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Low vitamin D levels linked to poor performance in athletes

November 1, 2012

According to a new UK study, insufficient blood vitamin D concentrations may be detrimental to musculoskeletal performance in athletes.

The study assessed the vitamin D concentrations of 61 non-vitamin D supplemented UK-based athletes and 30 age-matched healthy non-athletes (1). In addition, it looked how a supplement containing either 5000 IU of vitamin D3 per day or a placebo affected musculoskeletal performance over a period of 8 weeks. The study results showed that 62% of the athletes and 73% of the controls exhibited inadequate serum vitamin D concentrations (25(OH)D below 50 nmol/l). Vitamin D supplementation increased 25(OH)D levels, whereas the placebo group showed no significant change. Additionally, there was a significant increase in 10 m sprint times and vertical-jump in the supplement group while the placebo group showed no change.

The researchers commented that the new data support previous findings that athletes living at northerly lati-tudes (UK = 53° N) exhibit inadequate vitamin D concentrations. Furthermore, the data could suggest that inadequate vitamin D concentration is detrimental to musculoskeletal performance in athletes. Future studies using larger athletic groups are now warranted.

References

  1. Close G. L. et al. Assessment of vitamin D concentration in non-supplemented professional athletes and healthy adults during the winter months in the UK: implications for skeletal muscle function. Journal of Sports Sciences. Published online October 2012.