Vitamin D Prevents Muscle Strains?

July 14, 2011 Leave your thoughts

Can a “sufficient ” Vitamin D level prevent muscular injuries?  Not exactly, but close enough to get my attention.  Low (“deficient”) Vitamin D levels are associated with higher muscular injury rates.One of the studies presented last week at the American Society for Orthopedic Sports Medicine tested all of the NFL football players on one team for Vitamin D levels.  Most of the muscular injuries the previous season had occurred in players with a (“deficient”) Vitamin D level of 20 ng/ml or lower .

This was not a prospective randomized double-blind study of the sort considered best scientifically.  It did not have thousands of participants.  But it is probably as good as we are likely to see.

Can you imagine professional athletes volunteering to be randomly assigned to a protocol thought to prevent injury or to a protocol thought to markedly increase injury rates?  Is it ethical to ask non-athletes to possibly be assigned to a protocol known to be associated with increased injury rates in retrospective studies?

In retrospective studies (the advantage of hindsight) we know that low Vitamin D levels are associated with increased fracture rates, lower muscle strength, poorer balance, and slower reaction times in elderly patients and the general population.  Dr Joseph Lane at Cornell published some of those as well.  This study adds elite athletes to the list.  This is not proof in the eyes of government panels, but it is good enough for this orthopedic surgeon.

Get tested for your 25-hydroxy Vitamin D level.  I aim for between 40 and 80 ng/ml.  You should too.

Jay Ginther, MD

July 2011

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