Vitamin D is a nutrient found in some foods that is needed for health and to maintain strong bones. It does so by helping the body absorb calcium (one of bone's main building blocks) from food and supplements. People who get too little vitamin D may develop soft, thin, and brittle bones, a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.Vitamin D is important to the body in many other ways as well. Muscles need it to move, for example, nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. Vitamin D is found in cells throughout the body.
Rickets: Rickets is caused in children by deficiency of Vitamin D, calcium or phosphorus. It used to be the most well known of the symptoms of vitamin d deficiency but has not been a big problem since food manufacturers started fortifying milk and other foods with small doses of Vitamin D.Depression: There is some evidence to show that low Vitamin D levels have an association with depression, and studies have shown that Vitamin D3 has helped reduce seasonal depression during winter months. Lack of UVB Rays from the sun may be part of the reason for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).Weakened immune system: Most cells in the body contain receptor sites for Vitamin D and these include immune system cells. Vitamin D has been shown to enhance the activity of those cells, and to decrease chances of developing autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis.Increased risk of cancer: bowel and colon cancer
Vitamin D testing usuallycomprises of a blood sample being taken and analysed. The blood would be analysed not just for vitamin D but in conjunction with calcium, phosphate, Parathyroid hormone (PTH), and magnesium levels too. Testing for coaches should be undertaken just as much as the athletes. If deficiency is found in athletes, the necessary steps are put in place by the medical staff and treated quite seriously. Adults have the same risk of the symptoms mentioned before as the athletes. Regular screening of coaches should be in place for all indoor sports.
Adequate intake for adults under 50 years old is the same as the average age of the athletes they will be coaching. For the more senior coaches, over 50, this increases to 10 micro grams/day. If these levels are not met then there is an increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency related illnesses.
The answer? If we look after our coaches and supporting staff we will have a happier, more energised, and more enthusiastic group of coaches who will deliver a higher quality service to out community.
In conclusion; healthy coaches are happy coaches! They will have increased energy levels, we will see coaches stay in the sport longer with less burn out, they will be more enthusiastic towards their jobs which in turn will give a better experience for the athletes.I feel there is a need for further research in this area to see if there is a link between vitamin D deficiency and coaching performance in indoor sports. Again, the effort put in by the coach will directly effect the athletes, motivation and performance.
What about us
IntroductionBackground Elite gymnasts train up to 36 hours a week. Morning and afternoon sessions, 3 – 4 hours each. Coaches do more hours in side. Other administration and planning has to be done outside coaching hours. Ongoing professional development is almost always conducted in a gymnasium. Life is predominantly spent inside. Picture taken at the 2011 WG IDP Clinic in Perth, WA.
Vitamin D Well known for its effect on calcium metabolism and bone health. Increasing research around Vit. D and muscle morphology and function. Assists immune system fight bacteria and viruses.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Main natural source of Vit. D is the sun. Recommended sun exposure: approx. 2 hours a week. http://www.pottersholidays.com/Sport-and-Leisure/Activities
Vitamin D Deficiency Short term vitamin D Long term vitamin D deficiency may be deficiency may be associated with: associated with: Depression, and Increased risk of cancer, Weakened immune Rickets (in children), system. cardiovascular disease, Multiple sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, and Osteoporosis. Picture from: http://healthandwellnessforstudents.com/tag/vitamin-d/
Vitamin D Testing Vit. D testing for athletes is aimed at indoor sports. Coaches are indoors just as much if not more than the athletes. Regular testing should be conducted for coaches and administrators too. Picture from: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about- vitamin-d/vitamin-d-deficiency/am-i-vitamin-d-deficient/
What Coaches Need AI* of Vit. D for adults is 5 - 10ug/day with an UL** of 80ug/day. Vit.D Age AI UL ug/day ug/day 9 - 19 yrs 5 80 If levels are to low there is an increased risk of Vit. D deficient related illnesses. 19 - 50 yrs 5 80 50 - 70 yrs 10 80 * Adequate Intake, ** Upper Limit. Levels adapted from: Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand
The Answer?If we look after our coaches,we can go from this… …to this!
Conclusion Healthy coaches are happy coaches. Increased energy levels Longevity of coaches Less burnout Overall a better experience for the athletes Further research It would be interesting to test a group of coaches, administrators and officials to see if there is any correlation between sports and potential vitamin D deficiencies.
References http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/vitamin_d http://www.kriskris.com/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms/ http://www.cancersa.org.au/aspx/Sun_exposure_and_Vitamin_D.aspx http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-QuickFacts/ Lovell, G. (2008). Vitamin D Status of Females in an Elite Gymnastics Program. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. 18:159–161 Department of Health and Ageing. (2005). Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. Canberra, Australia. Hamilton, B. (2010). Vitamin D and Human Skeletal Muscle. Journal of medical science and sport. 20:182 – 190.