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Vitamin D can be obtained through ultraviolet rays from sunlight as well as through foods and supplements, but can vitamin D improve your athletic performance?  Vitamin D was thought to be primarily involved in bone development, but a growing body of research suggests it's vital in multiple bodily functions including allowing muscle fibers to develop and grow normally, and the immune system to function properly.  Dietary sources of vitamin D are meager.  Cod liver oil provides a whopping dose, but a glass of fortified milk provides a fraction of what scientists think we need per day.  Sixty percent of American children, or almost 51 million kids, have insufficient levels of vitamin D, and another 9%, or 7.6 million children, are clinically deficient; a serious condition.  In one of the studies of Russian sprinters, they were actually given artificial ultraviolet light.  Their performance improved with the vitamin D.   

By: Brian McDonough, M.D., FAAFP