Vitamin D helps with a number of different functions inside your body, and it’s unique in that it can be produced in your skin when exposed to sunlight. However, you can also take Vitamin D supplements, which have been shown to increase muscle strength and bone development in people who are Vitamin D deficient.
Vitamin D is important for individuals at all ages, but a new study suggests that it’s even more important for athletes. According to the research, not only can Vitamin D reduce your risk of suffering an injury during sports, but it can also improve sports performance.
Athletes and Vitamin D
The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, reviewed countless articles and previous studies on the effects of Vitamin D. When it came time to analyze Vitamin D intake and athletic performance, researchers were particularly interested in one study involving football players. They found that there was a statistically significant correlation between lower Vitamin D levels and being released from the team (due to poor performance or injury) prior to the start of the regular season. In other words, athletes with appropriate levels of Vitamin D were more likely to perform better on the field or stay healthier.
Another study showed similar results involving women. Participants were randomly placed into two different groups, with one group receiving Vitamin D supplements while the other group received a placebo. After testing vertical jump heights of both groups before and after administering the pills, researchers found that women in the Vitamin D group substantially increased their jumping and movement efficiency compared to the control group.
Finally, in one last study, researchers looked at the Vitamin D levels of more than 2,500 military recruits. 92 recruits suffered stress fractures in their legs at some point during training, and when their Vitamin D levels were assessed, researchers found the Vitamin D deficient recruits were 60 percent more likely to suffer a stress fracture compared to recruits with adequate levels of Vitamin D. Considering that many of the same movements and actions are used during basic training and athletic activity, it stands to reason that athletes would also be less likely to suffer a stress fracture if they had normal levels of Vitamin D in their system.
So if you are trying out for the team this summer or just want to increase your chances of staying healthy during athletic activity, make sure you increase your Vitamin D intake. Vitamin D can be found in foods like fish, cheese, soybeans, cereal, milk and dark leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale. For more information about Vitamin D intake, or to talk to a foot specialist about your foot pain, reach out to Dr. Silverman in the contact box below.