A recent study presented at the[removed] American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine[/removed]’s Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif, suggests that a lack of vitamin D might increase the chance of muscle injuries in athletes, specifically NFL football players.

"Eighty percent of the football team we studied had vitamin D insufficiency. African American players and players who suffered muscle injuries had significantly lower levels," said lead researcher Michael Shindle, MD.

Researchers identified 89 football players from a single NFL team and provided laboratory testing of vitamin D levels in the spring 2010 as part of routine pre-season evaluations. The mean age of the players was 25. The team provided data to determine the number of players who had lost time due to muscle injuries. Vitamin D levels were then classified based on player race and time lost due to muscle injury.

Twenty-seven players had deficient levels, and an additional 45 had levels consistent with insufficiency. Seventeen players had values within normal limits. The mean vitamin D level in white players was 30.3 ng/mL while the mean level for black players was 20.4 ng/mL. Sixteen players suffered a muscle injury with a mean vitamin D level of 19.9.

"Screening and treatment of vitamin D insufficiency in professional athletes may be a simple way to help prevent injuries," said Scott Rodeo, MD, co-chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery, New York.

[Source: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine via Medical News Today]