Low 25(OH) vitamin D concentrations in international UK track and field athletes

  • N Pollock
  • P Dijkstra
  • R Chakraverty
  • B Hamilton

Abstract

Objective. While it is recognised that vitamin D deficiency is
common in the general population, there have been no studies in
elite athletes in the UK. This observational study aimed to assess
the 25 hydroxy-vitamin D (25(OH)D) status of elite athletes on
the Great Britain track and field team.
Methods. A cross-sectional observational study was performed
by analysing blood results from elite athletes on the British athletics
team (N=63; mean ± standard deviation (SD) age 24.9±4.2 years).
Athletes on the elite programme were offered blood tests through
the winter and summer of 2009 and were eligible for inclusion in
the study.
Results. Nineteen per cent (n=12) of athletes in the current
study can be classified as 25(OH)D deficient (<20 mcg/l), while a
further 29% (n=18) can be classified as having insufficient serum
25(OH)D levels (20 - 30 mcg/l). Female sex (insufficent and
deficient OH(D) prevalence 58%, n=18) and dark skin (prevalence
65%, n=20) were found to be independent predictors of serum
25(OH)D levels of <30 mcg/l.
Conclusion. This study reveals a notable prevalence of low serum
25(OH)D levels in elite athletes and subsequent management of
deficient athletes is likely to be of importance for athlete health.
The impact of these results on athletic performance remains to be
determined, and clinical trials to assess performance, particularly
muscular performance, following correction of 25(OH)D status in
deficient athletes are required.
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eISSN: 2078-516X
print ISSN: 1015-5163