MURRAY — A simple dose of vitamin D has been found to work wonders on tired muscles after intense exercise.
The compound can help with faster muscle recovery and may even prevent muscle damage caused by exercise, according to researchers at Intermountain Healthcare's The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital.
The discovery "sheds new light on the importance of vitamin D in our bodies," said Dr. Brian Dixon, executive director of scientific and clinical affairs at USANA Health Sciences, and contributing author of a study published in the journal Nutrients — "Vitamin D and Human Health."
"I see the potential benefits of this study being far-reaching," Dixon said, adding that in addition to policymakers and nutritionists, hardworking individuals can benefit on a personal level. "For those of us who consider ourselves 'weekend warriors,' looks like we can play a little harder and maybe not suffer as much on Monday."
Muscle damage can result from any intense exercise and is caused by a variety of factors, such as a muscle strain and inflammation after a long, steep hike or otherwise taxing activity. At that point, muscles might feel sore and not able to exert as much force as normal.
But vitamin D levels in the blood seem to make a difference, according to researchers.
TOSH's Tyler Barker, lead author of the study, said those with higher levels of the sun-emitting vitamin had faster rates of recovery from muscle damage.
Barker tracked the levels of vitamin D in 14 physically active adults before and after exercise for a week, at varying periods of duration. By assessing the amount of strength the subject's legs could exert, researchers could determine the initial muscle damage and then the resulting recovery time.
Those with more vitamin D were able to regain their strength more quickly.
In addition to protecting against muscular weakness, vitamin D is known to regulate calcium and protein synthesis within the muscles that ultimately help a muscle move.
Barker and his team at TOSH might now look at how much vitamin D is needed for optimal results in muscle recovery.