Background:To examine the 25(OH)D status in relation to lifestyle factors in elite Paralympic athletes during the winter months.
Methods:Winter 25(OH)D status was assessed in 54 Paralympic athletes (height: 163.9 ± 26.1 cm; weight: 61.1 ± 12.9 kg; age: 29.9 ± 6.8 years) from outdoor: tennis and athletics (track
and field), and indoor sports: basketball and rugby. Lifestyle factors possibly contributing to 25(OH)D status were assessed via a lifestyle questionnaire.
Results:Mean (± Standard Deviation) 25(OH)D levels were 68.2 ± 26.5 nmol/L. Vitamin D insufficiency (≤ 80 nmol/L) and deficiency (≤ 50 nmol/L) was observed in 67 and 26% of the sample
respectively. Those who reported consuming milk once daily had significantly higher serum 25(OH)D levels compared to those who reported consuming none (87.8 ± 7.6 nmol/L vs. 53 ± 10 nmol/L, p=.005).
Positive correlations between vitamin D status and milk consumption (r = .45, p=.001), egg consumption (r = .38, p = .005), calcium with vitamin D supplement use (r = .52, p < .0001) and calcium
supplementation (r = .48, p < .0001) were observed. Lesion duration (r = -.30 p = .029) and number of reported illnesses per year (r = -.29, p = .036) were negatively correlated with 25(OH)D levels,
and those who had been injured between 1-10 or 11-20 years had serum 25(OH)D levels higher than those who had been injured 21-35 years (78.8 ± 9.4 and 75.4 ± 4.6 vs. 51.7 ± 4.3 nmol/L, p= .011 and
Conclusions:A high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency was found in US and Canadian Elite Paralympic athletes irrelevant to gender, sport played, whether sport was played inside or
outside, or level of spinal cord injury. Further research is warranted to examine appropriate supplementation protocols and dosages for athletes with SCI to prevent deficiencies.