Sports Medicine

, Volume 43, Issue 7, pp 601–611 | Cite as

Vitamin D and Physical Performance

  • Daniel S. Moran
  • James P. McClung
  • Tal Kohen
  • Harris R. Lieberman
Review Article


Vitamin D is an essential nutrient obtained from the diet and exposure to sunlight. Roles for vitamin D have been established in the function of the cardiovascular, immune, and musculoskeletal systems. An electronic database search was conducted using EMBASE (1967 to August 2012), MEDLINE (1966 to August 2012), SPORTDiscus™ (1975 to August 2012), and the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) (1998 to August 2012) with no limits of language of publication. Articles that described vitamin D and performance were considered eligible for this review. Recent studies suggest that vitamin D maintains physical performance in athletes and other active populations, e.g., maximal oxygen consumption may be related to vitamin D status. Poor vitamin D status affects muscle strength, and vitamin D may participate in protein synthesis through the actions of the vitamin D receptor in muscle tissue. Vitamin D may protect against overuse injuries, such as stress fracture, through its well-documented role in calcium metabolism. The objective of this manuscript is to review recent evidence regarding the importance of vitamin D for maintaining physical performance, and includes specific examples of how vitamin D supports the cardiovascular, immune, and musculoskeletal systems.


Bone Mineral Density Stress Fracture Cardiorespiratory Fitness Athletic Performance Overuse Injury 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported in part by an appointment to the Research Participation Program at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Environmental Medicine administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education through an interagency agreement between the US Department of Energy and US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. The authors are aware of no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel S. Moran
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • James P. McClung
    • 4
  • Tal Kohen
    • 2
  • Harris R. Lieberman
    • 4
  1. 1.Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education ProgramUnited States Army Research Institute of Environmental MedicineNatickUSA
  2. 2.Heller Institute of Medical Research, Sheba Medical CenterTel HashomerIsrael
  3. 3.Ariel UniversityArielIsrael
  4. 4.Military Nutrition DivisionUnited States Army Research Institute of Environmental MedicineNatickUSA

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