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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of fall season vitamin D3 supplementation on strength/power, body composition, and anabolic hormones in swimmers with optimal vitamin D status at summer’s end. Male and female National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I swimmers (N = 19) with optimal 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] randomly received 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 (VITD) or placebo (PLA) daily for 12 weeks while participating in swimming and strength and conditioning training (August–November). Before and after the intervention, the participants underwent blood sampling for analysis of serum 25(OH)D, parathyroid hormone, total testosterone, free testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, and insulin-like growth factor 1, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and strength/power testing (bench press, squat, dead lift, standing broad jump, vertical jump, and dips and pull-ups). Sex was used as a covariate for analyses. The 25(OH)D was decreased by 44% in PLA (p < .05) and increased by 8% in VITD over the 12 weeks. Fat-free mass increased in VITD (56.4–59.1 kg; p < .05), but not PLA (59.4–59.7 kg; p < .01). Significant Group × Time interaction effects were observed for dead lift (F = 21.577, p < .01) and vertical jump (F = 11.219, p < .01), but no other strength/power tests. Total testosterone decreased similarly in both groups, but free testosterone decreased and sex hormone-binding globulin increased only in PLA (p < .01). There were no group differences or changes in insulin-like growth factor 1 with the intervention. The findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation is an efficacious strategy to maintain 25(OH)D during the fall season training and to enhance some aspects of strength/power and fat-free mass in swimmers. Further research on the relationship between vitamin D and anabolic hormones is needed.

Rockwell, Frisard, Rankin, Mcmillan, Davy, and Hulver are with the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA. Zabinsky is with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA. You is with the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA.

Rockwell (msrock@vt.edu) is corresponding author.
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