Author(s): Hamilton B, Grantham J, Racinais S, Chalabi H
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: While vitamin D deficiency is well recognized in Middle Eastern women as a result of cultural norms of remaining covered, Middle Eastern men are an under-reported group. Vitamin D is now known to have multiple effects, including an impact on muscle function, thereby increasing the relevance for sportsmen. The aim of the present study was to evaluate serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels in young male Middle Eastern athletes. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar. SUBJECTS: Ninety-three Middle Eastern men presenting to hospital for an annual screening undertook a blood test to evaluate their vitamin D status. RESULTS: Ninety-one per cent of athletes were found to be deficient in 25(OH)D (serum concentration <20 ng/ml). Athletes with severe deficiencies were significantly younger than those with less marked deficiency. A subset of athletes underwent bone mineral density assessment and 59 \% were shown to have at least one Z-score less than -1; despite this, however, no athletes reported a stress fracture. There was no correlation between 25(OH)D concentration and sunlight exposure, skin coverage and skin colouring. CONCLUSIONS: The study revealed that 25(OH)D deficiency is very common among otherwise healthy Middle Eastern male athletes. Given the potentially significant long- and short-term effects of 25(OH)D deficiency, serum 25(OH)D evaluation should be part of the routine assessment in this region.
This article was published in Public Health Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies