Due to the potential negative impact of low Vitamin D status on performance-related factors and the higher risk of low Vitamin D status in Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) population, research is warranted to determine whether elite athletes with SCI have sufficient 25(OH)D levels. The purposes of this study were to examine: (1) the seasonal proportion of vitamin D insufficiency among elite athletes with SCI; and (2) to determine whether lifestyle factors, SCI lesion level, and muscle performance/function are related to vitamin D status in athletes with SCI. Methods:
Thirty-nine members of the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association, and the US Olympic Committee Paralympic program from outdoor and indoor sports were recruited for this study. Dietary and lifestyle factors, and serum 25(OH)D concentrations were assessed during the autumn (October) and winter (February/March). An independent t-test was used to assess differences in 25(OH)D status among seasons, and indoor and outdoor sports in the autumn and winter, respectively. Results:
Mean ± SD serum 25(OH)D concentration was 69.6 ± 19.7 nmol/L (range from 30 to 107.3 nmol/L) and 67.4 ± 25.5 nmol/L (range from 20 to 117.3 nmol/L)in the autumn and winter, respectively. In the autumn, 15.4% of participants were considered vitamin D deficient (25(OH)D < 50 nmol/L) whereas 51.3% had 25(OH)D concentrations that would be considered insufficient (<80 nmol/L). In the winter, 15.4% were deficient while 41% of all participants were considered vitamin D insufficient. Conclusion:
A substantial proportion of elite athletes with SCI have insufficient (41%–51%) and deficient (15.4%) 25(OH)D status in the autumn and winter. Furthermore, a seasonal decline in vitamin D status was not observed in the current study.
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