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Vitamin D relates to cardiovascular fitness in college students, according to new study

Posted on: May 3, 2014   by  Vitamin D Council


A new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has reported that vitamin D status may relate to cardiovascular fitness and body mass index among college students.

Vitamin D status has been shown to relate to muscle function, muscle strength, and cardiovascular health in both adult and elderly populations. However, there has been a lack of research looking at how vitamin D might affect these health parameters in young, healthy populations.

Researchers at Louisiana State University recently conducted a study to determine if there was a relationship between vitamin D status and measures of body composition and physical fitness among students attending the university.

Thirty-nine students with an average age of 23 years were recruited for the study.

The researchers measured their vitamin D levels. To determine body composition and physical fitness, the researchers measured factors including body mass index (BMI), resting metabolic rate, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), and muscular strength. VO2max is a measure of the maximum rate of oxygen consumed during exercise and is an indicator of physical fitness.

The researchers found that 51% of the students had vitamin D levels below 35 ng/ml.

Furthermore, they found that the students’ vitamin D levels were positively related to VO2max and negatively related to BMI. This means that higher vitamin D levels were related to increased physical fitness.

“These data suggest that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent even in a young physically active population in the southern United States and that there was a positive relationship between a measure of cardiovascular fitness and serum [vitamin D], and a negative relationship between serum [vitamin D] and BMI,” the researchers concluded.


Forney, L. A. et al. Vitamin D status, body composition, and fitness measures in college-aged students. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 2014.

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