Adolescent-Athletic Girls And Vitamin D Needs
The Better Life Experts | February 2009

“We know vitamin D deficiency can weaken the muscular and skeletal systems, but until now, little was known about the relationship of vitamin D with muscle power and force.” This statement by Dr. K. Ward, published in a lead study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, February 2009, has piqued the interest of many athletes, potential athletes, as well as parents and coaches of athletes. It also helps to explain why some girls from different parts of the United States as well as from other countries, excel at some sports.

Researchers from the University of Manchester in England, report that in a study of 99 adolescent girls between the ages of 12-14, Vitamin D levels appear to have a direct effect on muscle power as well as force. The researchers reported, “Our study found that vitamin D was positively related to muscle power, force, velocity, and jump height in adolescent girls”. In other words, higher levels of vitamin D appear to be associated with greater athletic potential in adolescent girls. In addition, the researchers also stated that girls with normal vitamin D levels performed significantly better in jumping tests than girls who were vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, has been closely linked with stronger bones and in the prevention of rickets. More recently it has also been recommended for a wide variety of health reasons in infants and in the aging population. The issue at hand today is this: Fewer girls exercise outdoors in the sun for at least 20 minutes every day, fewer drink vitamin D-fortified dairy products, fewer eat vitamin D rich foods and many girls do not supplement with vitamin D on a daily basis. In addition, many girls wear a full-potency (SPF) sun screen to prevent the harmful effects of direct sunlight when they do spend time outdoors, with this blocking the ultraviolet-B rays needed to synthesize the production of vitamin D3 in the skin.

The researchers in the Manchester study concluded, “The long-term implications of these observations require further studies.” So for now, stand by and await the latest research. In the meantime be on the safe side and make sure your children, both male and female, supplement with 400 IU of vitamin D every day.
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