Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

Charles Dumke

Commitee Members

Charlie Woida, Blakely Brown


athletic performance, vitamin D


University of Montana


In addition to the well-established role of vitamin D in bone health, there is evidence to suggest that vitamin D may also be associated with the prevention of a wide array of non-skeletal, autoimmune, and chronic diseases. In addition, correlational studies suggest that maintaining a sufficient vitamin D status may positively influence athletic performance indicators, namely strength, power, speed, cardiorespiratory fitness, reaction time, coordination, and body composition. However, there is a lack of consensus among the Institute of Medicine and various vitamin D researchers in defining ideal vitamin D concentrations for both health and performance related benefits. Although this controversy has led to conflicting evidence regarding the extent of vitamin D deficiency among the general population, the few studies examining the vitamin D status of athletes exclusively suggest that a large percentage of athletes may be insufficient or deficient in vitamin D. These deficiencies seem to be most common in the winter and spring regardless of geographic location or whether the athlete competes indoors or outdoors. Although direct interventional studies measuring vitamin D concentrations and athletic performance indicators are needed to confirm the association between vitamin D and athletic performance, this paper will demonstrate the potential mechanisms underlying the potential association as well as summarize the current vitamin D recommendations that may enhance health and performance in athletes.



© Copyright 2012 Lauren McGuigan