Football Players Are Taking Vitamin D to Reduce Injuries

The Washington Post reports that, in an effort to avoid injuries, some pro and college football teams are testing players’ vitamin D levels and prescribing more sunlight, vitamin D supplements, and food sources of vitamin D to get their levels up. This could be in response to compelling research linking low vitamin D levels with more sports injuries in professional athletes. For example,

  • one study involving players from the Pittsburgh Steelers, published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2015, found that vitamin D levels were lower in players who had at least one bone fracture compared with players who had no bone fractures, and
  • another study presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s 2011 Annual Meeting found that players from the New York Giants who sustained muscle injuries that caused them to miss at least one practice or game, had vitamin D levels that were significantly lower than players without muscle injuries.

While more research is needed to directly link higher vitamin D levels with a decreased risk of sports injuries, low levels could cause other health issues, such as a weakened immune system, which may negatively affect sports performance. Since vitamin D is an essential vitamin, you don’t have to be an elite athlete to benefit from keeping your levels up. Even for non-athletes, research has associated low vitamin D levels with poor heart, bone, and muscle health. So, show some solidarity with your favorite team by eating chow that’ll give you a vitamin D bump, like salmon steaks, salmon chowder, or deviled eggs. And while you’re at it, if you live in a sunny southern state, consider heading outside to toss around the old pigskin and catch some vitamin D stimulation from the sun.

Source: Washington Post

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