations in that they can’t say how vitamin D may influence muscle power, endurance and maximal strength.
The studies findings
What they do say is this…
‘Vitamin D supplementation improves upper and lower limb muscle strength in a healthy, adult, athletic and non-athletic population between the ages of 18 and 40’ according to the original publication in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.
The studies demonstrating the most significant improvements in muscle strength saw participants consume a vitamin D dosage of 14,000 and 60,000 IU a week for a period of 4 to 6 months.
This is very interesting because previous research on vitamin D and muscle strength was performed in frail, vitamin D deficient elderly women, so this new evidence is very promising from both a health and fitness perspective.
Tomlinson, P, B., Joseph, C., and Angioi, M. (2015). Effects of vitamin D supplementation on upper and lower body muscle strength levels in healthy individuals. A systematic review with meta-analysis. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 18: 575-580