The purpose of this study was to examine the associations of vitamin D status with athletic performance and blood-borne markers in adolescent athletes. This cross-sectional study included forty-seven Taekwondo athletes, aged 15-18 years old. Athletic performance was assessed using maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), Wingate anaerobic power test, vertical jump, agility T-test, lower limb muscle strength, and fatigue resistance. Blood samples were collected to assess serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], free-testosterone, cortisol, creatine kinase, and urea. One-way ANOVAs were applied using Bonferroni adjusted alpha levels, which was 0.02 (i.e., 0.05/3). Multiple linear regressions analyses as well as Pearson and partial correlation analyses were used to examine the relationship among 25(OH)D concentration, athletic performance, and blood-borne markers. The participants 25(OH)D concentration were ranged from 16 to 73.25 nmol/L, indicating that 74.5% of the adolescent athletes have vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency. The vitamin D status did not show any significant effects on the performance factors or blood-borne markers. Serum 25(OH)D concentration was positively correlated with mean power output (r = 0.359, p < 0.05) and relative mean power output (r = 0.325, p < 0.05) after adjusting for bone age, height, weight, training experience, lean body mass, and fat mass. However, 25(OH)D concentration was not associated with other performance-related factors and blood-borne markers. In addition, multiple linear regressions analyses revealed that serum 25(OH)D concentration were not significant predictors of athletic performance in adolescent athletes. In conclusion, vitamin D status is weakly correlated with anaerobic capacity; moreover, the underlying mechanisms of how vitamin D influence anaerobic performance is unclear in the present study. Nevertheless, the importance of vitamin D on health benefits should not be underestimated, especially during growth periods.
Keywords: 25-hydroxivitamin D; adolescent athletes; exercise performance; stress-to-recovery status.