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.
Vitamin D levels dropped by half in just 18 years in the same area
See also VitaminDWiki
- Huge increase in Vitamin D in the US military (2005-13) – Oct 2016
- Mild Traumatic Brain Injury reduced by Vitamin D – May 2014 by Wentz
- Vitamin D aided progesterone in reducing traumatic brain injury – RCT Dec 2012
- Traumatic brain injury treated by Vitamin D Progesterone Omega-3 and glutamine – May 2013
- US Army learning about benefits of vitamin D to trauma – Dec 2013
- Soldiers need vitamin D, but levels cut in half in 18 years – March 2014
- Suicide 2X more likely with low vitamin D (in military) – Jan 2013
- Vitamin D might reduce military costs for UC and CD – June 2011
- Military in hot climates and vitamin D deficiency - 2010
- Vitamin D levels dropped after training for white, but not black females April 2010
- VA found less testing for vitamin D resulted in increased health costs – Jan 2012
- Perhaps Stress fractures 2X less frequent if 4000 IU of vitamin D – June 2011
- Vitamin D provides faster recovery after muscle overuse – April 2013
- Muscle inflammation 17X more probable if vitamin D deficient – Feb 2013
- Increased Bone strength during military training – with just 800 IU of vitamin D and Calcium – RCT April 2014
- 3X more kids were vitamin D deficient when entering UK hospitals than 4 years before – Oct 2014
- Stress fractures in basic training associated with 2.5 ng less vitamin D – meta-analysis Nov 2014
Elsewhere in VitaminDWiki: Only half as many people had >30 ng of vitamin D 16 years later
- Overview Sports and vitamin D has the following summary
Athletes are helped by vitamin D by:
- Faster reaction time
- Far fewer colds/flus during the winter
- Less sore/tired after a workout
- Fewer micro-cracks and broken bones
- Bones which do break heal much more quickly
- Increased VO2 and exercise endurance Feb 2011
- Indoor athletes especially need vitamin D
- Professional indoor athletes are starting to supplement with vitamin D or use vitamin D beds
- Olympic athletes have used UV/vitamin D since the 1930's
- The biggest gain from the use of vitamin D is by those who exercise less than 2 hours per day.
- Reduced muscle fatigue with 10,000 IU vitamin D daily
- Muscle strength improved when vitamin D added: 3 Meta-analysis
- Sports and Vitamin D category
See also web
- Femoral and tibial stress fractures associated with vitamin D insufficiency J R Army Med Corps, March 2014
- Correction: Low Vitamin D Status and Suicide: A Case-Control Study of Active Duty Military Service Members. Sept 2013 full text online
- Bone Mineral Density Loss Following Combat-Related Lower Extremity Amputation Aug 2013
- Diet, physical activity, and bone density in soldiers before and after deployment. April 2013
- Vitamin D status, dietary intake, and bone turnover in female Soldiers during military training: a longitudinal study. Aug 2012
- Army conducting joint study to improve bone health in military personnel Jan 2014
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