Mark Gilbert BSc (Nutrition)
Mark is an expert in sports nutrition and dietary supplements. He has over 20 years of experience working with the biggest names in the bodybuilding industry.
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Low Vitamin D Makes Muscles "Fat"

Vitamin D is not just something your mom should be taking in, it's something every bodybuilder on the planet should be on, especially while dieting down for a show.  Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that you get from foods and from exposure to the sun. It's crucial for keeping your bones strong and healthy and research has shown that lack of this vitamin may lead to depression, overweight, diabetes, heart disease, early death and other diseases. So if you want to be sad, fat and dead, go on a low-fat diet, don't take a supplement and stay inside the house...

If you're part of the other 99.9% of us who would rather be healthy and happy and you follow any of the bodybuilding blogs or read MUSCLE INSIDER, you will already know that there is a vitamin D deficiency epidemic going on right now. Most of us are deficient - especially in the winter! And before you accuse me of exaggerating, studies suggest that about 60% of healthy adults and children have insufficient levels of the vitamin. It's so bad that a study in The New England Journal of Medicine (one of the world's most respected scientific journals) advised that recommended intakes of vitamin D should be increased by 400 to 500%! That would probably be the largest increase in a vitamin recommendation in recent times!

The main reasons proposed for this epidemic is the lack of time we spend outdoors these days (and therefore the lack of sun exposure) and the use of sunscreen. As with most diseases, it is related to diet also.

A very recent study not only shows that even young women in sunny California are at risk (59% had insufficient levels and 24% were fully deficient) but it also showed that the girls with lower vitamin D levels had higher levels of fat in their muscles.

So what can you do to avoid having flabby muscles on brittle bones? Simply try to venture outdoors more often, wait for 10 or 20 minutes to apply the sunscreen when you're outside (depending upon your tolerance) and/or take a vitamin D supplement. If you are at high risk - if you don't eat fish/fish oil, don't go outside much, live in a cloudy or Northern climate and/or eat a low calorie or low-fat diet - then take between 10 - 25 micrograms (400 - 1000 IUs) per day.

MuscleDiet Tip: If you take vitamin D (or the other fat-soluble vitamins - A, E and K) with some fat or oil, it allows better uptake and absorption, so take it with a meal that contains some fat.

Scientific References:
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/peds.2009-0051v1
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez

To read more of Mark Gilbert’s work, please visit his website at:
www.MuscleDiet.net

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