A profile of body composition, omega-3 and vitamin D in National Football League players

Malia N. Blue, Eric T. Trexler, Katie R. Hirsch, Abbie E Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Body composition (percent body fat [%BF]), omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D (VitD) status are important components of an athlete's individual physiological profile, as each measure has potential to influence performance, inflammation, and injury recovery. The purpose of this study was to characterize %BF, omega-3, and VitD in a subset of professional football athletes. Secondary analyses investigated changes in %BF, omega-3, and VitD, throughout a competitive season, and evaluated the relationship between physiological variables, race, and injury prevalence. METHODS: Forty-two professional football players (age: 24.0±2.4 years; height: 186.8±5.9 cm; weight: 108.8±19.4 kg) volunteered to participate. A-mode ultrasonography measured %BF and the percentage of highly unsaturated fatty acid content comprised of omega-3s was determined by an omega-3 bloodspot test. VitD levels and injury prevalence were obtained from the team athletic trainer. RESULTS: Omega-3 was moderately correlated with VitD (R=0.397, P=0.030). Throughout the season there was a significant decrease in omega-3 percentage (∆=-2.47±5.48%, P=0.030), no change in body composition (∆=0.26±1.97%, P=0.482) and a significant increase in VitD (∆=9.03±19.46 ng/mL, P=0.015). VitD was significantly higher in white athletes (48.00±13.73 ng/mL) than black athletes (27.09±9.28 ng/mL; P<0.001) and athletes of other races (23.33±4.73 ng/mL; P=0.004). CONCLUSIONS: Throughout the season, %BF was maintained, VitD levels increased, and omega-3 decreased. White athletes had significantly higher VitD levels than athletes of all other races. There were no differences in the physiological variables between injury severity categories. The results from the current study provides support for the potential importance of VitD and omega-3 supplementation for professional football athletes.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages87-93
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Football
Cholecalciferol
Body Composition
Athletes
Vitamin D
Wounds and Injuries
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Sports
Adipose Tissue
Ultrasonography
Inflammation
Weights and Measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this

A profile of body composition, omega-3 and vitamin D in National Football League players. / Blue, Malia N.; Trexler, Eric T.; Hirsch, Katie R.; Ryan, Abbie E.

In: The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, Vol. 59, No. 1, 01.01.2019, p. 87-93.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "BACKGROUND: Body composition (percent body fat [{\%}BF]), omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D (VitD) status are important components of an athlete's individual physiological profile, as each measure has potential to influence performance, inflammation, and injury recovery. The purpose of this study was to characterize {\%}BF, omega-3, and VitD in a subset of professional football athletes. Secondary analyses investigated changes in {\%}BF, omega-3, and VitD, throughout a competitive season, and evaluated the relationship between physiological variables, race, and injury prevalence. METHODS: Forty-two professional football players (age: 24.0±2.4 years; height: 186.8±5.9 cm; weight: 108.8±19.4 kg) volunteered to participate. A-mode ultrasonography measured {\%}BF and the percentage of highly unsaturated fatty acid content comprised of omega-3s was determined by an omega-3 bloodspot test. VitD levels and injury prevalence were obtained from the team athletic trainer. RESULTS: Omega-3 was moderately correlated with VitD (R=0.397, P=0.030). Throughout the season there was a significant decrease in omega-3 percentage (∆=-2.47±5.48{\%}, P=0.030), no change in body composition (∆=0.26±1.97{\%}, P=0.482) and a significant increase in VitD (∆=9.03±19.46 ng/mL, P=0.015). VitD was significantly higher in white athletes (48.00±13.73 ng/mL) than black athletes (27.09±9.28 ng/mL; P<0.001) and athletes of other races (23.33±4.73 ng/mL; P=0.004). CONCLUSIONS: Throughout the season, {\%}BF was maintained, VitD levels increased, and omega-3 decreased. White athletes had significantly higher VitD levels than athletes of all other races. There were no differences in the physiological variables between injury severity categories. The results from the current study provides support for the potential importance of VitD and omega-3 supplementation for professional football athletes.",
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