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Young Israeli athletes and dancers had just 25 ng of vitamin D – Sept 2010

High prevalence of vitamin d insufficiency in athletes and dancers.

Clin J Sport Med. 2010 Sep;20(5):368-71.
Constantini NW, Arieli R, Chodick G, Dubnov-Raz G.

From the *"Hadassah Optimal" Sport Medicine Center, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel; daggerDepartment of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; and double daggerExercise, Nutrition and Lifestyle Clinic, The Edmond and Lily Safra Children's Hospital, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel.

OBJECTIVE: Vitamin D insufficiency is prevalent in various populations worldwide but with scarce data on physically active individuals. Vitamin D is important to athletes, affecting bone mass, immunity, and physical performance. This study evaluated the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency among young athletes and dancers.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

SETTING: Sport medicine clinic.

PATIENTS: Data on 98 athletes and dancers (age, 14.7 +/- 3.0 years; range, 10-30 years; 53% men), who had undergone screening medical evaluations, were extracted from medical records. INDEPENDENT VARIABLE:: Serum 25(OH)D concentrations.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Serum 25(OH)D concentrations, age, sex, sport discipline, month of blood test, and serum ferritin.
Vitamin D insufficiency was defined as serum 25(OH)D concentration <30 ng/mL.

RESULTS: Mean serum 25(OH)D concentration was 25.3 +/- 8.3 ng/mL.
Seventy-three percent of participants were vitamin D insufficient.
Prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency was higher among

  • dancers (94%),
  • basketball players (94%), and
  • Tae Kwon Do fighters (67%) and among athletes from
  • indoor versus outdoor sports (80% vs 48%; P = 0.002).


25(OH)D levels adjusted for age and sex correlated with serum ferritin and season.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, conducted among young athletes and dancers from various disciplines in a sunny country, a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency was identified. A higher rate of vitamin D insufficiency was found among participants who practice indoors, during the winter months, and in the presence of iron depletion. Given the importance of vitamin D to athletes for several reasons, we suggest that athletes and dancers be screened for vitamin D insufficiency and treated as needed. PMID: 20818195
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See also VitaminDWiki

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