You know that our digestive system plays perhaps the most important role in our health—it recognises the nutrients in the food that we eat, separates them from the rest and creates energy for the body. But did you know that mitochondria perform a similar function at a cellular level? Any improvement in mitochondrial function is beneficial to our wellbeing.
According to new research from Newcasle University, Vitamin D is vital for mitochondria to work well and good Vitamin D levels help improve our energy levels as well as keep our muscles working efficiently.
For the study, the team employed non-invasive magnetic resonance scanning to measure the energy levels and muscle fatigue of 12 patients with severe vitamin D deficiency. They were again tested after being given Vitamin D supplements.
"Examining this small group of patients with vitamin D deficiency who experienced symptoms of muscle fatigue, we found that those with very low vitamin D levels improved their muscle efficiency significantly when their vitamin D levels were improved," said Dr Akash Sinha, lead researcher in the study. The muscle fatigue could be because the mitochondria are inefficient in the absence of Vitamin D. All patients showed significant improvement in symptoms of fatigue after the Vitamin D supplementation.
Dr Sinha added, "We have proved for the first time a link between vitamin D and mitochondria function. Of the patients I see, around 60% are vitamin D deficient and most people living north of Manchester will struggle to process enough vitamin D from sunlight alone, particularly during winter and spring. So a simple vitamin D tablet could help boost your energy levels – from within the cells."
Sunlight is the richest source of Vitamin D; however egg yolk, fish liver oil and supplements are also good sources.
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