Department or Administrative Unit
Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences
Vitamin D is well known for its role in calcium regulation and bone health, but emerging literature tells of vitamin D’s central role in other vital body processes, such as: signaling gene response, protein synthesis, hormone synthesis, immune response, plus, cell turnover and regeneration. The discovery of the vitamin D receptor within the muscle suggested a significant role for vitamin D in muscle tissue function. This discovery led researchers to question the impact that vitamin D deficiency could have on athletic performance and injury. With over 77% of the general population considered vitamin D insufficient, it’s likely that many athletes fall into the same category. Research has suggested vitamin D to have a significant effect on muscle weakness, pain, balance, and fractures in the aging population; still, the athletic population is yet to be fully examined. There are few studies to date that have examined the relationship between vitamin D status and performance, therefore, this review will focus on the bodily roles of vitamin D, recommended 25(OH)D levels, vitamin D intake guidelines and risk factors for vitamin D insufficiency in athletes. In addition, the preliminary findings regarding vitamin D’s impact on athletic performance will be examined.
Ogan, D.; Pritchett, K. Vitamin D and the Athlete: Risks, Recommendations, and Benefits. Nutrients 2013, 5, 1856-1868.
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