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Military and Vitamin D - many studies


VitaminDWiki Overview
  • Vitamin D is essential for soldiers, to enhance physical and mental performance, and to combat stress and fatigue
  • But soldiers, like everyone, do not have enough Vitamin D
  • Basic training lowers vitamin D levels if not supplemented
  • Vitamin D levels have dropped in half around the world since the 1990's
  • Many publications have noted the decreased levels of vitamin D and health
  • Eliminating deficiency is only the first step
  • Robust vitamin D blood level should be the goal (60–80ng)
  • Most effective way to solve this problem is with an initial loading dose

     27 items + links on this page as of Jan 2021

Vitamin D Deficiency in the Military: It’s Time to Act! - Oct 2021

 Download the PDF from VitaminDWiki

86% of US military no longer have enough Vitamin D (30 ng) – Dec 2020

Page has the following comments by VitaminDWiki

  • There have been many reports of the military no longer having adequate levels of Vitamin D, but little has been done
  • A war finally caused Britain to add Vitamin C to their sailors to prevent scurvy, delayed 100 years by offical indecision after a clear-cut clinical trial of vitamin C
  • Will it take a war for the US military to restore Vitamin D levels(too late?
  • Note: in Dec 2020 we are at war with COVID-19, a war which can be won with Vitamin D

Soldiers' vitamin D levels dropped by half over 18 years – March 2014

"Clinical relevance of optimizing vitamin D status in soldiers to enhance physical and cognitive performance" paper
J Spec Oper Med. 2014 Spring;14(1):58-66.
Wentz LM, Eldred JD, Henry MD, Berry-Caban CS.

Vitamin D deficiency initiates a loss of combat effectiveness by impairing the physical and cognitive functioning of combat Operators.
Synthesized in response to sunlight and consumed in the diet, vitamin D functions as a hormone and regulates gene expression for nearly 300 genes throughout the human body.
These target genes are involved in processes essential to combat operations, such as

  • immune function,
  • response to stress,
  • inflammation, and
  • regulation of calcium movement.

Since widespread vitamin D deficiency is observed across the U.S. population, poor vitamin D status is expected in Servicemembers.

Physical conditions linked to vitamin D deficiency include increased risk for muscle or bone injury, muscle weakness, and reduced neuromuscular function.

Hormonally, vitamin D levels have been positively correlated with testosterone levels.

Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with

  • cognitive decline
  • and depression and
  • may prolong recovery following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

Since vitamin D deficiency elevates systemic inflammation, poor vitamin D status at the time of brain injury may prolong the inflammatory response and exacerbate postconcussive symptoms.

Furthermore, veterans with mTBI experience chronic endocrine dysfunction.

While vitamin D status has not been assessed post-mTBI, it is plausible that vitamin D levels are altered along with testosterone and growth hormone, raising the question of whether vitamin D deficiency results from trauma-related hormonal abnormalities or whether vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for endocrine dysfunction.

Through its association with testosterone production, vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since testosterone levels are altered in veterans with PTSD. Therefore, vitamin D status has a significant impact on Operator health and performance. Supplementing vitamin D to deficient Operators provides a noninvasive and low-cost intervention to maintain combat force.

PMID: 24604440    Download the PDF from ResearchGate via VitaminDWiki
This study was cited by 18 publications as of Jan 2021

  • Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency and Its Effects on Military Forces' Performance-A Review Study - in Farsi, not English
  • Correlations between Vitamin D Concentrations and Lipid Panels in Active Duty and Veteran Military Personnel - 2016
  • Vitamin D correlation with testosterone concentration in male US soldiers and veterans - 2016
  • Fatty Acid Blood Levels, Vitamin D Status, Physical Performance, Activity, and Resiliency: A Novel Potential Screening Tool for Depressed Mood in Active Duty. . . - 2016, free PDF
  • Vitamin D Clinical Relevance in the Recovery From Traumatic Brain Injury Among the Military Population
  • Significance of Vitamin D to tactical athletes - 2014

Chart: Vitamin D levels of everyone dropped by half over 18 years

Vitamin D levels have been crashing since 1995 (Polish Children, Elite Military, etc)
Drop in Vitamin D levels VDW#10189

Need for Routine Vitamin D Screening in Military Personnel - letter to Editor 2016

MILITARY MEDICINE, 181, 9:1163, 2016
COL Albert F. DiNicola, MC USAR (Ret.)*; Peter J. DiNicola, BS f; Lucia Sanchez*

  • Pinnacle Medical Group, 8110 Mango Avenue, Fontana, CA 92335.

f University of California, Riverside, 900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA 92521.
Dear Editor:

Vitamin D is a necessary component in repairing bone damage, decreasing predisposition to bone injury, and strengthening the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency plays a key role in the etiology of bone pathologies such as rickets, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia. In military personnel, as noted by the Deployment Health Clinical Center, low vitamin D blood levels have been associated with

  • musculoskeletal injuries and stress fractures

as well as implicated in increased susceptibility to

  • chronic musculoskeletal pain,
  • autoimmune disease,
  • cancer,
  • immune system dysfunction,
  • diabetes, and
  • post-traumatic stress disorder-mild traumatic brain injury symptoms.

Deployed Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom military personnel have a predisposition to low vitamin D levels as a result of lack of sun exposure due to uniform sleeves worn down, shade-cover-seeking behaviors, nighttime operational requirements, use of sunblock, and lack of fortified dairy products in MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). Heavy field loads, carried by Service Members and weighing 60-100 plus pounds, also increase the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
The intent of our study is to demonstrate the suboptimal blood vitamin D levels in apparently well-appearing adolescents and thus support the need for the military to routinely screen for and treat vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency so as to optimize bone health, reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, and enhance immune system function. In our study, 120 adolescents were randomly screened during routine adolescent well checks for vitamin D deficiency (25-hydroxy blood vitamin D levels 0-19.9 ng/mL) and vitamin D insufficiency (25-hydroxy blood vitamin D levels 20.0-29.9 ng/mL). Age ranges were 11-18 years, with a mean age of 14.6 years, with 53% males (63/120) and 47% females (57/120). Ethnicities in this predominantly low middle-income class population were 95% Hispanic, 4% Caucasian, and 1% Middle Eastern with vitamin D levels obtained from May 2015 to February 2016.
The results were as follows:

  • total number of patients with vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency 80% (95/120),
  • total number with vitamin D deficiency 32% (38/120),
  • total number with vitamin D insufficiency 48% (57/120),
  • total number of males with vitamin D insufficiency 56% (35/63) and deficiency 17% (11/63), and
  • total number of females with vitamin D insufficiency 39% (22/57) and deficiency 47% (27/57).

The average 25-hydroxy vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency levels were 14.7 ng/mL and 23.4 ng/mL, respectively. Our results demonstrate a high incidence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency levels in both adolescent males and females, with the percentage of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency in females (86%, 49/57) greater than in males (73%, 46/63).

In conclusion, more studies are needed to determine the prevalence of suboptimal vitamin D levels among military personnel and the general population, and possible links to other medical conditions, such as

  • nonhealing fractures,
  • chronic pain,
  • anxiety,
  • depression, and
  • post-traumatic stress disorder-mild traumatic brain injury.

Mandatory vitamin D levels should be routinely obtained on all military personnel, especially those in pre- and postdeployment mobilization phases. Obtaining blood vitamin D levels are widely available, rapid, inexpensive, and reliable.


Brain and Trauma

Bone and Muscle

Retired military

COVID-19 treated by Vitamin D - studies, reports, videos

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Overview Sports and vitamin D have the following summary
Athletes are helped by vitamin D by:

  1. Faster reaction time
  2. Far fewer colds/flus during the winter
  3. Less sore/tired after a workout
  4. Fewer micro-cracks and broken bones
  5. Bones which do break heal much more quickly
  6. Increased VO2 and exercise endurance Feb 2011
  7. Indoor athletes especially need vitamin D
  8. Professional indoor athletes are starting to take vitamin D and/or use UV beds
  9. Olympic athletes have used UV/vitamin D since the 1930's
  10. The biggest gain from the use of vitamin D is by those who exercise less than 2 hours per day.
  11. Reduced muscle fatigue with 10,000 IU vitamin D daily
  12. Muscle strength improved when vitamin D added: 3 Meta-analysis
  13. Reduced Concussions
    See also: Sports and Vitamin D category 267 items

Anabolic Adaptations Occur in Conscripts During Basic Military Training Despite High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency and Decrease in Iron Status - March 2017  Download the PDF from VitaminDWiki

VitaminDWiki pages with MILITARY in the title (24 as of May 2022)

Items found: 24
Title Modified
Military and Vitamin D - many studies 17 Jul, 2023
Vitamin deficiency in US military – Vitamin D is the most prevalent and is growing rapidly – June 2021 16 Jun, 2021
Colds substantially reduced by Vitamin D or UV during military training – Jan 2021 24 Jan, 2021
86 percent of US military no longer have enough Vitamin D (30 ng) – Dec 2020 04 Jan, 2021
Vitamin D trials by military – all 4 found benefit – review Sept 2019 08 Nov, 2019
Vitamin D levels have been crashing since 1995 (Polish Children, Elite Military, etc) 09 Sep, 2019
Huge increase in Vitamin D supplementation in the US military (2005-13) – Oct 2016 31 Aug, 2018
No military trainee consumed Vitamin D RDA (most were also low in Magnesium) – July 2018 10 Jul, 2018
Concussion which caused unconsciousness increased risk of Parkinson's by 50 percent (300,000 military) - May 2018 07 May, 2018
Military stationed in US counties with more obesity were more likely to become obese – March 2018 06 Mar, 2018
Large decreases in Vitamin D and Iron during military basic training – March 2017 16 Mar, 2017
Need for Routine Vitamin D Screening in Military Personnel – Sept 2016 03 Nov, 2016
Increased stress fractures during military training if low vitamin D (now in UK as well as US) – Jan 2016 25 Oct, 2016
Vitamin D prescriptions in US Military increased 5X in 5 years – July 2015 21 Oct, 2016
The Zika Virus Mosquito Is so Dangerous the Military Considered Using It as a Weapon - July 2016 01 Aug, 2016
Traumatic Brain Injury in military - vitamin D - 2014 08 Feb, 2016
Suicide 2X more likely with low vitamin D (in military) – Jan 2013 15 Aug, 2015
Increased Bone strength during military training – with just 800 IU of vitamin D and Calcium – RCT April 2014 29 Apr, 2014
Vitamin D might reduce military costs for UC and CD – June 2011 11 Mar, 2014
Military in hot climates and vitamin D deficiency - 2010 11 Mar, 2014
44 percent less Type 1 diabetes if high level of vitamin D – white skinned military – March 2013 13 Apr, 2013
93% of newborns of military in Hawaii had low vitamin D – March 2013 05 Mar, 2013
Vitamin D Fortification in Finnish Military - stress fracture - 2012.pdf No value for 'modification_date_major'
TBI US military No value for 'modification_date_major'

Veterans and Vitamin D - many studies 17+

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Created by admin. Last Modification: Monday July 17, 2023 16:41:15 GMT-0000 by mustak. (Version 83)
Military and Vitamin D - many studies        
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Attached files

ID Name Comment Uploaded Size Downloads
16854 Military - It’s Time to Act!.pdf PDF 2021 admin 07 Jan, 2022 01:54 111.92 Kb 323
13304 Vitamin D correlation with testosterone concentration in male US soldiers and veterans.pdf admin 09 Jan, 2020 16:53 239.35 Kb 1061
9493 Military 25 weeks.jpg admin 12 Mar, 2018 14:25 17.78 Kb 5720
9491 Anabolic Adaptations.pdf admin 12 Mar, 2018 14:19 540.74 Kb 1172
9490 Clinical relevance of optimizing vitamin D status in soldiers.pdf admin 12 Mar, 2018 13:30 1,013.12 Kb 1342
4487 SOF vit D decrease.jpg admin 14 Oct, 2014 01:52 38.91 Kb 4422
4484 JSOM.jpg admin 13 Oct, 2014 21:51 71.66 Kb 4566