An Observation of the Vitamin D Status in Highly Trained Adolescent Swimmers during the UK Autumn and Winter Months

Josh W. Newbury, Meghan A. Brown, Matthew Cole, Adam L. Kelly

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Abstract

The purpose of this research was two-fold: (a) to observe whether highly trained adolescent swimmers abide to vitamin D supplement recommendations; and (b) to monitor changes in circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) that occur between the autumn and winter months. Twenty swimmers (age: 17 ± 2 years) from a UK high-performance swimming club volunteered to complete two blood spot cards to determine their 25(OH)D concentration: the first in an autumn training phase (October) and the second during winter training (January). All swimmers were advised to consume vitamin D3 supplements across the assessment period; however, only 50% of swimmers adhered to this recommendation. Resultantly, a winter decline in 25(OH)D was observed in non-supplementing swimmers (79.6 ± 25.2 to 52.6 ± 15.1 nmol·L−1, p = 0.005), with swimmers either displaying an ‘insufficient’ (60%) or ‘deficient’ (40%) vitamin D status. In comparison, a greater maintenance of 25(OH)D occurred in supplementing swimmers (92.0 ± 25.5 to 97.2 ± 38.3 nmol·L−1, p = 0.544), although variable outcomes occurred at the individual level (four increased, three maintained, three declined). These findings highlight the possible risks of vitamin D insufficiency during the winter for swimmers in the UK, possibly requiring standardised supplement practices. Moreover, alternative educational strategies may be required for swimmers to transfer knowledge to practice in order to improve supplement adherence in future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-450
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2023

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