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Soldiers need vitamin D, but levels cut in half in 18 years – March 2014

Clinical relevance of optimizing vitamin d status in soldiers to enhance physical and cognitive performance.

J Spec Oper Med. 2014 Spring;14(1):58-66.
Wentz LM, Eldred JD, Henry MD, Berry-Caban CS.

Vitamin D deficiency initiates a loss of combat effectiveness by impairing physical and cognitive functioning of combat Operators.
Synthesized in response to sunlight and consumed in the diet, vitamin D functions as a hormone and regulates gene expression for nearly 300 genes throughout the human body.
These target genes are involved processes essential to combat operations, such as

  • immune function,
  • response to stress,
  • inflammation, and
  • regulation of calcium movement.

Since widespread vitamin D deficiency is observed across the U.S. population, poor vitamin D status is expected in Servicemembers.

Physical conditions linked to vitamin D deficiency include increased risk for muscle or bone injury, muscle weakness, and reduced neuromuscular function.

Hormonally, vitamin D levels have been positively correlated with testosterone levels.

Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with

  • cognitive decline,
  • depression, and
  • may prolong recovery following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

Since vitamin D deficiency elevates systemic inflammation, poor vitamin D status at the time of brain injury may prolong the inflammatory response and exacerbate postconcussive symptoms.

Furthermore, veterans with mTBI experience chronic endocrine dysfunction.

While vitamin D status has not been assessed post-mTBI, it is plausible that vitamin D levels are altered along with testosterone and growth hormone, raising the question of whether vitamin D deficiency results from trauma-related hormonal abnormalities or whether vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for endocrine dysfunction.

Through its association with testosterone production, vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since testosterone levels are altered in veterans with PTSD. Therefore, vitamin D status has a significant impact on Operator health and performance. Supplementing vitamin D to deficient Operators provides a noninvasive and low-cost intervention to maintain combat force.

PMID: 24604440

Vitamin D levels dropped by half in just 18 years in the same area



Publisher appears to charge $35 for the PDF

See also VitaminDWiki

Elsewhere in VitaminDWiki: Only half as many people had >30 ng of vitamin D 16 years later
Ginde 2009 - see also the journal article

Athletes are helped by vitamin D by:

  1. Faster reaction time
  2. Far fewer colds/flus during the winter
  3. Less sore/tired after a workout
  4. Fewer micro-cracks and broken bones
  5. Bones which do break heal much more quickly
  6. Increased VO2 and exercise endurance Feb 2011
  7. Indoor athletes especially need vitamin D
  8. Professional indoor athletes are starting to supplement with vitamin D or use vitamin D beds
  9. Olympic athletes have used UV/vitamin D since the 1930's
  10. The biggest gain from the use of vitamin D is by those who exercise less than 2 hours per day.
  11. Reduced muscle fatigue with 10,000 IU vitamin D daily
  12. Muscle strength improved when vitamin D added: 3 Meta-analysis

See also web

Attached files

ID Name Comment Uploaded Size Downloads
4487 SOF vit D decrease.jpg admin 14 Oct, 2014 01:52 38.91 Kb 2098
4484 JSOM.jpg admin 13 Oct, 2014 21:51 71.66 Kb 2066
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