Associations of serum 25(OH)D levels with physical performance and anabolic hormones in young men

Akseli Laaksi, Ilkka Laaksi, Harri Pihlajamäki, Jani P. Vaara, Tiina Luukkaala, Heikki Kyröläinen

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Purpose: The present study examined the association of vitamin D measured by serum 25(OH)D with physical performance outcomes and serum levels of anabolic hormones in young men. Methods: 412 young men (age 19 ± 1 year) entering their compulsory military service volunteered to participate in the study. The study consisted of two groups from two different military bases: Group A was studied in January and group B in July. The groups were first compared with each other and due to statistically significant (p < 0.001 analyzed with independent samples t-test) differences in physical condition (sit-up, push-up, and standing long jump-tests and testosterone levels) between the groups, groups were analyzed separately. The serum levels of 25(OH)D, testosterone (TES), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) were analyzed by electrochemiluminescence immunoassay. Physical performance tests consisted of muscular fitness (sit-ups, push-ups, standing long jump) and aerobic fitness (12-minute-running) tests. The association of serum 25(OH)D with physical performance tests and anabolic hormones was analyzed using linear regression. Results: After controlling for the group, body mass index, and leisure-time physical activity, serum 25(OH)D level was positively associated with aerobic and muscular fitness (β = 0.15–0.20, all p < 0.05). Also, the participants with sufficient serum 25(OH)D levels (≥75 nmol/L) had better aerobic and muscular fitness and higher TES in group B, and better upper extremity muscular fitness in group A (all p < 0.05). In group A, there were 166 participants with serum levels of 25(OH) D < 75 nmol/L and 18 ≥ 75 nmol/L. In group B, the amounts were 92 (<75 nmol/L) and 136 (≥75 nmol/L), respectively. Conclusion: Serum 25(OH)D was positively associated with both aerobic and muscular fitness and those with sufficient vitamin D levels, had higher levels of TES. Thus, maintaining a sufficient serum 25(OH)D level may be beneficial for physical performance and anabolic state in young men.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1049503
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • anabolic hormones
  • military
  • physical performance
  • vitamin D
  • young men

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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