New research has connected vitamin-D deficiency to an increased risk of muscle injuries in athletes.
Researchers looked at 89 football players from a single NFL team and conducted lab tests of vitamin D levels in the spring of 2010.
The mean age of the players was 25.
The team gave the researchers data to allow them to determine which players had lost time because of muscle injuries.
The results showed that 27 players had deficient levels of the sunshine vitamin, and 45 more had levels consistent with insufficiency. Only 17 players had levels within normal limits.
Sixteen players had suffered a muscle injury—and the mean vitamin-D level of the injured players was 19.9 nh/mL, a deficient value.
"Screening and treatment of vitamin-D insuffiency in professional athletes may be a simple way to help prevent injuries," said sports medicine specialist Dr. Scott Rodeo.
The study was presented Sunday in San Diego at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's annual meeting.