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Beware of the Dark
Beware of the Dark
24 Jun 2019

With the light hours that were in abundance during summer, now a distant memory, how do we get our daily fix of Vitamin D?

What exactly is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, as well as having other multiple biological effects.

What are the benefits of taking Vitamin D?

  • The most important benefit of taking in vitamin D is its ability to absorb calcium which promotes bone growth.
  • Injuries are a common occurrence in ultra-athletes. The need to promote bone growth is also important, which is why taking in vitamin D can be beneficial for ladies and older competitors.

What foods are high in Vitamin D?

Besides the use of additional supplements that can be taken to boost your vitamin D intake, there are a few food types available that can be incorporated into your daily diet such as:

  • Fatty fish like Tuna/Mackerel and Salmon)
  • Dairy products such as orange juice and soy milk
  • Beef Liver

What happens if your Vitamin D intake is too low?

  • Potential symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean your intake of Vitamin D is too low
  • Even without some prevalent symptoms, having insufficient vitamin D can post some serious health risks
  • Low blood levels of vitamin D has been linked to an increased risk associated with cardiovascular disease

Potential Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

  • Getting sick or an increase in infection more often

One of vitamin D's most important roles is keeping your immune system strong so you're able to fight off viruses and bacteria that cause illness. It directly interacts with the cells that are responsible for fighting infection. If you become sick often, especially with colds or the flu, low vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor.

  • Being tired and Fatigued all the time

Feeling tired can have many causes but the lack of vitamin D is often overlooked as one of them.

  • Bone and Back Pain

Vitamin D improves your bodies absorption of calcium. A lack thereof may be a contributing factor to common bone and back ailments.


Recent studies have linked the lack of vitamin D to depressive moods and behaviour especially in older adults.

Bone Loss

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in calcium absorption and bone metabolism. Many older people who are diagnosed with bone loss believe they need to take more calcium. However, they may be deficient in vitamin D as well. Low bone mineral density is an indication that your bones have lost calcium and other minerals. This places older adults, especially women, at an increased risk of fractures.

Can Training and Exercise boost your vitamin D levels?

New research from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) suggested that participating in vigorous exercise has been linked to higher vitamin D levels and lowers heart disease risk.

Why is vitamin D really important for athletes?

Vitamin D plays an important role in an athlete’s health, training and performance. Not having enough of it can create problems such as an increased risk of acute illness, inflammatory injuries, stress fractures, including muscle pains. Athletes with a history of these issues may benefit from having their vitamin D levels assessed.

Sun exposure is also important to maintain sufficient levels of Vitamin D. As the darker months increase for those living in the Northern Hemisphere over winter, the intake and supplementation of Vitamin D becomes more important as most training is done indoors during this time.

We now see that during the winter season it is vital to take more cognisance of this important vitamin and incorporate it more frequently into our daily intake routine

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