Vitamin D boost may lower blood pressure
Taking vitamin D supplements may lower blood pressure and boost exercise performance, research has shown.
Volunteers given the vitamin daily for two weeks saw fitness improvements that allowed them to cycle longer with less exertion.
Their blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol were also lower compared with another group taking a dummy pill.
Many people in Ireland are deficient in vitamin D, which is chiefly obtained from the action of sunlight on the skin.
Dr Raquel Revuelta Iniesta, from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, said: "Our pilot study suggests that taking vitamin D supplements can improve fitness levels and lower cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure."
The scientists plan to follow up the small study, with a larger clinical trial looking at both healthy individuals and groups such as athletes and cyclists.
In the test, volunteers taking vitamin D were able to cycle 6.5 kilometres in 20 minutes at the end of the two weeks compared with five kilometres at the start.
Despite cycling 30pc further than participants given the inactive placebo, they showed lower signs of exertion.