Vitamin D improves muscle efficiency
Turns out that the sun can be good for your muscles. A new study from Newcastle University in the U.K. has linked vitamin D and muscle performance, finding that people with vitamin D deficiency are likely to suffer from physical fatigue. Vitamin D supplements, too, were found to increase aerobic metabolism in muscles, meaning that muscles could function more efficiently.
The scientists tied their findings to the mitochondria in cells, which is where oxygen and glucose are used to create the energy cells need to function. Cells rely on phosphocreatine to create this energy – a substance called ATP – and muscles use it to perform. The researchers found that the amount of time it takes for the body to replenish phosphocreatine can reflect more efficient mitochondrial function.
Okay, so what does that mean? In patients with vitamin D deficiency, it took longer to restore levels of phosphocreatine, which led to muscle fatigue. When given vitamin D supplements, these same patients suffered from less fatigue and showed greater mitochondrial efficiency.
Though this was a small study and requires further investigation, the scientists are hopeful that the results might be particularly helpful to athletes and the elderly.