A vitamin D deficiency can be attributed to a number of serious health conditions such as breast cancer, depression, rheumatoid arthritis and brittle bones. But that isn’t all. Research has found even more links between vitamin D deficiency and compromised health. The researchers concluded that lower than normal vitamin D levels can lead to muscle-related injuries in athletes and plaque build-up in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin D and Muscle Injury
When data from professional football players was reviewed by researchers, it was found that over three-fourths of the athletes had insufficient vitamin D levels.
Researchers collected information from 89 players with an average age of 25. Vitamin D levels were measured, and muscle injuries were recorded throughout the season. Results indicated that many of the extremely fit young athletes had extremely low vitamin D levels. Twenty-seven were classified as drastically deficient while 45 had amounts that were insufficient. Out of all 89 players, only 17 had acceptable levels of vitamin D. The greatest deficiencies were found in African American players who not surprisingly, also had the greatest number of muscle-related injuries.
The results of this study seem to point to screening athletes for vitamin D deficiencies as a way to prevent muscle-related injuries.
“Eighty percent of the football team we studied had vitamin D insufficiency. African American players and players who suffered muscle injuries had significantly lower levels,” said Michael Shindle, MD, lead researcher.
Reverse Plaque Build-Up Responsible for Alzheimer’s
More great news about vitamin D health benefits can be found in another study where researchers discovered that vitamin D is necessary for the removal of dangerous amyloid plaques from the brain.
In their study, researchers injected vitamin D into mice with amyloid beta plaques in their brains. The injections helped reduce the plaque, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This finding is yet another demonstration of the promising power of vitamin D and the importance of spending some time in the sun each day.
“Vitamin D appears to increase transport of amyloid beta across the blood brain barrier (BBB) by regulating protein expression, via the vitamin D receptor…These results lead the way towards new therapeutic targets in the search for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease,” Professor Tetsuya Terasaki said.
Vitamin D is essential, and many people are often unaware of a deficiency until a serious health condition has developed. While vitamin D can be found in a number of food sources, including fish, eggs, and cod liver oil, the sun contributes a great deal to the production of vitamin. Only ten minutes daily of sun exposure is enough to keep deficiencies at bay.