Vitamin D Deficiency Could Lead to Sports Injuries
Researchers from the Summit Medical Group have found that vitamin D deficiency in NFL athletes leads to increased muscle injury and lost game time. They presented their findings at the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting in San Diego on July 10, 2011.
The participants in the study included 89 players from one NFL team. At the beginning of the season, all of the player’s vitamin D levels were measured as part of their standard pre-season physical.
Out of those 89 players, 80% had a vitamin D deficiency, which is defined as 20 ng/mL to 31.9 ng/mL. Vitamin D levels must be over 32 ng/mL to be considered normal.
At the end of the season, 16 players had experienced muscle injuries. The injured players had a mean vitamin D level of 19.9 ng/mL. There was also a racial disparity in vitamin D levels: the mean for white players was 30.3. ng/mL and the mean for African American players was 20.4 ng/mL.
The researchers concluded that maintaining proper vitamin D levels is essential for athlete’s physical health. Vitamin D is critical for bone health and plays a major role in inflammation, infectious disease and muscle function.
Vitamin D has also been linked to cardiovascular health, improved eye health, skin cancer prevention, and reduction in age-related mental decline. Some studies have even suggested that vitamin D can help improve mood.
A great source of vitamin D is sunshine, but be sure to use sunscreen to protect your skin from damaging UV rays. You can also increase your vitamin D intake by taking a high quality vitamin D supplement.