Vitamin D supplements can help you exercise more
It's that dreaded time of year: the sun is setting earlier each day, leaving you with less time to soak up its rays and maintain a healthy level of vitamin D. For many who can't rearrange their schedules for the limited hours of sunlight, this time of year increases the likelihood of a vitamin D deficiency and the development of associated diseases and health complications.
Researchers from the Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh conducted a study on the effects of vitamin D supplements and found that it not only decreased the risk of heart disease but also helped participants exercise more strenuously while improving feelings of tiredness.
Through diet alone, it can be difficult to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D, but usually what's lacking from diets can be supplemented by the sun. After daylight savings time, this becomes increasingly challenging and doctors often recommend vitamin supplements to help prevent deficiency.
To ascertain the effects of vitamin D supplements, the Edinburgh researchers gave 13 healthy adults either a daily dosage of 50 micrograms of vitamin D or a placebo for two weeks. After the two weeks were over, the participants underwent a series of tests. The adults who had a daily dose of the supplement had lower blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which often causes high blood pressure. On average, they were able to cycle six and a half kilometers in 20 minutes, which improved from five kilometers from when they had first started the study.
"Our pilot study suggests that taking vitamin D supplements can improve fitness levels and lower cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure", said Dr. Raquel Revuelta Iniesta, co-author of the study. "Our next step is to perform a larger clinical trial for a longer period of time in both healthy individuals and large groups of athletes such as cyclists or long-distance runners".
This finding is one benefit on a long list of many for vitamin D supplements. Research has also found how it can help with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer's and weight gain.
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