Conor Hogan, coach and nutritionist, here at Gravity Fitness.
Recently there’s been a lot of talk about Vitamin D and how it can benefit your overall health, and aid
in your fight against respiratory diseases – which is especially important in these times with Covid-
19. The HSE have been a big advocate for the Irish population to take vitamin D in a supplement form.
So, in todays blog, we are going to discuss what it is, the best ways to take in vitamin D. How it helps
against respiratory disease and can it help us with sport and performance and overall health?
What exactly is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is one of the 4 fat-soluble vitamins, along with A, E and K. It is made mostly by all living
animals, including ourselves, when exposed to sunlight. (A general rule of thumb is if your shadow is
longer than your body, then you should take a supplement).
The main function of Vitamin D is to help the body absorb calcium, magnesium and phosphate,
which helps build and keep bones strong and healthy. It also blocks the release of the parathyroid
hormone, which reabsorbs bone tissue – making bones thin and brittle. (Not good). It increases
calcium absorption in the gut and promotes bone formation and supports muscle and immune
Although vitamins do not directly contribute to the energy supply, they play an important role in
energy metabolism as reusable coenzymes in many metabolic reactions. (Bone formation etc with vitamin
What’s the best way to take in Vitamin D?
Simply put, through sunlight. For us living in Ireland, we will make our own Vitamin D through 25-30
minutes of midday sunlight on your forearms and face with no sun cream on. However, using our
rule of thumb, since we don’t have many months in the year where our shadows are shorter than our
body, it is a good idea to regularly supplement.
If you were to supplement, it is recommended that you take in 2,000 IU (International units – about
25mcg (micrograms)) each day. There are two main forms of supplementation you can get – D2 and D3. D3 is seen as the preferred source, but there is not much of a difference in the two.
Small amounts of vitamin D can also be sourced through some seafood, mushrooms grown
outdoors, and many fortified foods
**Sunbeds ARE NOT a suitable replacement for natural sunlight! The bulbs mainly emit UVA rays,
which cause your cells to prematurely age, and increases melanoma skin cancer risk without
producing Vitamin D.
Can vitamin D help against respiratory disease?
Respiratory diseases/infections are ones that get in the way of normal breathing, which can then
lead to other problems if not suitably treated.
There have been countless studies that show vitamin D to have a huge benefit to staving off these
respiratory infections such as the cold, flus, bronchitis, tonsilitis, ear infections and
In the case with Covid-19, there has been plenty of promising work showing that those with higher
levels of vitamin D in their system have greater chances of having a less-severe bout of Covid-19 if it
were contracted, and also less chances of getting it in the first place due to how vitamin D boosts
your immune system.
Late last year we had a member come to us who was feeling sluggish in sessions and frequently
had colds/flus/ear infections. They had their bloods done and it showed that their vitamin D levels
were quite low. They started supplementing vitamin D, along with changing aspects of their diet, and
within 2 weeks their energy levels were through the roof from where they were previously (this was
even seen from looking at their MyZone activity, intensity levels went through the roof!) and have
not reported any colds of flu’s after!
It’s just testament to what someone can do when they tweak things just a little bit.
Can it help us with sports performance and overall health?
Since vitamin D increases your HDL (good cholesterol), helping keep your arteries plaque free – you
can pump more oxygen-rich blood efficiently through your system to the muscles that need it the
most. Thus, leading you to perform longer, and to a higher level. You can and also live a lengthier &
better-quality life because of this.
Vitamin D has been shown to help us enjoy a longer life based on controlled studies. It’s also proven
to improve pain from menstrual periods and help prevent respiratory infections.
*Fun fact! (For us nerds) Vitamin D is actually a hormone, rather than a vitamin! One for your next
Zoom quiz! Thanks for Listening guys and talk soon.
Vitamin D is available to buy in the Gravity shop.