Vitamin D is critical for muscle as well as bone strength. A study of elite college football players found that nearly half of them had suboptimal vitamin D levels. This may make them more vulnerable to serious muscle injury during play.
A Study That Uncovered Suboptimal Vitamin D Levels:
More than 200 college athletes taking part in the National Football League Scouting Combine were included in the study. Vitamin D levels were measured from blood samples. These were classified as normal if they were 32 ng/mL or above, insufficient if they were between 20 and 31 ng/mL and deficient if they were below 20 ng/mL.
More than half of these active young men had vitamin D levels below 31 ng/mL, including 10 percent of them (22 players) who had a severe deficiency. Researchers also collected information on whether the athletes had needed to sit out one or more games due to muscle injury. More than four-fifths of those players had low vitamin D levels.
Adequate Vitamin D May Help Protect Athletes from Muscle Injury:
This study establishes an association rather than a cause and effect relationship. Nonetheless, injury is a big deal for these college athletes who aspire to play in the NFL. Perhaps football players and their coaches should pay more attention to vitamin D, especially during the winter when sun exposure is scanty.
Presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting, March 16, 2017
If you would like to learn more about vitamin D and whether you too might be at risk of injury, we recommend our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency.