Vitamin D deficiency can negatively impact your athletic performance. Here’s how to get the D you need each day, whether you’re at home or away.

Research shows that vitamin D is essential to help ward off a host of health ailments—including heart trouble. Another good reason to pump up the vitamin D: A deficiency can hinder your athletic performance, according to a review in the journal Nutrients. Other research has shown that men with higher levels of vitamin D tend to have stronger muscles than those with lower levels.

But the majority of us need more. In fact, about 77 percent of Americans are deficient in D. Current guidelines call for about 600 IU daily; many researchers now believe we may need 1,000 IU or more. To get the vitamin D you need each day, whether you’re at home or away:

Let the sun shine in—a little. Your body can absorb vitamin D from sunshine, but sunscreen blocks absorption. To avoid damaging your skin while taking in D, limit your exposure to the sun to 15 minutes on your arms and legs a few times a week. Otherwise, always apply sunscreen before heading outdoors. The vitamin D you get from sunshine lasts two to three times longer in your bloodstream than vitamin D from food, so a little goes a long way.

Go fishing for salmon. While it’s difficult to get all of your vitamin D through diet, one food to include is fatty fish such as salmon. Each 3-ounce serving of salmon has about 450 IU.

Find D in everyday foods. Fortified milk and orange juice have about 115 to 135 IU per cup; egg yolks contain roughly 40 IU.

Supplement if needed. If you’re not out in the sun much, ask your doctor if you should be taking a supplement.


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From the publishers of Prevention