Vitamin D Deficiency in Athletes
Vitamin D is often referenced as the sunshine vitamin since the vitamin's primary source is attained through sun exposure. Yet, many people are vitamin D deficient.
Vitamin D Deficiency
In fact, vitamin D deficiency is a global public health issue.
About 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency, while over 77% of the general population is insufficient.1 So, what does that mean if you are an athlete who plays an indoor sport, trains indoors year-round, and rarely gets outside during the day?
What if you also live in the northern hemisphere? Odds are you are not getting enough vitamin D. Insufficient sun exposure can dramatically increase your risk of vitamin D deficiency. It can lead to a variety of negative health implications and hinder athletic performance.
Research has illustrated that vitamin D significantly affects muscle weakness, pain, balance, and fractures in the aging population.1
Vitamin D plays a key role in:1
Vitamin D deficiency occurs as blood levels drop to less than 20 ng/mL (< nmol/L), while vitamin D insufficiency for athletes is defined as blood levels reaching between 20-32 ng/mL (50-80 nmol/L).
Research has indicated that 40-50 ng/mL (100-125 nmol/L) seems ideal for optimizing athletic performance.1
Who's at High Risk?
Athletes Who Play Indoor Sports
Hockey players specifically spend a great deal of their time training, conditioning, and competing indoors, making it difficult to attain vitamin D through sun exposure. To add to the statistics, another study found that as much as 88% of the population receives less than the optimal amount of vitamin D.3
Several studies link vitamin D status to bone health and the overall prevention of bone injuries in the athletic population.
Research and Vitamin D Deficiency
A study published in the journal, Nutrients assessed vitamin D status among college men and women basketball players in the season. The players were either allocated a high-dose, low dose, or no vitamin D depending on their circulation 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels at the beginning of the study to identify the optimal dosage of vitamin D3 supplementation optimal status.
The findings demonstrated that 13 of the 20 participants were vitamin D insufficient at baseline. Another finding was that of the athletes sampled, and the darker skin pigmentation increased the risk of vitamin D insufficiency at baseline.
The study also suggests that professional football players deficient in vitamin D may also have a greater risk of bone fractures.7
Increasing power output is every athlete’s desire as it can translate into improved performance on the field. Your muscle tissues have several key receptor sites for vitamin D, and they will help support power production.1
A study in soccer players found that increasing baseline vitamin D status over an 8-week period leads to increased vertical jump and 10-meter sprint times.9
Of course, we need further research in this area to identify the relationship between vitamin D levels and power output.
Still, the current literature is promising and that, at minimum, baseline vitamin D levels should be desired.
Sources of Vitamin D
The best vitamin D sources include egg yolks, mushrooms, fortified milk, yogurt, cheese, salmon, mackerel.8
Vitamin D rich food sources:
Athletes who train indoors, consume little vitamin D rich sources and live > 35 degrees north or south may benefit from a vitamin supplement of 1,500 - 2,000 IU per day to keep vitamin D concentrations within a sufficient range.
Athletes who may have a history of stress fractures, frequent illness, pain or weakness, or overtraining signs should have their vitamin D status evaluated.
Vitamin D is best absorbed when taken with a meal that contains fat.
It is important to follow up with a physician to assess vitamin D levels further and meet with a registered dietitian to discuss nutrition intervention further.
1. Ogan, D., & Pritchett, K. "Vitamin D and the athlete: risks, recommendations, and benefits." Nutrients, 5(6), 1856–1868. 2013.
2. Umar, M., Sastry, K. S., & Chouchane, A. I., "Role of Vitamin D Beyond the Skeletal Function: A Review of the Molecular and Clinical Studies." International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2018,19(6),1618.
3. Bendik, I., Friedel, A., Roos, F. F., Weber, P., & Eggersdorfer, M. "Vitamin D: a critical and essential micronutrient for human health." Frontiers in Physiology, 5, 248, 2014.
4. Elsevier Health Sciences. (2015, December 14). "Low levels of vitamin D may increase risk of stress fractures in active individuals: Experts recommend active individuals who participate in higher impact activities may need to maintain higher vitamin D levels." ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
5. Sizar O, Khare S, Goyal A, et al. "Vitamin D Deficiency." [Updated 2020 Jul 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-.
6. Sekel, N.M.; Gallo, S.; Fields, J.; Jagim, A.R.; Wagner, T.; Jones, M.T. "The Effects of Cholecalciferol Supplementation on Vitamin D Status Among a Diverse Population of Collegiate Basketball Athletes: A Quasi-Experimental Trial." Nutrients, 2020, 12, 370.
7. National Institutes of Health – Office of Dietary Supplements – "Vitamin D – Fact Sheet for Health Professionals." [accessed October 19, 2020].
8. Maroon JC, Mathyssek CM, Bost JW, Amos A, Winkelman R, Yates AP, Duca MA, Norwig JA. "Vitamin D profile in National Football League players." Am J Sports Med. 2015 May;43(5):1241-5. Epub 2015 Feb 3. PMID: 25649084.
9. Close, G. L., Russell, J., Cobley, J. N., Owens, D. J., Wilson, G., Gregson, W., Fraser, W. D., & Morton, J. P., "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, 31(4), 344–353. 2013.
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November 12, 2020 at 11:47AM
Discover Supplements That Benefit Your Specific Needs With Supplement Advisor
Discover supplements that benefit your specific needs with Supplement Advisor
The supplement industry sometimes seems like the wild wild west, where you’re left feeling like there are more questions than answers:
Should I take fish oil? Isn’t it good for reducing inflammation and heart health? What’s better? Pill form or liquid?
I have recently started the Ketogenic diet. Is it true I should be taking multivitamins and a folic acid supplement because I’m no longer getting folic acid from grains?
I’m a menstruating woman who doesn’t eat red meat. Should I be taking an iron supplement? And doesn’t Vitamin B12 play a role in red blood cell health, too, helping fend against becoming anemic? Should I take that, too? Do I need a B12 supplement too?
Enter Supplement Advisor’s free assessment test.
Supplement Advisor is a web-based company designed to empower health-conscious people to improve their cognitive function, as well as emotional and physical potential through simple and personalized supplement guidance designed by their advanced AI, ultimately helping you navigate through the wild wild west of the supplement industry easily and quickly.
One way they do this is through their assessment tool, a tool that lets you to either take a full assessment, or select a particular area to see if you might benefit from taking a supplement. The areas include:
How it works:
Let’s say you’re curious if you might benefit from taking a magnesium supplement to help regulate your blood sugar levels and stop you from having energy crashes in the middle of the day. And if so, what products might be best for you.
Giving you these answers is exactly what Supplement Advisor’s tool is designed to do.
All you do is select energy, hit submit and answer a few questions, such as:
After answering the questions, the AI engine—which will continue to get smarter and smarter as more people take the assessment and the database grows—quickly analyzes your responses and offers various recommendations in terms of what products might be best for your specific needs.
Because fifty to seventy million people in the United States suffer from some kind of sleep disorder—from having trouble falling asleep, to insomnia to sleep apnea—one of the most common reasons to take a supplement is for sleep.
On top of the natural products, nine million Americans take prescription drugs to help them sleep.Prescription drugs, however, can come with some side effects, including gastrointestinal problems, prolonged drowsiness during the day, daytime memory and cognitive performance challenges or various allergic reactions.
A better option for many is a melatonin supplement.
Why is it better?
Melatonin is a hormone the body produces naturally. It’s responsible for regulating your body’s internal clock by responding to lightness and darkness.
When it gets dark out, melatonin increases in your body and lets you know it's bedtime by attaching to receptors in the brain that help you relax and feel tired. During the day, on the other hand, your body makes dopamine, which signals you to release less melatonin, thus helping keep you awake.
When you select sleep on Supplement Advisor’s assessment tool, it once again, puts you through a series of questions, including:
From there, you’re given a list of options of various products that might help your particular sleep concern or deficiency.
Giving it a try
As a writer, my focus needs to be one point to handle long days staring at a computer. I tend to be really focused and motivated in the morning, but fade after 2 p.m. before I have completed all my work for the day.
I decided to give the tool a try to see if there was something I could take to improve my focus.
The tool asked me:
I answered no to the first question, as usually being stressed out and overworked lights a fire under my bum. Similarly, I find it easy to ignore distractions and can remain focused on one task for a long time, so I also answered no on the second and third questions, as well. The final question was also a no.
Where I struggle is with focusing on more than one task at a time and definitely with shifting attention from one task to another without losing focus, hence I answered yes on the fourth and fifth questions.
What the tool recommended as the top product: A probiotic-fermented Vitamin B complex for energy, brain and mood support (it also recommended various other Vitamin B complex options).
(Funny enough, my naturopath also recommended I take a B Vitamin supplement. I’ll call that a win).
I decided to take it a step further and also selected the motivation assessment, as sometimes it’s not that I lose focus so much as I lose motivation in the final couple hours of my work day. I was then asked:
Supplement Advisor’s recommendation: Mane Brain’s brain-boosting power, a supplement is designed to help you feel more energized, alert, focused, and less forgetful.
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November 12, 2020 at 11:47AM
2020's Most Overweight and Obese States in America
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and things are not looking good for the nation. People can become offended by the wording, but the facts don't change, fat is the new normal according to data from the Centers for Diesease Control and Prevention. However, beyond the obvious health issues, the cost of obesity threatens individuals and organizations as it weighs down the healthcare system. It's like a perfect storm of a population that gets sicker and sicker as it, literally, grows, and with that comes more expense and the need for more healthcare resources to be devoted to a problem that might be, arguably, self-inflicted.
This is probably the point where you might see a thousand personal trainers jump up and scream about comorbidity, health, and exercise. That's great, but there is no escaping the fact that as memberships in gyms and health clubs has increased over the last three decades, as more money has gone into the fitness industry, the increase in obesity rates has not seen a commensurate decline, in fact, the opposite.
There are also some interesting factors at play in the level of obesity, For example, while West Virginia has the lowest percentage of overweight adults, it has the second highest percentage of obese adults meaning that there is no middle ground. The problem is, frankly, very, very big. But at the end of the day, the data shows that high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholestrol pretty much track with the worst states in the charts. You can check out the infographic on obesity factors among states here.
The Facts About the High Cost of Being Fat
The following data breaks down the top 20 states by prevalence of obesity, courtesy of Wallethub. Where does your state rank? And do you know why? It's worth asking the question whether there is a culture of obesity that can be identified by state and what are the demographic, socio-economic, and cultural factors driving the statistics. Going to the gym or exercising more or eating better doesn't seem to resonate equally across state boundaries. Figuring out why is an important part of finding solutions that aren't just the usual fitness industry quick fixes and promises.
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November 10, 2020 at 10:15AM