Young female athletes could have yet another reason to grab a glass of vitamin D-rich milk. Not only does vitamin D work with calcium to keep bones strong, but researchers now found that teenage girls with higher vitamin D levels may be able to jump higher and faster than their peers with lower levels, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
This potential muscle advantage adds to the growing list of evidence positioning vitamin D as a super nutrient. Well known for its role in keeping bones strong, vitamin D is now being hailed for so much more. Emerging science suggests vitamin D may also help protect against diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and certain cancers. It may also support a healthy immune system to ward off infections, and some preliminary evidence suggests it may affect longevity.
The recommended three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk a day delivers 75% of the vitamin D that's needed each day. Milk remains the leading source of vitamin D — it's one of the few food sources of the super nutrient. Plus, along with vitamin D, milk is a good source of calcium and high-quality protein — two nutrients vital to help teens maintain bone density and lean muscle.