As I touched upon in a previous article concerning having your blood work done regularly, I found out in early 2016 that I was Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D plays a central role in energy levels, the immune system, and even muscle strength. If you aren’t already taking a multi-vitamin and covering your bases with proper mineral intake, it is common to eventually become Vitamin D deficient.
A lack of exposure to sunlight (which the skin absorbs Vitamin D through the UV rays) will cause such a deficiency. In my case, I work in an office all day and don’t get to spend too much time under the sun. Now, I am not going to sit here and write to you that supplementing on Vitamin D3 will boost your squat by 50 pounds in 3 months – but in terms of your overall plan for success on the platform, it never hurts to optimize anything you can do to promote faster recovery & better energy levels throughout your daily life.
Vitamin D3 Research
There are plenty of well-researched articles explaining the scientific backing of Vitamin D supplementation for athletes. So, let me cut the shit out by not pretending to be a scientific guru. Just tell you what results I’ve encountered since supplementing with Vitamin D since the start of this year.
Better energy levels after a certain amount of time. To be fair, I did also recently get a CPAP and directly address my sleep apnea. But I did start taking Vitamin D3 months prior to getting a CPAP. I was feeling a little bit more energy upon waking up. I would have to say the benefits of improved energy levels off D3 is somewhat passive and takes a month or two for any noticeable difference. Nothing will beat getting the proper hours of sleep necessary for adequate recovery – but if you are looking to make a small improvement in your overall energy levels with minimal effort, taking Vitamin D3 isn’t a bad idea.
In terms of the “muscle strengthening” effects of D3 that some articles purport. I honestly have to say that for me it wasn’t a deal-maker. Other things I adjusted (eating more carbs, going back up to the 242 lb weight class, etc.) had a much bigger impact on my strength progress this year and I can’t pinpoint anything to D3. Let’s be real, if D3 could show a strong correlation in strength gains, we would have all heard about it by now. Don’t expect any direct performance boost from Vitamin D3 for powerlifting.
The difference in immune strength is very noticeable. I’ve only been sick once this entire year – just a couple weeks ago, actually. While increasing my Vitamin D3 dose beyond what I usually took. My cold symptoms were kept mild and I did not have a miserable time being sick like others who had the same bug as me. For immune support, I found Vitamin D3 to be very good.
Recommended dosages range from 2,000 – 5,000 IU daily. Vitamin D3 supplements are very cheap and are made in gelcap form for easy consumption & absorption. I personally use the best-selling product (which I also believe is the cheapest) on Amazon:
My usual dose is 5,000 IU daily. On the days that I was sick, I increased my daily dose to 20,000 IU. It’s worth noting that you cannot overdose on Vitamin D and don’t experience any side effects. Any Vitamin D that the body does not use or absorb is simply out of your system via urine.
If you’re Vitamin D deficient, you really have to get on top of taking care of your health. Also, start taking a supplement right away to get your levels back to normal. In a sport where recovery is paramount to success in making progress. All the little things you can do to promote faster recuperation will add up. The benefit of getting over a cold & back to training sooner is alone worth taking an essential vitamin. Give this some thought and don’t overlook your mineral intake!