University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

The inter-relationship between vitamin D status, bone health and physical performance in university athletes.

Wilson-Barnes, Saskia L. (2019) The inter-relationship between vitamin D status, bone health and physical performance in university athletes. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

E-thesis_S.Wilson-Barnes.pdf - Version of Record
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.

Download (8MB) | Preview


Vitamin D deficiency (˂25nmol/L) and insufficiency (˂50nmol/L) has become an increasingly popular topic. Current research focusses upon the potential ergogenic effects of vitamin D (vitD) in sporting performance; however, the relationship between vitD (dietary intake and nutritional status) and bone health within a University athlete cohort remains under-investigated. Therefore, the aims of this Thesis were to (1) examine vitD status longitudinally across the University competitive seasons and; (2) examine the implications that vitD deficiency/ insufficiency may have upon physical performance parameters or bone health.

In the first study, fifty-seven competitive University level- athletes from varied sports were observed from autumn to spring. Radial bone mineral density (BMD) and physical performance parameters were investigated; for the analysis of vitD and parathyroid hormone, blood samples were collected. Within the cohort 7% presented with deficiency during the autumn; increasing to 44% during spring. However, this did not have a significant effect upon physical performance and bone health despite an average status of 31.5±16.4 nmol/L in spring.

In the second study, 34 University athletes and sixteen sedentary students were recruited and followed from spring to summer. Whole body, hip and tibial scans were conducted to determine BMD and bone mineral content (BMC). Physical performance parameters including jump height, aerobic fitness, muscular strength and blood biochemistry were also collected. During the summer term, 26% of the cohort were vitD insufficient. Moreover, an insufficient vitD status was associated with a lowered jump height (p=0.015) but not aerobic fitness (p=0.07). There was also a significant positive relationship between vitD status, femoral neck BMC (r=0.685; p˂0.02) and BMD (r=0.679; p˂0.02). Our results show that BMD was higher in weight bearing athletes. The final study found that racket sport athletes had a significantly superior bone profile in their dominant arm when contrasted to controls.

Overall, these findings suggest that an insufficient vitD status was associated with lower indices of muscular power and aerobic fitness in University students. Therefore, being vitD replete may not only play an important role in musculoskeletal health but could also be a key determining factor in athletic performance.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Wilson-Barnes, Saskia L.0000-0001-9945-4800
Date : 31 October 2019
Funders : None
DOI : 10.15126/thesis.00852608
Copyright Disclaimer : This thesis and the work to which it refers are the results of my own efforts. Any ideas, data, images or text resulting from the work of others (whether published or unpublished) are fully attributed to their originator in the text, bibliography or in footnotes. This thesis has not been submitted in whole or in part for any other academic degree or professional qualification. I agree that the University may submit my work to means of checking this, such as plagiarism detection service Turnitin® UK. I confirm that I understand that assessed work that has been shown to have been plagiarised will be penalised. Whether or not drafts have been so assessed, the university reserves the right to require an electronic version of the final document (as submitted) for assessment above.
Contributors :
Depositing User : Saskia Wilson-Barnes
Date Deposited : 04 Nov 2019 11:49
Last Modified : 04 Nov 2019 11:50

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800