Why Vitamin D Is an Absolute Necessity for Athletes
Science has long known the benefits of vitamin D in assisting with calcium regulation and bone health, but did you know the latest research shows vitamin D plays a critical role in immune response and cell turnover and regeneration?
This is an important area of research that your orthopedic doctor in Atlanta should consider for athletes who are seeking relief for foot and ankle injuries.
Researchers are still working out all of the potential benefits of vitamin D, but with the information they now have, many a foot and knee doctor in Atlanta is recommending athletes increase their vitamin D intake. Here’s why:
Vitamin D Reduces Inflammation
Vitamin D inhibits inflammatory cascade. It does this by reducing proteins known to trigger inflammation. Some inflammation is actually a good thing. An intense workout causes micro tears in your muscles, so a little pain and inflammation after a workout is a sign that our muscles are healing. It’s that process that makes your muscles bigger and stronger, a sign that your hard work in the gym is paying off.
Acute inflammation can be an athlete’s first warning that there’s an injury. When you sprain an ankle, it swells up and motion is limited, in part due to inflammation. It helps prevent infection and is a sign your body is healing.
That said, chronic inflammation can contribute to a variety of health problems. Getting the right vitamin D supplement can help reduce the inflammation (and therefore some of the achiness) necessary for muscle growth, and it can also help alleviate chronic inflammation, protecting your health long term.
Vitamin D Helps Absorb Calcium
Calcium absorption helps bone development and growth. It also improves immune function and helps older athletes maintain strength and muscle mass.
Most people know that sunshine is a primary source of vitamin D. So it’s natural to assume that people in sunny locations get all of the vitamin D necessary for optimum performance. However, researchers are learning that’s not necessarily the case. Scientists have discovered deficiencies in populations in Australia and Hawaii. The research suggests that living near the equator in a place where clouds are far and few between, your body may not be producing as much vitamin D as you need to perform at your best.
More tellingly, researchers are discovering that vitamin D is common in athletes. This is one reason a foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta may ask several questions about the time you spend in the sun and whether athletes in their care are supplementing vitamin D production through their diet and vitamin regimen.
Experts recommend that athletes with stress fractures or other musculoskeletal pain carefully consider their vitamin D levels. A deficiency may be part of the problem, and supplements may be part of the solution.