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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Apr;20(2):182-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01016.x. Epub 2009 Oct 5.

Vitamin D and human skeletal muscle.

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  • 1ASPETAR, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar.


Vitamin D deficiency is an increasingly described phenomenon worldwide, with well-known impacts on calcium metabolism and bone health. Vitamin D has also been associated with chronic health problems such as bowel and colonic cancer, arthritis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In recent decades, there has been increased awareness of the impact of vitamin D on muscle morphology and function, but this is not well recognized in the Sports Medicine literature. In the early 20th century, athletes and coaches felt that ultraviolet rays had a positive impact on athletic performance, and increasingly, evidence is accumulating to support this view. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies allude to a functional role for vitamin D in muscle and more recently the discovery of the vitamin D receptor in muscle tissue provides a mechanistic understanding of the function of vitamin D within muscle. The identification of broad genomic and non-genomic roles for vitamin D within skeletal muscle has highlighted the potential impact vitamin D deficiency may have on both under-performance and the risk of injury in athletes. This review describes the current understanding of the role vitamin D plays within skeletal muscle tissue.

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