“Slight Edge Performance Program”: Alarming Vitamin D Deficiencies in NFL Football Players
According to a study presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine 2011 Annual Meeting, vitamin D deficiency might be unusually high among American football players, with black players and players who have suffered muscle injuries showing significantly lower vitamin D levels.
According to the study, researchers tested the vitamin D levels of 89 professional football players from the New York Giants National Football League (NFL) team in the spring of 2010 and found that 27 players (30.3%) had deficient vitamin D levels (below 20 ng/mL). As many as 45 players (50.6%) had levels consistent with vitamin D insufficiency (between 20 and 31.9 ng/mL). Only 17 players (19.1%) had values within normal limits (above 32 ng/mL).
Lead author Michael K. Shindle, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon from Summit Medical Group, in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey said, “We found that an alarming percentage of players — 80.9% — had abnormal vitamin D levels of less than 32 ng/mL.”
Dr. Michael K. Shindle added that all players sustaining injuries that caused them to miss at least 1 practice or game had vitamin D levels that were significantly lower than players without muscle injury.
The study done with the NFL’s New York Giants consisted of 31 white players and 58 black players. Blacks tend to have lower vitamin D levels than whites in the general population. “Up to 93% of African American players had abnormal vitamin D levels, compared with 31% of white players,” Dr. Shindle said.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin required by the body for the proper absorption of calcium, bone development, control of cell growth, neuromuscular functioning, proper immune functioning, and alleviation of inflammation.
Why is Vitamin D important for good health and athletic performance?
Dr. Shindle says, “It’s also been shown that vitamin D can increase the number of type II, or fast twitch, muscle fibers.” This is very important for athletes who want to get faster and increase their speed.
According to a 2009 study published in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,” maintaining proper levels of vitamin D helps your body to properly use calcium, a mineral required for proper functioning of your muscles, including fast twitch muscle fibers. Consuming vitamin D can increase the number of fast twitch muscle fibers within your muscle tissue, as well as increase the size of these fibers. Overall, this translates to an increase in athletic performance.
Inadequate levels of vitamin D can lead to a weakened immune system, increased cancer risk, poor hair growth, and osteomalacia, a condition of weakened muscles and bones.
Other Benefits of vitamin D?
•It is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous which help support and maintain healthy bones.
•It is an immune system regulator.
•It may be an important way to arm the immune system against disorders like the common cold.
What is the best way to get vitamin D?
Vitamin D for humans is obtained from sun exposure, food and supplements. Sunlight promotes sufficient vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Foods that contain vitamin D include fish oils, fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and certain mushrooms.
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http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/746310:’Alarming’ Vitamin D Deficiencies in NFL Football Players. Medscape. Jul 13, 2011.
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