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Athletes Need Vitamin D

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We all know the benefits of vitamin D for bones, but according to a review of previous studies published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopeadic Surgeons, vitamin D supplements may also help increase muscle strength in athletes, reduce injury, and improve athletic performance.

We all know the benefits of vitamin D for bones, but according to a review of previous studies published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopeadic Surgeons, vitamin D supplements may also help increase muscle strength in athletes, reduce injury, and improve athletic performance. Among the review’s highlights:

  • In one study, athletes who received vitamin D supplements increased their upper and lower body strength compared to those receiving a placebo.
  • Another study of vitamin D deficient athletes found that those receiving 5,000 IU per day increased their vertical jump height compared to those who didn’t receive the vitamin.
  • Among 1,000 Royal Marine recruits in the UK, those with the lowest levels of vitamin D experienced a 60 percent higher incidence of stress fractures than those with the highest levels.

“Vitamin D deficiency commonly affects many people around the world,” said lead study author and orthopedic surgeon Geoffrey D. Abrams, MD, of Stanford University. “With higher serum levels of vitamin D playing a role in muscle strength, injury prevention, and sports performance, it’s essential for individuals to take necessary steps to ensure they’re getting an adequate amount of vitamin D intake.”

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Regardless of where you live—in a hot, sunny climate or further north— it’s quite possible that you aren’t getting enough of the sunshine vitamin. It’s estimated that 80 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D.

Quiz: Vitamin D Essentials

Regardless of where you live-in a hot, sunny climate or further north-it's quite possible that you aren't getting enough of the sunshine vitamin. It's estimated that 80 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. To test your knowledge of this essential nutrient, take our quiz.