Vitamin D Status and Supplementation Practices in Elite Irish Athletes: An Update from 2010/11.

Joshua Todd, Sharon Madigan, Kirsty Pourshahidi, Emeir McSorley, Eamon Laird, Martin Healey, Pamela Magee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract: Vitamin D deficiency is a global health concern that is prevalent in Ireland. The vitamin D status of elite Irish athletes following implementation of a revised supplementation policy in 2010/2011 has not been explored to date. This study aimed to assess the vitamin D status of elite Irish athletes participating in high-profile sports and establish if equatorial travel, supplementation and/or sunbed use predict vitamin D status. Across Ireland, blood samples (n = 92) were obtained from cricketers (n = 28), boxers (n = 21) and women’s rugby sevens players (n = 43) between November 2013 and April 2015. Total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations were quantified using LC-MS/MS. Parathyroid hormone and adjusted calcium concentrations were measured by clinical biochemistry. Athletes completed a questionnaire that queried equatorial travel, supplementation and sunbed use. Vitamin D sufficiency (25(OH)D >50 nmol/L) was evident in 86% of athletes. Insufficiency (31–49 nmol/L) and deficiency ( 0.05). Although different cohorts were assessed, the overall prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency was 55% in 2010/2011 compared with only 14% in 2013/2015. Targeted supplementation is highly effective in optimising vitamin D status, negating the need for blanket- supplementation in elite cohorts.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number8
Early online date9 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished online - 9 Aug 2016


  • elite athletes
  • vitamin D
  • supplementation


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