Vitamin D is thought to regulate skeletal muscle function and boost physical performance. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between vitamin D and physical performance in physically active children. This cross-sectional study included 125 children who practice football as a leisure activity. Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) was assessed using a chemiluminescence immunoassay method. Vitamin D inadequacy was defined as 25-OHD < 20 ng/mL. Physical performance testing included measurements of muscle strength (maximal isometric contraction), jumping ability (vertical jump, standing broad jump, triple hop test), linear sprint (10 m and 20 m), and agility (9 × 4-m shuttle run). Plasma 25-OHD concentrations were positively correlated with muscle strength (r = 0.539; p < 0.001), vertical jump (r = 0.528; p < 0.001), and standing broad jump (r = 0.492; p < 0.001) but inversely correlated with sprint performance (r = -0.539; p < 0.001). In multivariate analysis models, plasma 25-OHD concentrations were associated with each physical performance parameter independently of age, maturity status, body mass index, fat mass, and protein and calcium intakes. In conclusion, a low plasma 25-OHD level was associated with decreased muscle strength, agility, and jumping and sprinting abilities in physically active children. Vitamin D inadequacy may limit exercise performance. Further research should verify whether correction of vitamin D deficiency enhances physical performance.
Ikram Bezrati, R. Hammami, M. B. Ben Fradj
Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme