Can vitamin D reduce muscular weakness in healthy and active adults? What role does vitamin C play in the recovery of knee injuries? Can simple vitamin supplements help the body with pain and stiffness due to vigorous exercise and do vitamins respectively improve healing after surgery? Scientists from “USANA Health Sciences“ and researchers at TOSH (The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital), a special clinic for orthopedics in Utah, are trying to answer exactly these questions with a variety of studies.
With the first study, Tyler Barker Ph., physiologist at TOSH, and Brian Dixon PhD., USANA scientist, are trying to determine whether vitamin D can reduce muscular weaknesses after high impact athletic exercise. Vitamin D is known to prevent or reduce cardiovascular disease, and after all, the heart is just one big muscle. “The conclusion here is that vitamin D helps to shorten the recovery time by minimizing the muscle weakness“, Dr. Barker explains: „That could mean a significant difference in the individual performance and help prevent some of the unpleasant after-effects of high impact or unaccustomed exercise. In addition, it creates the basis for future studies at the molecular and cellular level“.
Dr. Barker classifies the study’s participants as “weekend warriors“, who are between 18 and 45 years old and to date have not taken any vitamin supplements. The athletes were randomly divided into three groups. One group receives placebos. The second group receives 200 IU and the third group 4000 IU (international unit) of a specifically formulated vitamin D nutritional supplement. The participants provide blood samples and their muscular strength is being measured, each time prior and after intense exercise. The scientists only test the participants during the winter months when the vitamin D levels are at their lowest levels. The study began this past winter and is expected to continue for an additional two to three years.
The second study involves patients of TOSH who have suffered injuries in the anterior cruciate ligament. The scientists hope that the study is going to help them find a complementary therapeutic approach for improving musclular strength after surgery. “As published in “Free Radical Biology and Medicine“, we discovered a connection between the plasma ascorbic acid concentrations prior to surgery and the muscular strength gain after the surgery“, said Dr. Barker: “Especially patients with a higher vitamin C levels before the surgery showed a better recovery process“.
According to the “National Institute of Health“ the human body requires vitamin C in order to produce collagen which the body uses to to create skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. It supports the healing of wounds and maintaining cartilage tissue, bones and teeth. Vitamins C and E belong to the antioxidants that slow down the aging process and help to eliminate free radicals. Dr. Barker believes that lowering oxidative stress and adequate vitamin C and E levels can improve the chances of recovery after a cruciate ligament surgery.
Note that USANA Health Sciences provided supplements for use in these studies. USANA is also the supplement to choice used by the US Olympic ski team, snowboard team, speed skating teams, US Luge, along with numerous Canadian and international Olympic teams. USANA is also the only supplement the Women’s Tennis Association allows their players to use. In addition there are numerous individual Olympic, professional, and amateur athletes using the USANA products. To support these athletes USANA has funded numerous research studies to help elite athletes improve their sports performance, enhance post workout recovery, and aid in injury recovery.