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Vitamin D link to fitness

Wednesday October 31st, 2018

Vitamin D levels are strongly linked to the body’s capacity to exercise, according to a new analysis.

The observational study, published yesterday (30 October) in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, suggests that high levels of vitamin D increase cardiorespiratory fitness, the researchers say.

They found a four-times difference in exercise capacity between those with high and low levels of vitamin D. The findings could indicate the reverse effect – that being fit increases levels of vitamin D, potentially because people who exercise may spend more time outside than others.

Dr Amr Marawan of the Virginia Commonwealth University, USA, and colleagues investigated the importance of vitamin D for the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to the muscles during exercise.

Their study involved 1,995 men and women, of whom 13% had hypertension and 4% diabetes.

Blood vitamin D was tested, along with their maximal oxygen consumption during exercise, called VO2 max. Those in the top quarter for vitamin D had over four times the cardiorespiratory fitness of those in the bottom quarter.

Once factors such as age, sex and health behaviours were considered, there remained a nearly three-fold difference.

Dr Marawan said: "Our study shows that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with better exercise capacity.

"This relationship holds in men and women, across the young and middle age groups, across ethnicities, regardless of body mass index or smoking status, and whether or not participants have hypertension or diabetes."

He added that there is a dose response relationship, with each rise in vitamin D associated with a rise in exercise capacity.

"This suggests that there is a robust connection and provides further impetus for having adequate vitamin D levels, which is particularly challenging in cold, cloudy places where people are less exposed to the sun," he concludes.

Marawan, A. et al. Association between serum vitamin D levels and cardiorespiratory fitness in the adult population of the USA. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology 30 October 2018 doi: 10.1177/2047487318807279

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2047487318807279

Tags: Diet & Food | Fitness | Heart Health | North America

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