Want to avoid injuries? Don’t be vitamin D deficient

  • Monday, July 1, 2013

Being a uniformed spectator at a sporting event because of an injury is anything but ideal. Stretching helps and proper strengthening techniques are beneficial, but an easy way to help prevent injuries is often overlooked.

A new study from the American Journal of Sports Medicine determined vitamin D levels are insufficient in most people, and these low levels can cause injuries in elite athletes.

For years, many believed sunshine alone could provide the necessary amount of vitamin D, but that is not the case. Dr. Bright McConnell, of Charleston Sports Medicine, treats athletes of all levels. “This recent study highlights the need for vitamin D supplements, especially in athletes,” he said. “Vitamin D is responsible for calcium and phosphate absorption in the body. This deficiency can be particularly troublesome for elite athletes.”

According the American Journal of Sports Medicine, close to one billion people are Vitamin D deficient. In the study, which included assessing levels of members of an NFL Team, 51 percent of players had insufficient vitamin D levels and players with muscle injures had significantly lower levels than players without injuries.

Vitamin D levels are checked by a simple blood test. Most people require 4 to 5000 units daily. Optimal levels have been shown to be greater than 60 ng/dL. If a patient’s levels are low, supplements are available.

“Optimal amount of vitamin D will not only help muscles but can also protect athletes from bone fractures,” McConnell said. “In addition, vitamin D helps in maintaining muscle mass and balance. Supplements are an effective way to get the Vitamin D to an optimal level. They are inexpensive and are taken once daily.”

Vitamin D supplements are available for purchase. Those interested should make sure they are being the nutraceutical from a reputable manufacturer. For more information, visit www.CharlestonSportsMed.com.

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