News in science

Study: Vitamin D for athletes – quite the power boost!

from Mag. Margit Weichselbraun
on 01.03.2019

Like previous studies with seniors, a recent Austrian study with healthy amateur athletes shows: a sufficient intake of vitamin D supports muscle function.

In December 2018, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published an Austrian study investigating the effect of vitamin D intake on the muscle performance of 581 healthy male and female amateur athletes.

The researchers recorded the vitamin D levels (25-hydroxyvitamin D status) of the athletes and examined whether there was a relationship between their vitamin D status and maximum or sub-maximum performance on a treadmill (measured via the individual anaerobic threshold). The data set was then checked for possible influencing variables such as age, season, weekly training hours, body mass index (BMI), and nicotine consumption.

According to the results, 96 men and 75 women had a vitamin D deficiency (serum concentration: < 20 ng/ml). As expected, vitamin D status fluctuated seasonally with the lowest levels between January and March and the highest between July and September. On the other hand, there were no seasonal differences in maximum and sub-maximum performance.

The in-depth data analysis revealed a relationship between vitamin D serum levels and physical performance, particularly among male athletes. In women, the correlation between vitamin D status and performance was influenced by training hours and BMI. The researchers suspect that these gender-specific differences may be due to differences in vitamin D metabolism, biomechanics, or training behaviour.

Summary: Vitamin D is a key molecule that performs innumerable tasks in the body. It also contributes to maintaining normal muscle functions. The sun vitamin is not only of great interest to older people – athletes can also benefit from an adequate vitamin D intake in order to optimally exploit their muscular performance.

Zeitler, C. et al. 2018. Association Between the 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Status and Physical Performance in Healthy Recreational Athletes. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 15(12).

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