Players with higher vitamin D levels were less likely to get cut from the team during preseason in a study involving members of the Pittsburg Steelers, the Vitamin D Council reports. Higher levels also related to less likelihood of suffering broken bones.
“Based on these findings, routine monitoring and optimization of vitamin D levels should be considered as part of the routine care of NFL players, with special attention to black athletes,” the authors wrote in their conclusion.
The 21 players released from the Steelers during the preseason that year had significantly lower vitamin D levels than those who made the team, possibly indicating poorer performance the authors said. Those with sufficient vitamin D levels had also played significantly more NFL seasons that those who were deficient. Overall, the players did have higher vitamin D levels that the general population.
Vitamin D Council founder John Cannell, who has written extensively about the impact of Vitamin D on athletic performance, suggested that the results might relate to the influence of sun exposure just as much as vitamin D specifically.
“Increasingly, I am finding that sunlight offers benefits above and beyond that of vitamin D,” Canell wrote. “It is easy to forget that vitamin D blood levels, as were measured in this study, are a marker for both vitamin D and sun exposure. This is why the Vitamin D Council recommends safe and sensible sun exposure, along with vitamin D supplements on the days you can’t get adequate sunshine.”
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