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Title: Association of vitamin D and iron status with injury risk, health and physical performance in British army recruits
Author: Jackson, Sarah
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2018
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The influence of vitamin D and iron status on health and physical performance, was studied in a cohort of 1658 male and 554 female British Army recruits, to understand whether iron and vitamin D supplementation could reduce attrition due to injury or poor physical performance in basic military training. The study hypothesised that recruits with poorer vitamin D and iron status would be more likely to have adverse health outcomes and inferior physical performance compared to those who were vitamin D and iron replete. Measurements, obtained in week 1 of training included: self-reported lifestyle, diet and demographics; biochemical markers of vitamin D and iron status, SNPs of the vitamin D pathway; physical performance (1.5-mile best effort run, leg peak power and maximal dynamic lift); and, height, body mass, and body composition measured by DXA. In a subgroup, measurements were repeated in week 14 of training and in addition sunlight exposure was assessed using polysulfone badges. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D < 30nmolžL-1) was higher than the background population in the winter, affecting more men than women. Physical performance correlated negatively with 1,25(OH)2D, and positively with 25(OH)D and 24,25(OH)2D. 1,25(OH)2D was higher and 24,25(OH)2D lower in males with bone stress injuries.1,25(OH)2D:24,25(OH)2D ratio significantly predicted the occurrence of these injuries in males and females. The prevalence of clinical iron deficiency, was low at the start of training, however, the prevalence of subclinical iron deficiency,was higher and deteriorated significantly during training particularly in females. Poor iron status was associated with decreased physical performance, and increased risk of respiratory tract infections in women. Taking B12 supplements was a significant predictor of iron status. These findings show that poor vitamin D and iron status in recruitswas associated with adverse health and performance outcomes, indicating that supplementation may have a role in reducing attrition in training.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available