Study: College football players lack sufficient vitamin D

A new study suggests more than half of college football players lack suffcient vitamin D, which could lead to muscle strain and injury. Pictured, the Clemson Tigers celebrate their victory against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the fourth quarter of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, in Tampa, Florida on January 10, 2017. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 19 (UPI) — Researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery, or HSS, in New York found in a new study that more than half of college football athletes participating in the NFL Combine lacked adequate levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is produced by the skin from sun exposure, but is also found in milk, orange juice and fortified foods. Increased use of sunscreen and sun avoidance to protect against skin cancer may account for roughly 40 percent of the U.S. population having vitamin D deficiency, the researchers note.

“Vitamin D has been shown to play a role in muscle function and strength,” Dr. Scott Rodeo, co-chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at HSS, said in a press release. “While most prior studies have focused on the aging population as the group most likely to experience the harmful effects of inadequate vitamin D, few reports have looked at the impact on muscle injury and function in the high performance athlete.”

The study included 214 college athletes who participated in the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, a weeklong annual event where college football players perform physical tests in front of coaches, general managers and scouts to potentially be drafted into the NFL.

Researchers gathered baseline data on age, body mass index, injury history and whether athletes missed any games due to muscle injury.

Roughly 59 percent of college football players in the study showed abnormal serum vitamin D levels, including 10 percent of athletes with severe vitamin D deficiency.

Researchers saw a significantly higher incidence of lower extremity muscle strain and core muscle injury in participants who had low vitamin D levels. There were 14 study participants who reported missing at least one game due to muscle strain and 86 percent of those participants had low levels of vitamin D.

“Our primary finding is that NFL Combine athletes at greatest risk for lower extremity muscle strain or core muscle injury had lower levels of vitamin D,” Rodeo said. “This could be related to physiologic changes that occur to muscle composition in deficient states. Awareness of the potential for vitamin D inadequacy could lead to early recognition of the problem in certain athletes. This could allow for supplementation to bring levels up to normal and potentially prevent future injury.”

The study was presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting on March 16.


  1. “Vitamin” D is not a vitamin at all. It is to a true vitamin as a blue whale to a bluegill.

    The active form of vitamin D is calcitriol. Calcitriol is BY FAR the most potent steroid human steroid, approximately 1 trillion X more potent, in terms of molecular weight, as testosterone, for example. Calcitriol holds the record for a molecule’s ability to affect the human genome. Calcitriol transcribes, or promotes transcription, more than any other known substance.

    The experts, scientists and researchers focused solely on vitamin D research and human impact, suggest STRONGLY that everyone maintain for life a blood level in the range of 50-70 ng/ml, 25 OH D.

    Your doctor is not an expert. Research vitamin D at Grassroots Health, The Vitamin D Council, or VitaminDwiki (NOT Wiki Vitamin D). These non-profits are attuned to the latest research and post blood level recommendations concerning vitamin D.

    Vitamin D toxicity begins at not less than 250 ng/ml, and more probably 300+ ng/ml. No one taking typical doses (5,000-10,000 i.u. daily) will ever approach that level. Warnings of vitamin D toxicity are myths from medical school and completely false. No doctor or medical professional should ever warn of such an issue unless they suspect their patient is a pill popping maniac.

    No one has ever died from D toxicity in at least the last 15 years. ALL such poisonings were due to oddball off label super supplements with no, or little, quality control.

    It is 15-20,000,000 X more likely you are vitamin D insufficient, or deficient, than suffering from toxicity.

    Forget any and all mention of toxicity…it’s a sign of total ignorance on the subject.

    Most people in good shape can achieve this by supplementing 5,000-10,000 units daily of vitamin D3. Remember, ALWAYS supplement D3, as opposed to D2. D2 is manifestly inferior to the natural D3 molecule (cholecalciferol). D2 is often the “prescription” vitamin form and is prescribed from ignorance and old habits. To restate, D2, prescription vitamin D, is to be avoided and never consumed when D3 is available at any drugstore, over the counter. Also be aware D2, the synthetic, inferior form, will not provide the benefits of the natural molecule.

    The Chicago Black Hawks were the first pro hockey team to supplement 5,000 i.u. daily. That same year they won the Stanley Cup and recorded a 50%+ drop in sickness and injuries which would normally have made players unavailable for play.

    Look it up.


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