The findings from a pilot study presented in the annual meeting of the Society for Endocrinology suggest that taking vitamin D supplements could improve fitness level and lower blood pressure. The study was conducted in Scotland and included 13 volunteers that were given a daily dose of 50 mg vitamin D supplement for two weeks.
At the end of the two weeks, the volunteers were able to cycle longer by up to 30% with less exertion. Compared with those who had the inactive pill, their blood pressure and level of stress hormone cortisol also reduced.
Around the world over one billion people suffer from vitamin D deficiency or insufficient, which is mainly obtained from sunlight on the skin 1. However, prolonged poor weather conditions in some part of the world such as England has meant that people are not getting as much sun as is required, and natural food sources alone are not sufficient to boost the required levels of the vitamin in the blood.
Overall, the study adds to the body of evidence emphasizing the importance of tackling the epidemic since it has been linked to other health conditions such as insulin resistance, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and a higher risk for certain cancers.
The researchers plan to follow up this study with a larger clinical trial looking at both healthy individuals and subgroups like athletes and cyclists.
Source: Herald Scotland
- Naeem Z. Vitamin D Deficiency- An Ignored Epidemic: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068797/