Muscle soreness exercise injury and vitamin D

Muscle Soreness, Exercise Injuries and Vitamin D
June 22, 2013
 by Gabe Mirkin, MD

When doctors don’t know the cause of a patient’s
problem, they often give it a fancy name so you
will believe they are giving you a useful
diagnosis. A perfect example of this is “idiopathic
inflammatory myopathy”, which means you have
chronic muscle soreness and your doctor doesn’t
know why. Researchers recently reviewed the effects
of exercise on people with chronic muscle soreness
and found that exercise is beneficial (Current
Opinion in Rheumatology, 04/07/09):
 • The muscles of many of subjects with this
condition did not get a sufficient oxygen supply
 • Exercise increases endurance-type fibers after a
12-week exercise program
 • Creatine supplements plus an exercise program
are more beneficial than exercise alone
 • Intensive resistance training improves muscle
strength and endurance
 • Exercise reduces muscle soreness and possibly
even muscle inflammation
I am now convinced that a leading cause of muscle
soreness and slow-healing injuries is lack of
vitamin D. All my life, I have suffered a series of
baffling injures that usually occur in the winter
and heal in the summer. For the entire winter of
2007-8, I was unable to exercise because of a
non-healing hamstring injury and diffuse muscle
soreness. Eventually I found that my vitamin D 3
level was 22 nmol/L (normal is greater than 75). I
took the prescribed treatment of 50,000 IU of
vitamin D twice a week and my muscles became so
sore that I couldn’t even walk. In the summer, the
hamstring injury healed and the soreness
disappeared. This winter I went to Florida and was
able to train on my bicycle better than ever. In
March I went back to wintery Maryland and the
non-healing hamstring injury and soreness reappeared.
This time I improved within 24 hours of taking 2000
IU of vitamin D twice a day. From my experience, I
conclude that:
 • my muscle soreness and non-healing injuries are
caused by or worsened by low levels of vitamin D
 • very high doses (50,000 IU) may increase muscle
 • lower doses of vitamin D (2000 to 4000/day) or
daily sunlight exposure cured my muscle soreness
and helped to heal my injuries
Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council quotes 14
studies that show that athletic performance
improves in the summer months when sunshine is
abundant, or with ultraviolet light exposure in
If your muscles feel sore or you keep on being
injured when you exercise, get a blood test called
D3. If it is below 75 nmol/L, your problems may be
caused by lack of vitamin D and be cured by getting
some sunshine or taking at least 2000 IU each day
of the very inexpensive vitamin D3.

(See also: Take vitamin d pills only if you have a