I’ve come across a new research study that I wanted to share with you. This study looked at Vitamin D levels and the NFL players that have lost time to muscle injury. As part of their pre-season routine examinations, 85 NFL football players had their Vitamin D levels taken. Normal levels are considered to be 32 ng/mL or higher. Then, the amount of time each player lost to muscle injuries was tracked throughout the season. The study found that the athletes that suffered a muscle injury had an average vitamin D level of only 19.9 ng/mL!
Now, let’s look at this to figure out what it means. First of all, I’m shocked that a highly paid professional athlete would have dietary deficiencies at all. I mean, their bodies are their lively hood for goodness sake! But that aside, does it mean that low vitamin D levels mean you are more likely to see injuries? Maybe. The study didn’t mention if their were any other dietary deficiencies, but it’s certainly possible that if the athletes were low in vitamin D they may have been low in other nutrients. Should we make sure we have adequate vitamin D levels? Absolutely!
Some vitamin D facts:
- It’s important for bone density (preventing osteoporosis)
- Normals levels prevent heart attack and make it more likely to survive one if you do have one.
- Colon, breast and ovarian cancer have been linked to deficiency
- Good levels of vitamin D have been linked to a stronger immune system.
- Alzheimer’s patients have lower vitamin D levels (unknown if this is a cause or result of the disease)
- Good vitamin D levels result in less falls in the elderly.
- Has been suggested to be linked to mood, depression and cognitive function.
Wow! With all those benefits, we certainly should make sure you get enough. So where do you get vitamin D? In the summer, your skin will make vitamin D when exposed to the sun. However, in Canada you do not get enough sun exposure in the winter to meet our body’s requirements.
Milk, and most soy and rice milks, are fortified with vitamin D so you may be getting your requirements there. Dietary sources include oily fish (cod, salmon, tuna), eggs and liver. Unfortunately, you would have to consume large quantities of these foods to meet your requirements. Normally, I’m in favour of getting good nutrition through really food, not tablets, but if you vitamin D is one time that we must supplement if you don’t drink milk or milk substitutes.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that you must follow recommendations when taking vitamin D supplements. The recommended daily dose for an adult is 600-800 IU/day. 4000 IU/day is considered the upper tolerable limit for this vitamin and you will see the effects of toxicity above these levels.
Hope this was informative. Remember, good nutrition is one of the keys to injury prevention! If you do end up with an injury, why not give us a call at Pure Chiropractic 250-585-8866.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Jason Hare