Vitamins, Exercise, and Muscle-Mass


As you know I LOVE Shaklee and I also work extensively with athletes. With that in mind, I’ve begun to get more education on how vitamins and minerals help athletes. My mentor, Steve Chaney, PhD, is a man who is eminently qualified to teach me about nutrition. Steve has his PhD in Nutrition and Biochemistry and taught these subjects to medical students at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill. Dr. Steve has also been involved in Shaklee for over 30 years, in fact he is on the Scientific Advisory Board at Shaklee, so he is well-versed in all of the Shaklee products.

I wanted to share an email I just received from Dr. Steve as I think it’s of importance to everyone who reads Pain-Free Living, whether you are an athlete or not.

Dr. Steve wrote:

I came across an interesting paper recently reporting that 4,000 IU/day of vitamin D in combination with resistance training significantly increased muscle mass in overweight subjects (Carrillo et al, Clinical Nutrition, doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.08.014).

This was a placebo controlled, double blind clinical study in which 23 young (average age = 26), overweight or obese (average BMI = 31) were enrolled in a 12 week resistance training program and were given either 4,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 or a placebo during the 12 week study.

The exercise program (3 days/week) consisted of 3 sets of 8 resistance exercises (leg extension, leg flexion, leg press, hip adduction, hip abduction, chest press, seated row and lateral pull down). The seated row machine was connected to a computer to measure instantaneous power values, and maximum power output was measured at the beginning and the end of the 12 week program.

Not surprisingly, both groups showed an increase in peak power output at the end of the 12 week training program. However, the increase in peak power output was significantly greater in the vitamin D group compared to the placebo.

Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone rush out and add a vitamin D supplement to their exercise regimen. This was a very small study, and the effects were modest.
Moreover, this study was performed with a young, obese population group. It is unknown whether other population groups would receive a similar benefit.
Obviously, many more studies need to be done.

However, I wanted to mention this study as an introduction to a broader perspective on the role of supplementation in exercise. There have been many reports of individual supplements benefitting either strength or endurance. However, most of those studies have been small and have generally been performed in specialized populations.

For example, another recent study reported that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increased muscle strength compared to a placebo in an elderly population enrolled in a 12 week resistance exercise program. This was the second recently reported study suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids coupled with exercise might increase muscle strength in specialized population groups.

Other studies have suggested that B vitamin supplementation might increase strength and endurance in Olympic class athletes. And another study showed that vitamin C supplementation decreased post-event respiratory infections in ultra marathon runners.

However, most studies in the general population have come up empty, and many experts have concluded that vitamin & mineral supplementation has no beneficial effect on performance.

However, if you have been reading my previous “Tips From the Professor”, you may remember that I have told you how difficult it is to prove that individual nutrients – or even drugs – are effective in low risk population groups. As one example, I have pointed out several recent studies that concluded it was not possible to prove that statin drugs reduce heart attacks in low risk populations – even low risk populations with elevated cholesterol. The evidence that individual nutrients are effective almost always comes from studies of high risk populations.

So if you want to maximize your performance, my recommendation to you is to consume a healthy diet and use a multi-nutrient supplement consisting of a multivitamin, omega-3 fatty acids, a full spectrum of antioxidants and extra vitamin D.

If you would like more information at the proven clinical trials on Shaklee products, that have been published in medical journals, just ask me and I’ll be happy to share, or you can just go to my Shaklee website and check them out.

Wishing you well,


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