A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to everything from osteoporosis to cardiovascular disease. A study out of England shows that it is also linked to a lack of muscle power, according to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
In the study, adolescent inner city girls were tested for vitamin D levels. Seventy-five percent of them were found to have low levels of the vitamin, though none had visible, physical symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
The girls were tested in a serious of exercises called “jumping mechanography,” which measures the power and force behind jumping movements. Those test subjects without vitamin D deficiency performed much better on the analysis.
“These data highlight the importance of vitamin D status on muscle function in adolescent girls. Sub-optimal force might have implications for long-term bone development,” according to the researchers.
While the study focused specifically on young girls, the results could very likely be replicated in young men alike. Women, however, are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis later in life.
Most people are able to get sufficient vitamin D from the sun, but most people are still deficient. This could be because they don’t spend enough time outdoors, don’t live in a climate where sunshine is frequent, or because they stay covered or out of the sun when outside.
Supplements are another option for increasing vitamin D in the body as well, with vitamin D3 being the most effective and safest form (also produced by direct sunlight.) Also, it occurs naturally in salmon, tuna, and fortified milk and cereals.
Another point of interest from this particular study is that they chose subjects who were more likely to come from poverty – showing that there is a chance that the study subjects were deficient in other nutrients because of this. This may have also played a role in the results of their strength and power measurements.
This fact highlights an important issue: that those of us without money for and access to healthy foods suffer in a multitude of ways, even from an early age.