Vitamin D and Athletes

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While it is well recognized that vitamin D is necessary for optimal bone health, emerging evidence is finding that adequate vitamin D intake reduces risk for conditions such as stress fracture, total body inflammation, infectious illness, and impaired muscle function. Studies in athletes have found that vitamin D status is variable and is dependent on outdoor training time (during peak sunlight), skin color, and geographic location. Although research has found that athletes generally do not meet the U.S. dietary reference intake for vitamin D, inadequate endogenous synthesis is the most probable reason for insufficient/deficient status. Given the recent findings, it is imperative that sports dietitians and physicians routinely assess vitamin D status and make recommendations to help athletes achieve a serum 25(OH)D concentration of ≥32 and preferably ≥40 ng·mL−1. Further research is needed to determine the effect of vitamin D status on injury, training, and performance in athletes.

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