Vitamin D for vegetarian / vegan athletes

Vitamin D is well known to the general public. We often hear about it because many of us seem to lack it and it occupies a very important place in the body. How to proceed when you are a vegan athlete?

What is vitamin D used for?

Vitamin D will intervene in a large number of processes within the body, which are estimated to have over 1000. In addition to the main functions associated with it such as bone health or the fight against depression, vitamin D will also be strongly involved in sports results.

Gain strength and power

A study was carried out on 23 overweight people and the results showed that vitamin D is associated with a gain in power.

However, this conclusion should be taken with hindsight because it is possible that the gain in power is noticed as soon as one brings a sufficient amount of a nutrient which one was deficient (and not only vitamin D, but with this study we now know that it is part of it).

Gain muscle mass

Getting enough vitamin D is also essential to build muscle mass. It turns out that it will influence the production of testosterone, and therefore necessarily on the gain of muscle mass. In fact, vitamin D is so central to the body that it is also classified as a hormone.

Improve your endurance

Getting enough vitamin D will also make it easier to gain stamina. In a study carried out in the UK, it was determined that supplementing vitamin D to reach recommended levels allows for longer distances during the same period of time.

This gain in endurance is explained by the fact that vitamin D can reduce circulating levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that causes muscle tissue breakdown and is released during very long endurance efforts (or very high intensity efforts, such as sprinting and weight training). Be careful, cortisol is not a hormone to fight, it is simply a matter of understanding that by providing enough vitamin D, the body will be able to interact better with cortisol.

These are a few examples of the link between vitamin D and sport because it must be remembered that it is directly or directly linked to so many functions (sporting or non-sporting) , that the fact of not consuming enough will inevitably be harmful for your sporting goals, even dangerous for your health.

The best sources of vitamin D for a vegetarian / vegan athlete

Whether omnivorous, vegetarian or vegan, the main, natural source of vitamin D is the same: exposure to the sun. In France, it is recommended that 10 to 20 minutes of exposure of the arms and legs would be sufficient. The first piece of advice would therefore be the following: get out more in the sun, and why not train outside!

This is a very easy way to synthesize more vitamin D without realizing it. But is it enough to get outside more to reach the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D? Unfortunately, it would seem that it is not that simple. In fact, the further the place of residence is from the equator, the more difficult it is to reach the recommended daily intake of vitamin D. In addition, there are specificities specific to each (weight, age, etc.) .

In France, it is recommended to reach 200 IU of vitamin D per day but some specialists see this value on the rise, rather speaking of 600 to 1000 IU per day. If you are a vegetarian, you can find vitamin D in butter, milk, eggs or cheese. But if we are vegan, we have two choices:

– foods fortified with vitamin D (vegetable milk for example)

– food supplements

For supplements, there are two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is almost twice as effective as vitamin D2, so I recommend that you choose a supplement based on D3.

However, you have to make sure that your supplement is vegan, because vitamin D3 food supplements come almost all the time from an animal source. But vegan sources of vitamin D3 are accessible and are produced mainly from lichen, which is the symbiosis of a fungus and an algae.

Don’t forget about vitamin D! Vitamin B12 is the only mandatory dietary supplement for vegans, but vitamin D should also be watched. To go further, you can now start bodybuilding coaching (weight loss or muscle mass gain) and vegan nutrition by clicking here ! Train with the heart, eat with the heart.

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