Benefits of Vitamin D Supplementation For Bodybuilders & Strength Athletes

Like you, I try to eat a very balanced and healthy whole food diet that is high in lean protein and high in fiber-rich and nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. As a form of insurance I also supplement with a multivitamin to fill in any potential nutritional deficiencies that may be created by gaps in my whole food regimen (i.e. when travelling or eating out or being lazy).

Nature's Bounty Vitamin D3

Only recently did I discover that approximately 1 BILLION people are vitamin D deficient and 50% of the population can be considered vitamin D “insufficient”. In America alone it’s estimated that 35% of adults are vitamin D deficient.

After learning just how critical vitamin D is regarding a whole multitude of essential body functions, and being a moderately serious bodybuilder who is always looking for ways to enhance the quality of his workouts, I did a deep dive into just what vitamin D is, how valuable it is to bodybuilders and strength athletes in particular, and what type of supplementation is best for me.

Below I share a bit of what I discovered on my journey as well as the vitamin supplement I personally have used for a couple of years now. Hint: it is actually two vitamins in one and yes, I take it on top of my multivitamin.

The Importance of Vitamin D for Healthy Bodily Function

Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” is a fat-soluble vitamin crucial for various bodily functions. Its primary role is in calcium absorption and bone health, promoting the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin upon exposure to sunlight, but it can also be obtained through dietary sources or supplements. Beyond bone health, vitamin D is essential for immune system function, cell growth, and inflammation regulation.

Primary Benefits of Vitamin D Supplementation Explained

Regular supplementation with vitamin D offers a range of health benefits. Firstly, it aids in maintaining optimal bone density and preventing conditions like osteoporosis. Secondly, vitamin D supports healthy immune system function, reducing the risk of infections and chronic diseases. Additionally, it has been linked to cardiovascular health, mood regulation, and cancer prevention.

While the above statements are valid for any human looking to optimize their biological functions to enable them to excel in the gym, they are PARTICULARLY relevant to athletes living in the northern hemisphere who are severely sun-constrained during winter months.

Since the body requires sunshine to produce vitamin D naturally being deprived of sun means you will likely also be vitamin D deficient. As such adding a simple, cheap, vitamin D + K2 (for absorption) might be worth considering in adding to your stack.

Nature Made D3 K2 reviewed

Vitamin D and Athletic Performance/Muscle Growth

In the realm of athletic performance and muscle growth, vitamin D plays a critical role. Studies have suggested that adequate levels of vitamin D are associated with improved muscle strength, function, and overall physical performance. Vitamin D receptors are present in skeletal muscles, and its deficiency has been linked to muscle weakness and increased susceptibility to injuries. Injuries = halting of progress in the gym, so this is an important benefit for serious bodybuilders and strength trainers.

Furthermore, vitamin D is implicated in protein synthesis, contributing to muscle growth. A study by Close et al. (2013) found that vitamin D supplementation positively influenced muscle protein synthesis in response to resistance training. Thus, individuals engaged in regular physical activity like bodybuilding or powerlifting may benefit from vitamin D supplementation to enhance muscle function and recovery.

Comparing the Two Most Popular Vitamin D Supplements

Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3 5000 IU (240 Rapid Release Softgels):

  • Dosage: 5000 IU per softgel.
  • Value per serving: 240 softgels per container.
  • Additional Information: Rapid-release softgels for efficient absorption.
  • Over 71,739 customer reviews averaging 4.8/5 stars in satisfaction
Nature's Bounty Vitamin D3, Immune Support, 125 mcg (5000iu), Rapid Release Softgels, 240 Ct
  • IMMUNE SUPPORT (1) Vitamin D3 is an essential nutrient for immune support; each serving contains 125 mcg (5000iu) of Vitamin D for Immune benefits and may assist the immune system by helping to regulate T and B-lymphocytes (1)

Nature Made Vitamin D3 125 mcg (5000 IU) + 100mcg Vitamind K2 Softgels:

  • Combination of D3 and K2 for enhanced absorption
  • Additional benefits of K2 including artery function and increased skeletal uptake of calcium
  • Additional Information: Gluten-free with no artificial flavors.
  • Over 2,439 reviews averaging 4.6/5 stars in satisfaction
Nature Made Vitamin D3 K2, 5000 IU (125 mcg) Vitamin D, Dietary Supplement for Bone, Teeth, Muscle and Immune Health Support, 30 Softgels, 30 Day Supply
  • Strong bone support supplement: contains one 30 count bottle of Nature Made Vitamin D3 K2 Softgels for a 30-day supply

Personally I prefer the Nature Made D3 + K2 supplement. You’re getting more health benefits for a pretty much the same money.

Sure, supplementing with vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) alone is beneficial for promoting calcium absorption and supporting bone health. However, combining vitamin D3 with vitamin K2 (menaquinone) offers several advantages that enhance overall health.

Vitamin K2 directs calcium to the bones and teeth while preventing its deposition in arteries and soft tissues, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular complications and promoting optimal bone density.

This synergistic relationship ensures that calcium is utilized effectively, enhancing bone strength and cardiovascular function while minimizing the potential for arterial calcification. Consequently, D3 + K2 supplementation provides a more comprehensive approach to bone and cardiovascular health compared to vitamin D3 supplementation alone, making it a valuable addition to a well-rounded nutritional regimen.

Under-dosing of Vitamin D in Multivitamins

“Why do I need a dedicated vitamins D + K2 supplement, I already take a complete multivitamin!” you may be exclaiming.

Well, unfortunately, many multivitamins often contain lower doses of vitamin D due to the challenge of fitting a wide range of nutrients into a single serving. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D varies by age and gender but is often higher than the amounts included in typical multivitamin formulations. This under-dosing emphasizes the need for dedicated vitamin D supplementation, especially for those with limited sun exposure.

Nature Made D3 K2 benefits

Scientific Advantages of Combining Vitamin D with Vitamin K2

Combining vitamin D with vitamin K2 is advantageous from a scientific perspective. While vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, vitamin K2 ensures proper utilization of calcium by directing it to the bones and teeth, preventing its accumulation in arteries and soft tissues.

This synergistic relationship is crucial for maintaining cardiovascular health and preventing issues related to calcium deposition in the wrong tissues, offering a more comprehensive approach to bone and cardiovascular support.

My vitamin D3 + K2 supplement has been a stable in my stack for a few years now and I feel like it has reduced the frequency in which I’ve gotten sick and helped maintain my progress in the gym even during the long rainy cloudy winters of the Pacific Northwest.

As such I’ve been recommending it to everyone I can, regardless of whether or not they lift weights, simply for the bone health and immune system support vitamin D provides.

If you are a serious lifter I challenge you to find out what your vitamin D levels are, and to check the quantity of vitamin D in your multi. Chances are you are deficient and could use for additional augmentation.

Fortunately for all of us vitamin D + K2 supplements are widely available for very affordable prices. Yes, the D3+K2 will be a little more expensive than just vitamin D alone but the compounding synergistic effects are well worth the slightly higher costs, in my humble opinion.

Last update on 2024-06-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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