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Article

Associations of Vitamin D Levels with Physical Fitness and Motor Performance; A Cross-Sectional Study in Youth Soccer Players from Southern Croatia

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Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, 21000 Split, Croatia
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Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital of Split, 21000 Split, Croatia
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MOVE-IT Research Group, Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Education Sciences, University of Cadiz, 11519 Cadiz, Spain
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Biomedical Research and Innovation Institute of Cadiz (INiBICA) Research Unit, Puerta del Mar University Hospital University of Cadiz, 11009 Cadiz, Spain
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CIBER of Frailty and Healthy Aging (CIBERFES), 28001 Madrid, Spain
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School of Medicine, University of Split, 21000 Split, Croatia
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Teaching Institute of Public Health of Split Dalmatian County, 21000 Split, Croatia
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Department of Medical Laboratory Diagnostics, University Hospital of Split, 21000 Split, Croatia
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Department of Health Studies, University of Split, 21000 Split, Croatia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Filipe Manuel Clemente, Badicu Georgian and Eugenia Murawska-Ciałowicz
Biology 2021, 10(8), 751; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10080751
Received: 14 June 2021 / Revised: 31 July 2021 / Accepted: 2 August 2021 / Published: 5 August 2021
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble prohormone crucial for bone mineralization, muscle contractility, and neurological conductivity. It is theorized that Vitamin D plays an important role in sport performances, especially in young athletes. In this study we examined the associations of levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) with physical fitness and motor-performance achievements in youth soccer players from Southern Croatia. Participants were tested on physical fitness, motor performance and vitamin D at the end of the winter period, when levels of vitamin D are known to be lowest due to low exposure to sunlight. Results showed that deficiency of 25(OH)D was widespread among youth soccer players living in Southern Croatia. Low 25(OH)D levels were associated with lower results in fitness tests (i.e., tests of energetic capacities), but there was no correlation between 25(OH)D levels and the results in motor performance tests (i.e., skill tests). Our results support the theory of the association between vitamin D and energetic capacities of athletes, but there is no evidence on association between vitamin D and skill-based capacities.
Vitamin D level is known to be a factor potentially influencing physical fitness, but few studies have examined this phenomenon among youth athletes. We aimed to evaluate the associations of vitamin D levels (as measured by 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations—25(OH)D) with various physical fitness and motor performance tests in youth football (soccer) players. This cross-sectional study included a total of 52 youth soccer players (15.98 ± 2.26 years old) from Southern Croatia. The participants were evaluated at the end of the winter period and data were collected of anthropometric measures (body mass and body height), vitamin D status (25(OH)D levels), physical fitness tests (sprints of 10 and 20 m, 20 yards test, the countermovement jump, the reactive strength index (RSI)) and motor performance tests (the soccer-specific CODS, the soccer-specific agility, and static balance). Among the studied players, 54% had 25(OH)D insufficiency/deficiency, showing a lack of 25(OH)D is widespread even in youth athletes living at a southern latitude. The 25(OH)D level was correlated with sprint 20 m, 20 yards tests, and RSI, showing a greater role of 25(OH)D in physical fitness tests where energetic capacity is essential than in sport-related motor performance tests where skills are crucial. Our results support the idea that vitamin D can play a determinant role in physical fitness tests with a clear physiological component, but is not crucial in motor performance tests related to specific sports where skills are a key component. Future studies should investigate the effects of vitamin D supplementation on the performance in physical fitness and motor performance tests among youth athletes. View Full-Text
Keywords: 25(OH)D; physiology of performances; puberty; pre-planned agility; non-planned agility 25(OH)D; physiology of performances; puberty; pre-planned agility; non-planned agility
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gilic, B.; Kosor, J.; Jimenez-Pavon, D.; Markic, J.; Karin, Z.; Domic, D.S.; Sekulic, D. Associations of Vitamin D Levels with Physical Fitness and Motor Performance; A Cross-Sectional Study in Youth Soccer Players from Southern Croatia. Biology 2021, 10, 751. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10080751

AMA Style

Gilic B, Kosor J, Jimenez-Pavon D, Markic J, Karin Z, Domic DS, Sekulic D. Associations of Vitamin D Levels with Physical Fitness and Motor Performance; A Cross-Sectional Study in Youth Soccer Players from Southern Croatia. Biology. 2021; 10(8):751. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10080751

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gilic, Barbara, Jelena Kosor, David Jimenez-Pavon, Josko Markic, Zeljka Karin, Daniela Supe Domic, and Damir Sekulic. 2021. "Associations of Vitamin D Levels with Physical Fitness and Motor Performance; A Cross-Sectional Study in Youth Soccer Players from Southern Croatia" Biology 10, no. 8: 751. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10080751

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