Objectives: Athletes who train indoors during the winter months exhibit low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations due to a lack of sunlight exposure. This has been linked to impaired exercise performance. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of oral vitamin D₃ supplementation on selected physical fitness and injury parameters in elite ballet dancers.
Design: Controlled prospective study.
Methods: 24 elite classical ballet dancers (intervention n=17; control n=7) participated in a controlled 4-month oral supplementation of vitamin D₃ (2000 IU per day). Isometric muscular strength and vertical jump height were measured pre and post intervention. Injury occurrence during the intervention period was also recorded by the in-house medical team. Repeated measures ANOVA and Mann-Whitney-U statistical tests were used and significance was set at p ≤ 0.05.
Results: Significant increases were noted for the intervention group for isometric strength (18.7%, p<0.01) and vertical jump (7.1%, p<0.01). The intervention group also sustained significantly less injuries than the controls during the study period (p<0.01).
Conclusions: Oral supplementation of vitamin D₃ during the winter months has beneficial effects on muscular performance and injury occurrence in elite ballet dancers.
Keywords: Ballet; Injury; Isometric strength; Vertical jump; Vitamin D.
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