This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Athletes taking 5,000 IUs of vitamin D a day performed significant- ly better than those taking a dummy tablet


in the Journal of Sport Sciences. The John Moores result is news for us


here in the UK, but it should not be. In 1938, Russian scientists reported that UV radiation treatment improved the speed of students by 7.4 per cent in the 100m dash compared with matched controls. And in 1944, German researchers found that medical students irradiated twice a week for six weeks improved their per- formance on a bicycle ergometer by 13 per cent compared with controls who showed no improvement. These are just two details from a masterly article by Jon Cannell and others reviewing this early pioneering work (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2009).


RISK VS REWARD But the benefits of vitamin D go way beyond muscular performance. Another important benefit for sports people is resistance to infection during the winter season, when vitamin D levels plummet in those who do not take a supplement. Training is stressful and may make an athlete more subject to infection, while vitamin D has been shown to protect against infections such as flu, TB and others. The sunshine vitamin stimulates immunity and induces the formation of


Issue 1 2013 © cybertrek 2013


active molecules which defend against infection. Other known benefits include a reduction in the risk of certain diseas- es such as diabetes, arthritis and certain cancers. Sports people should aim to get their blood level of the vitamin up to at least 100 nmols (nanomoles) per litre. Unfortunately, advice from Cancer


Research UK and the government has made many people afraid of the sun, to the point that they avoid it altogether by staying indoors or using sunscreen. The same reasoning led to the removal of sunbeds from many sports facilities. In fact, the risk of diseases caused by insuf- ficient vitamin D has been found to be some 10 times greater than the risk of melanoma, the acute form of skin cancer. Of course, people do not want to burn


– but so long as you do not burn, there is no serious risk of skin cancer. My advice would therefore be that


sunscreen should not generally be used without allowing some previous expo- sure to the sun, so that vitamin D can be made. If you are not used to the sun, a few minutes may be all you can tolerate to begin with, but gradually increase the time you spend in the sun. Use sunscreen only when there is a risk of burning and you cannot wear more clothing or a hat,


or cannot move into the shade. The sun is free, so enjoy it. If you get at least half an hour of full sun on bare shoulders, arms and legs three or four times a week in the middle of the day in summer, you need not take any vitamin D until the days shorten in October. ●


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Oliver Gillie is a scientist and writer. He is former medical correspondent of The Sunday Times and former health editor of The Independent. He has won 17 awards for his scien- tific and medical writing in national newspapers. Most recently, he was elected health champion of the year by the Medical Journalists’ Associa- tion, for his campaign to inform the public and professionals about vita- min D insufficiency disease. He has also set up The Vitamin D


Company, supplying vitamin D prod- ucts – easy to take and suitable for all user groups – that offer the dose used in the John Moores trial. Web www.vitDco.com Tel +44 (0)7761 379 939


Read Sports Management online sportsmanagement.co.uk/digital


67


© HERBERT KRATKY/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84