Vitamin D3 For Powerlifting
As I touched upon in a previous article concerning having your blood work done regularly, I found out in early 2016 that I was Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D (particularly D3) has been shown to play a central role in energy levels, the immune system, and even muscle strength. If you aren’t already taking a multi-vitamin and covering your bases with proper mineral intake, it is common to eventually become Vitamin D deficient. A lack of exposure to sunlight (which the skin absorbs Vitamin D through the UV rays) will cause such a deficiency. In my case, I work in an office all day and don’t get to spend too much time under the sun. Now, I am not going to sit here and write to you that supplementing on Vitamin D3 will boost your squat by 50 pounds in 3 months – but in terms of your overall plan for success on the platform, it never hurts to optimize anything you can do to promote faster recovery & better energy levels throughout your daily life.
There are plenty of well researched articles explaining the scientific backing of Vitamin D supplementation for athletes. So, let me cut the shit out by not pretending to be a scientific guru and just tell you what results I’ve encountered since supplementing with Vitamin D since the start of this year.
- Better energy levels after a certain amount of time. To be fair, I did also recently get a CPAP and directly address my sleep apnea. But I did start taking Vitamin D3 months prior to getting a CPAP and I was feeling a little bit more energetic upon waking up. I would have to say the benefits of improved energy levels off D3 is somewhat passive, and takes a month or two for any noticeable difference. Nothing will beat getting the proper hours of sleep necessary for adequate recovery – but if you are looking to make a small improvement in your overall energy levels with minimal effort, taking Vitamin D3 isn’t a bad idea.
- In terms of the “muscle strengthening” effects of D3 that some articles purport, I honestly have to say that for me it wasn’t a deal-maker. Other things I adjusted (eating more carbs, going back up to the 242 lb weight class, etc.) had a much bigger impact on my strength progress this year and I can’t pinpoint anything to D3. Let’s be real, if D3 could show a strong correlation in strength gains, we would have all heard about it by now. Don’t expect any direct performance boost from Vitamin D3 for powerlifting.
- The difference in immune strength is very noticeable. I’ve only been sick once this entire year – just a couple weeks ago, actually. While increasing my Vitamin D3 dose beyond what I usually took, my cold symptoms were kept mild and I did not have a miserable time being sick like others who had the same bug as me. For immune support, I found Vitamin D3 to be very good.
Recommended dosages range from 2,000 – 5,000 IU daily. Vitamin D3 supplements are very cheap, and are made in gelcap form for easy consumption & absorption. I personally use the best-selling product (which I also believe is the cheapest) on Amazon:
My usual dose is 5,000 IU daily. On the days that I was sick, I increased my daily dose to 20,000 IU. It’s worth noting that you cannot overdose on Vitamin D and don’t experience any side effects. Any Vitamin D that the body does not use or absorb is simply out of your system via urine.
If you’re Vitamin D deficient, you really have to get on top of taking care of your health and start taking a supplement right away to get your levels back to normal. In a sport where recovery is paramount to success in making progress, all the little things you can do to promote faster recuperation will add up. The benefit of getting over a cold & back to training sooner is alone worth taking an essential vitamin. Give this some thought and don’t overlook your mineral intake!