The supplement industry is a multi-million dollar industry that consists of thousands of different products, intended to enhance life and prevent certain illnesses. With no regulation and control by the FDA, supplements can contain and claim whatever they like, as long as the statements are "truthful" and aren't "misleading". Within these guidelines, the supplement companies can claim ridiculous feats and say whatever they like about their products. Many of these supplements may not even contain the ingredients listed on the bottle, which is scary in its own context. Although many supplements may seem "too good to be true", recent research in kinesiology and nutrition has revealed new hope for the use of Vitamin D in daily life.
In recent years, Vitamin D has been one of the most researched areas in the field of nutrition. Vitamin D may be acquired by one of two ways: Through the ingestion of fortified cereals, fish, egg yolk, and yeast products, or from the sun (Hamilton & Chalabi, 2010). Living in the Midwest where we experience winters and less amounts of sun, it is hard for us to maintain the proper balance of sufficient Vitamin D stores in our bodies. Synthesizing Vitamin D from the sun requires extensive amounts of sun exposure, with risk of increasing skin cancer. The easiest supplementation for Vitamin D is by either taking a multivitamin with sufficient amounts, or by ingesting the proper foods.
The research on Vitamin D has mainly consisted of physiological balance, helping to explain the benefits of Vitamin D on the body on a molecular level. Vitamin D is believed to help enhance performance in the kidneys, bones, and intestines. It helps maintain calcium and phosphorus serum levels, which in turn increases the efficiency of the absorption in the intestine, and re-absorption in the kidney (Hamilton & Chalabi, 2010). Since Vitamin D plays a large role in the levels of calcium, it also affects skeletal muscle function, something of great importance to athletes (Hamilton & Chalabi, 2010). Recent studies have shown that even elite athletes, in this case elite female Australian gymnasts and Finnish female athletes, can be Vitamin D deficient (Lovell, 2008, Lehtonen-Veromaa, Mottonen, Irjala et al, 1999). Deficiency in such an essential vitamin has been liked to chronic disease such multiple sclerosis, type 1 and 2 diabetes, cancer, psychiatric illness, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular diseases (Lucas, Ponsonby, Pasco, Morley, 2008).
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for enhanced health and wellness for the general population as well as the athletic population. Although it is in the early stages of research and development, the use of this powerful vitamin has been documented and theorized by many. Research over the next upcoming years will reveal further evidence supporting Vitamin D and its benefits to health and wellness. It will only take time to see whether or not Vitamin D is the "miracle vitamin" of our time.
Hamilton, B., Chalabi, H., (2010). An Update for the Sports Medicine Practitioner. Sports Exercise Medicine. January 2010, (43):11-16.
Lovell G. (2008). Vitamin D status of females in an elite gymnastics program. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 2008. 18(2):159-161
Lehtonen-Veromaa M, Mottonen T, Irjala K, et al. (1999). Vitamin D intake is low and hypovitaminosis D is common in healthy 9-15-year-old Finnish girls. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999, (53):746-751.
Lucas, R. M., Ponsonby A., Pasco J. A., Morley R. (2008). Future health implications of prenatal and early-life vitamin D Status. Emerging Science. Vol. 66(12):710-720. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2008.00126.x
Lucas, Ponsonby, Pasco, Morley, 2008