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Review

The Benefits of Vitamin D Supplementation for Athletes: Better Performance and Reduced Risk of COVID-19

1
Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center, P.O. Box 641603, San Francisco, CA 94164-1603, USA
2
VitaminDWiki, 2289 Highland Loop, Port Townsend, WA 98368, USA
3
Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
4
Center for Transformative Research on Health Behaviors, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion, Roanoke, VA 24016, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(12), 3741; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123741
Received: 14 November 2020 / Revised: 2 December 2020 / Accepted: 2 December 2020 / Published: 4 December 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is having major economic and personal consequences for collegiate and professional sports. Sporting events have been canceled or postponed, and even when baseball and basketball seasons resumed in the United States recently, no fans were in attendance. As play resumed, several players developed COVID-19, disrupting some of the schedules. A hypothesis now under scientific consideration is that taking vitamin supplements to raise serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations could quickly reduce the risk and/or severity of COVID-19. Several mechanisms have been identified through which vitamin D could reduce the risks of infection and severity, death, and long-haul effects of COVID-19: (1) inducing production of cathelicidin and defensins to reduce the survival and replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus; (2) reducing inflammation and the production of proinflammatory cytokines and risk of the “cytokine storm” that damages the epithelial layer of the lungs, heart, vascular system, and other organs; and (3) increasing production of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, thus limiting the amount of angiotensin II available to the virus to cause damage. Clinical trials have confirmed that vitamin D supplementation reduces risk of acute respiratory tract infections, and approximately 30 observational studies have shown that incidence, severity, and death from COVID-19 are inversely correlated with serum 25(OH)D concentrations. Vitamin D supplementation is already familiar to many athletes and sports teams because it improves athletic performance and increases playing longevity. Thus, athletes should consider vitamin D supplementation to serve as an additional means by which to reduce risk of COVID-19 and its consequences. View Full-Text
Keywords: athletic performance; COVID-19; acute respiratory tract infections; immunity; team sports; vitamin D; 25-hydroxyvitamin D athletic performance; COVID-19; acute respiratory tract infections; immunity; team sports; vitamin D; 25-hydroxyvitamin D
MDPI and ACS Style

Grant, W.B.; Lahore, H.; Rockwell, M.S. The Benefits of Vitamin D Supplementation for Athletes: Better Performance and Reduced Risk of COVID-19. Nutrients 2020, 12, 3741. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123741

AMA Style

Grant WB, Lahore H, Rockwell MS. The Benefits of Vitamin D Supplementation for Athletes: Better Performance and Reduced Risk of COVID-19. Nutrients. 2020; 12(12):3741. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123741

Chicago/Turabian Style

Grant, William B., Henry Lahore, and Michelle S. Rockwell 2020. "The Benefits of Vitamin D Supplementation for Athletes: Better Performance and Reduced Risk of COVID-19" Nutrients 12, no. 12: 3741. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123741

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