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Correcting Vitamin D Insufficiency Improves Some But Not All Aspects of Physical Performance During Winter Training in Taekwondo Athletes

Hyun Chul Jung, Myong Won Seo, Sukho Lee, Sung Woo Jung, and Jong Kook Song

We investigated the effects of vitamin D3 supplementation on physical performance during winter training in vitamin D insufficient taekwondo athletes. Thirty-five collegiate male and female taekwondo athletes, aged 19–22 years with low serum 25(OH)D concentration (28.8 ± 1.10 nmol/L), were randomly assigned to a vitamin D group (n = 20) or a placebo group (n = 15). Subjects received either a vitamin D3 capsule (5,000 IU/day) or a placebo during 4 weeks of winter training. Blood samples were collected for analyzing serum 25(OH)D concentration. Physical performance tests included Wingate anaerobic test, isokinetic muscle strength and endurance, a countermovement jump test, sit-ups, agility test, and 20-m pacer. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations increased significantly in the vitamin D group (96.0 ± 3.77 nmol/L) after 4 weeks of supplementation, but no changes were found in the placebo group (F = 242.44, p = .000). There were significant interaction effects for anaerobic peak power (F = 7.49, p = .010) and isokinetic knee extension at 180 deg/s (F = 6.08, p = .019). Changes in serum 25(OH)D concentration were positively associated with changes in peak power and isokinetic knee extension at 180 deg/s. However, no significant interaction effects were observed in other performance variables. This study suggests that 4 weeks of vitamin D supplementation elevates serum 25(OH)D concentration to sufficient levels. Correcting vitamin D insufficiency improves some but not all aspects of performance. Thus, efficacy of vitamin D supplementation to enhance performance remains unclear.