Sufficient vitamin D levels may increase the rate of muscle strength recovery after intense exercise, according to research published in the journal Nutrients.
Muscle weakness hinders millions of people every day, with problems resulting from aging, disease, inactivity, overuse, or intense exercise.
Tyler Barker, PhD, and colleagues were interested in whether vitamin D could help. They recruited 14 physically active adults to participate in the study. Each participant had one leg randomized as a control, while the other leg performed an intense exercise protocol. Serum vitamin D was measured prior to and immediately following exercise.
The researchers found that following exercises, vitamin D concentrations increased immediately, but within a few minutes, levels decreased. As expected, muscular weakness persisted in the exercise leg compared to the control leg following the exercise. Vitamin D status inversely predicted muscular weakness. In other words, the higher the vitamin D level, the less muscular weakness a participant experienced immediately following exercise, as well as days after exercise.
Dr Barker and colleagues conclude:
“… Maintaining an adequate serum 25(OH)D concentration could attenuate muscular weakness after intense exercise. Given the feasibility of increasing 25(OH)D concentration in the blood, future research investigating the influence of diverse vitamin D interventions on the alleviation of muscular weakness after muscular insult are encouraged in humans.”
Barker T, Henriksen VT, Martins TB, Hill, HR, Kjeldsberg CR, Schneider ED, Dixon BM, Weaver LK. Higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations associate with a faster recovery of skeletal muscle strength after muscular injury. Nutrients 2013.