A lack of the "sunshine vitamin" may affect muscle function and fitness levels, according to a new analysis published in the American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal.
Vitamin D supplements appear to help, the article concludes — but only in people who have tested positive to a deficiency.
Study author Stella Lucia Volpe, R.D., a professor of nutrition science at Drexel University, says that blood tests for vitamin D levels are becoming more common as part of routine doctors' visits. That's a good thing, she adds, since deficiencies are common, especially during winter months and in people who live farther from the equator.
"The reason for this increased prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is not yet known," Volpe says. "It is perhaps due to increased use of sunscreen, people going in the sun less, people covering themselves more; however, it may also be a result of more people being analyzed for vitamin D."
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