Friday, 22 February 2013

Research Update: Vitamin D status in ballet dancers

A new study carried out by Roger Wolman of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, along with colleagues at the University of Wolverhampton, has looked at the vitamin D status of professional ballet dancers in winter vs summer months.

(c) Koji Aoki  
The 6 month cohort study contrasted high sunlight months (summer) against low sunlight months (winter). The study looked at 19 professional ballet dancers within the UK and considered their vitamin D status through serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels within the body, as well as recording parathyroid hormone (PTH) and blood serum bone turnover markers (CTX and PINP). The dancers all danced 6-8 hours a day, for 38 hours a week. The Company's doctors recorded injury instance over the 6 month period.

Significant differences were found in levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, PTH  and blood serum bone turnover markers between summer and winter months. Although levels of 25-hyrdoxyvitaminD were higher in summer months, only 3 of the 19 dancers achieved "sufficient" levels during the summer period, with the rest being considered either insufficient or deficient in vitamin D. All dancers' vitamin D levels were found to be insufficient or deficient in winter months.

A significant decrease in injury instances in summer months (p<0.05) was observed, suggesting low vitamin D status increases likelihood of injury occurence. Further to this, the study found that use of oral contraceptives appeared to increase serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and had a positive effect on bone metabolism.

The study reaffirms the position that athletes who train indoors - dancers, swimmers, gymnasts, martial artists - are at risk of vitamin D deficiency.  The study provides further evidence that vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency are considerable concerns for professional dancers and athletes who train indoors, increasing likelihood of injury occurence and having a detrimental effect on bone metabolism.

Source: Wolman R, Wyon MA, Koutedakis Y, Nevill AM, Eastell R, Allen N. (2013) Vitamin D status in professional ballet dancers: Winter vs. summer. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

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