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Gal Dubnov-Raz, Harri Hemilä, Avner H. Cohen, Barak Rinat, Lauryn Choleva and Naama W. Constantini

Observational studies identified associations between vitamin D insufficiency (serum 25(OH)D > 30ng·ml−1) and risk of upper respiratory infection (URI). Swimmers are highly prone to URIs, which might hinder their performance. The aim of this study was to examine if vitamin D3 supplementation reduces URI burden in vitamin D-insufficient swimmers. Fifty-five competitive adolescent swimmers with vitamin D insufficiency were randomized to receive vitamin D3 (2,000IU·d4) or placebo for 12 winter weeks. A URI symptom questionnaire was completed weekly. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were measured by radio-immunoassay before and after supplementation. We used linear regression to examine the relation between the change in 25(OH)D concentrations during the trial, and the duration and severity of URIs. There were no between-group differences in the frequency, severity, or duration of URIs. Exploratory analyses revealed that in the placebo group only, the change in 25(OH)D concentrations during the trial was highly associated with the duration of URIs (r = −0.90,p > .001), and moderately associated with the severity of URIs (r = −0.65,p = .043). The between-group differences for duration were highly significant. Vitamin D3 supplementation in adolescent swimmers with vitamin D insufficiency did not reduce URI burden. However, larger decreases in serum 25(OH)D concentrations were associated with significantly longer and more severe URI episodes.

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Lothar Rokitzki, Andree N. Sagredos, Friedrich Reuß, Michael Büchner and Josef Keul

The vitamin B6 status of 13 endurance athletes was determined by whole blood B6 (microbiological) and urine 4-pyridoxic acid (4-PA) (HPLC), serum vitamin B6 (pyridoxal, pyridoxol, pyridoxamin) (HPLC), and erythrocyte α- EGOT measurements with the aid of 7-day records. In addition, blood and serum samples and urine were collected before (Time A), directly after (Time B), and 2 hr after a marathon race (Time C). The total energy intake was 12,303 ± 3,464 Wday (34% fat, 48% carbohydrates, 14% protein). The vitamin B6 intake, serum concentrations, α-EGOT value, and 4-PA excretion were higher than the reference values at Time A. Only the vitamin B6 whole blood levels were below the normal level at Time A. The vitamin B, status of the athletes corresponded essentially to reference values obtained for untrained individuals. There was a mean loss of about 1 mg vitamin B6 as a result of the marathon race. Vitamin B6 supplementation does not appear necessary if a balanced diet is consumed.

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Nina Rica Wium Geiker, Mette Hansen, Jette Jakobsen, Michael Kristensen, Rikke Larsen, Niklas R. Jørgensen, Birthe S. Hansen and Susanne Bügel

Impaired muscle function has been coupled to vitamin D insufficiency in young women and in elderly men and women. Those living at Northern latitudes are at risk for vitamin D insufficiency due to low sun exposure which may be more pronounced among elite swimmers because of their indoor training schedules. We aimed to examine vitamin D status among young elite swimmers and evaluate the association between vitamin D status and muscle strength. Twenty-nine swimmers, 12 female and 17 male (16–24 years) residing at latitude 55–56°N were studied in March and April. Blood samples were analyzed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (s-25(OH)D) and hand-grip strength was measured as marker of muscle strength. Subjects´ vitamin D and calcium intake were assessed by food frequency questionnaire and sun exposure and training status by questionnaires. Mean (± SD) s-25(OH)D was 52.6 ± 18.3nmol/L among all swimmers. In 45% of the swimmers s-25(OH)D was below 50 nmol/L. Female swimmers had higher s-25(OH)D concentration than male swimmers (61.7 ± 17,5 nmol/L vs. 46.2 ± 16,5 nmol/L, p = .026). Among male swimmers, those with sufficient vitamin D status had higher hand grip strength than those with insufficient vitamin D status (50.6 ± 6.4 kg vs. 41.1 ± 7.8 kg, p = .02). Among Danish elite swimmers 45% had an insufficient vitamin D status during the spring; the prevalence being higher among male swimmers. Muscle strength was significantly higher in male swimmers with sufficient vitamin D status.

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Jeffery Sobal and Leonard F. Marquart

Vitamin/mineral supplements are often used by athletes as ergogenic aids to improve performance. This paper reviews studies of the prevalence, patterns, and explanations for vitamin/mineral supplement use among athletes. Fifty-one studies provided quantitative prevalence data on 10,274 male and female athletes at several levels of athletic participation in over 15 sports. The overall mean prevalence of athletes’ supplement use was 46%. Most studies reported that over half of the athletes used supplements (range 6% to 100%), and the larger investigations found lower prevalence levels. Elite athletes used supplements more than college or high school athletes. Women used supplements more often than men. Varying patterns existed by sport. Athletes appear to use supplements more than the general population, and some take high doses that may lead to nutritional problems. Sport nutritionists should include a vitamin/mineral supplement history as part of their dietary assessment so they can educate athletes about vitamin/mineral supplements and athletic performance.

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Laurel M. Wentz, Pei-Yang Liu, Jasminka Z. Ilich and Emily M. Haymes

Background:

High rates of vitamin D deficiency have been reported in athletes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the associations between vitamin D with bone health and parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations in female runners who trained at 30.4° degrees north.

Methods:

Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH) D), PTH, body composition, and bone mineral density (BMD) were measured in 59 female runners, aged 18–40 years. Stress fracture history, training duration and frequency were evaluated by questionnaire. As per National Endocrine Society cut-offs, serum vitamin D ranges were: 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/L for deficient; 50–75 nmol/L for insufficient; and ≥ 75 nmol/L for sufficient status.

Results:

Mean serum 25(OH)D concentrations were 122.6 ± 63.9 nmol/L, with 18.6% of subjects in the deficient (5.1%) or insufficient (13.5%) range. No significant differences were observed between sufficient and deficient/insufficient subjects for BMD, PTH, history of stress fractures, or demographic data.

Conclusions:

The majority of distance runners maintained sufficient vitamin D status, suggesting that training outdoors in latitude where vitamin D synthesis occurs year-round reduces the risk for vitamin D deficiency. Data do not support the indiscriminate supplementation of outdoor athletes in southern latitudes without prior screening.

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Jenna E. Heller, Joi J. Thomas, Bruce W. Hollis and D. Enette Larson-Meyer

Excess body fat or obesity is known to increase risk of poor vitamin D status in nonathletes but it is not known if this is the case in athletes. Furthermore, the reason for this association is not understood, but is thought to be due to either sequestration of the fat-soluble vitamin within adipose tissue or the effect of volume dilution related to obese individuals’ larger body size. Forty two US college athletes (24 men 18 women, 20.7 ± 1.6 years, 85.0 ± 28.7 kg, BMI = 25.7 ± 6.1 kg/m2) provided blood samples during the fall and underwent measurement of body composition via dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Serum samples were evaluated for 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration to assess vitamin D status using Diasorin 25(OH)D radioiodine assay. Serum 25(OH)D concentration was negatively associated with height (r = -0.45), total body mass (r = -0.57), BMI (r = -0.57), body fat percentage (r = -0.45), fat mass (r = -0.60) and fat-free mass (r = -0.51) (p < .05). These associations did not change after controlling for sex. In a linear regression mixed model, fat mass (coefficient -0.47, p = .01), but not fat-free mass (coefficient -0.18, p = .32) significantly predicted vitamin D status and explained approximately 36% of the variation in serum 25(OH)D concentration. These results suggest that athletes with a large body size and/or excess adiposity may be at higher risk for vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency. In addition, the significant association between serum 25(OH)D concentration and fat mass in the mixed model, which remained after controlling for sex, is in support of vitamin D sequestration rather than volume dilution as an explanation for such association.

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Chad J. Krumbach, Dave R. Ellis and Judy A. Driskell

The influences of gender, ethnicity, and sport of varsity athletes on their vitamin/mineral supplementation habits were examined. Subjects included 145 females and 266 males from 22 varsity teams; 80% were Caucasian; 12% African American; and 8% Combined-Other. Over half of the subjects took supplements. Males were more likely than females to give "too expensive" as a reason for not taking supplements, and "improve athletic performance" and "build muscle" as reasons for taking supplements. The most common supplement was multivitamins plus minerals. Females were more likely to take calcium and iron, and males vitamins B 12 and A. African Americans were the most likely to take vitamin A. Males were more likely to get supplement information from nutritionists/dietitians and self, and females from family members or friends and physicians or pharmacists. Football players were more likely to get supplement information from nutritionists/dietitians, and males in other sports from coaches/trainers. There were some differences in vitamin/mineral supplement habits of the athletes by gender, ethnicity, and sport.

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Regina M. Lewis, Maja Redzic and D. Travis Thomas

The purpose of this 6-month randomized, placebo-controlled trial was to determine the effect of season-long (September–March) vitamin D supplementation on changes in vitamin D status, which is measured as 25(OH) D, body composition, inflammation, and frequency of illness and injury. Forty-five male and female athletes were randomized to 4,000 IU vitamin D (n = 23) or placebo (n = 22). Bone turnover markers (NTx and BSAP), 25(OH)D, and inflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL1-β) were measured at baseline, midpoint, and endpoint. Body composition was assessed by DXA and injury and illness data were collected. All athletes had sufficient 25(OH)D (> 32 ng/ml) at baseline (mean: 57 ng/ml). At midpoint and endpoint, 13% and 16% of the total sample had 25(OH)D < 32 ng/ml, respectively. 25(OH)D was not positively correlated with bone mineral density (BMD) in the total body, proximal dual femur, or lumbar spine. In men, total body (p = .04) and trunk (p = .04) mineral-free lean mass (MFL) were positively correlated with 25(OH)D. In women, right femoral neck BMD (p = .02) was positively correlated with 25(OH)D. 25(OH)D did not correlate with changes in bone turnover markers or inflammatory cytokines. Illness (n = 1) and injury (n = 13) were not related to 25(OH)D; however, 77% of injuries coincided with decreases in 25(OH)D. Our data suggests that 4,000 IU vitamin D supplementation is an inexpensive intervention that effectively increased 25(OH)D, which was positively correlated to bone measures in the proximal dual femur and MFL. Future studies with larger sample sizes and improved supplement compliance are needed to expand our understanding of the effects of vitamin D supplementation in athletes.

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Richard D. Telford, Edward A. Catchpole, Vicki Deakin, Allan G. Hahn and Ashley W. Plank

The effect of vitamin and mineral supplementation was studied over 7 to 8 months of training and competition in 82 athletes from four sports: basketball, gymnastics, rowing, and swimming. Matched subgroups were formed and a double-blind design used, with subgroups being given either the supplementation or a placebo. All athletes were monitored to ensure that the recommended daily intakes (RDI) of vitamins and minerals were provided by diet alone. Sport-specific and some common tests of strength as well as aerobic and anaerobic fitness were performed. Coaches' assessment of improvement was also obtained. The only significant effect of supplementation was observed in the female basketball players, in which the supplementation was associated with increased body weight, skinfold sum, and jumping ability. A significant increase in skinfold sum was also demonstrated over the whole group as a result of supplementation. In general, however, this study provided little evidence of any effect of supplementation to athletic performance for athletes consuming the dietary RDIs.

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Evelien Backx, Cindy van der Avoort, Michael Tieland, Kamiel Maase, Arie Kies, Luc van Loon, Lisette de Groot and Marco Mensink

Studies monitoring vitamin D status in athletes are seldom conducted for a period of 12 months or longer, thereby lacking insight into seasonal fluctuations. The objective of the current study was to identify seasonal changes in total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration throughout the year. Fifty-two, mainly Caucasian athletes with a sufficient 25(OH)D concentration (>75 nmol/L) in June were included in this study. Serum 25(OH)D concentration was measured every three months (June, September, December, March, June). In addition, vitamin D intake and sun exposure were assessed by questionnaires at the same time points. Highest total 25(OH)D concentrations were found at the end of summer (113 ± 26 nmol/L), whereas lowest concentrations were observed at the end of winter (78 ± 30 nmol/L). Although all athletes had a sufficient 25(OH)D concentration at the start of the study, nearly 20% of the athletes were deficient (<50 nmol/L) in late winter.