Vitamin D Insufficiency Associated with Football Injuries

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Vitamin D Insufficiency Associated with NFL Football Injuries
Reprinted by permission from Bill Faloon of The Life Extension Foundation

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting held in San Diego was the site of a presentation on July 10, 2011 of the finding of Michael Shindle, MD of Summit Medical Group and his colleagues of a higher incidence of vitamin D insufficiency among National Football League players with muscle injuries.

The current study included 89 NFL players aged 21 to 32 years.  Fifty-eight subjects were African American and 31 were Caucasian.  Sixteen of the players suffered from a muscle injury.  Vitamin D3 levels were tested in the spring of 2010 during routine pre-season evaluations.

Vitamin D3 deficiency, defined as a level of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter, was identified in 27 participants and insufficient levels of 20 to 31.9 nanograms per milliliter were observed in 45 subjects.  Caucasian players had an average level of 30.3 nanograms per milliliter, while African Americans averaged 20.4 nanograms per milliliter.  Among those with muscle injury, vitamin D3 levels averaged 19.9 nanograms per milliliter, which is considered deficient.

"Eighty percent of the football team we studied had vitamin D insufficiency," commented Dr. Shindle. "African American players and players who suffered muscle injuries had significantly lower levels."

"Screening and treatment of vitamin D insufficiency in professional athletes may be a simple way to help prevent injuries," added coauthor Scott A. Rodeo, MD, who is Co-Chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Joseph Lane, MD of the Hospital for Special Surgery, who also contributed to the study, concluded that "Further research also needs to be conducted in order to determine if increasing vitamin D3 leads to improved maximum muscle function."

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