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Information on the latest vitamin D news and research.

Find out more information on deficiency, supplementation, sun exposure, and how vitamin D relates to your health.

Vitamin D improves recovery time after injury

Injuries to the skeletal muscle occur during contact sports, prolonged exercise, or car crashes. The basic sequence of cellular events during regeneration after major injury is primary inflammation phase, followed by cell proliferation and cell death (apoptosis), and then followed by scar tissue formation. Therapeutic approaches to enhance recovery from muscle injury focus on strategies to limit necrosis, reduce fibrosis, and suppress excessive inflammation of the injured tissue. However, the effect size of such treatments is minimal.

Recently, Dr Ioannis Stratos and colleagues of the University of Rostock in Germany purposefully injured rats and then gave them truly massive doses of vitamin D, exactly 332,000 IU/kg as a single oral dose in their food, which is about 32,000 IU for a 100 gram rat.

Stratos I, Li Z, Herlyn P, Rotter R, Behrendt AK, Mittlmeier T, Vollmar B. Vitamin D Increases Cellular Turnover and Functionally Restores the Skeletal Muscle after Crush Injury in Rats. Am J Pathol. 2012 Dec 19.

They found that the vitamin D treated rats caused a significant increase in cell proliferation and a significant inhibition of apoptosis at day four after injury compared to control animals. There was an increase in an enzyme that indicated an increase in extracellular matrix proteins. After 42 days, this cellular turnover resulted in a faster recovery in the vitamin D group compared to the rats that received placebo.

The authors concluded,

“Current research on the biological effects of vitamin D opens new therapeutic alternatives, in addition to osteoporosis therapy or cancer prevention. These alternatives include restoration and faster healing of injured muscle tissue. Vitamin D could represent an attractive adjuvant therapy that might optimize the restoration of injured skeletal muscle tissue in the future.”

  About: John Cannell, MD

Dr. John Cannell is founder of the Vitamin D Council. He has written many peer-reviewed papers on vitamin D and speaks frequently across the United States on the subject. Dr. Cannell holds an M.D. and has served the medical field as a general practitioner, emergency physician, and psychiatrist.

3 Responses to Vitamin D improves recovery time after injury

  1. Yes, vitamin D did improve the recovery time by about 20% – for the rats which survived.

    FYI: Vitamin D Lethal dose (to kill 50% of rats) = 680,000 IU per kg

    That study used 1/2 the lethal dose.

    I will guess that 10% of the rats died.

    For a 100 kg human that dose/kg would have been 68 million IU, which is extremely toxic.


  2. Last June 2012 I injured my shoulder after a heavy fall. Shoulder is inflamed and limited range of movemant. I started taking 100,000 IU of Vitamin D3 every day for the next 30 days and then I dropped to 50,000 IU daily for 30 days followed by 25,000 IU daily for another 30 days. I also increased my omega 3 fatty acids to 5 grams daily throughout the three months. After 90 days I had complete recovery of my shoulder with no deficit. I saved a surgical intervention. I did measure my Vit D3 level and it was 150 but I am now back to my 80 range with 10,000 IU daily.

  3. Kate Saley says:

    That’s great dragpatel. Did you notice any other changes in your health when supplementing at the increased dosage? And did you do any physical therapy to help your shoulder recover?