Does Vitamin D Affect Strength?

This week, I want to share an interesting finding involving Vitamin D deficiency in elite Danish swimmers (Human Kinetics Journals, Vol 27: Issue 5).

Most people with a basic understanding of nutrition know that Vitamin D is very important for bone health, metabolism and boosting the immune system. However, the discovery of Vitamin D receptors in muscle cells may indicate that it may also play a role in muscle contraction and athletic performance.

The study mentioned above conducted on young elite Danish swimmers reported an association between Vitamin D status and muscular strength. The main finding was that muscular strength as assessed by hand grip, was significantly higher in swimmers with sufficient Vitamin D status. The study found that 45 % of the swimmers had an insufficient vitamin D status.


Now the most common way to get Vitamin D is through direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, the rest having to come through diet and supplementation. This is interesting, because it’s not uncommon for the sun to take a vacation for a while during Canadian winters. In addition, with swimmers training indoors for hours a day, they might find it especially difficult to meet their daily requirements during the winter months.

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