ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
CANCER
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
CAREGIVING
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
City Kids Find the Breathin' Is Easier Elsewhere
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
EYE CARE, VISION
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
FITNESS
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Deployment Takes Toll on Army Wives
The Yearly Flu Shot Debate
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Add your Article

Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D

FRIDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Calcium and vitamin D supplements may do more than strengthen bones in older women. These vital nutrients may also help younger, active women reduce their risk of stress fractures.

To illustrate that point, many bone health experts refer to a recent study of more than 5,200 female U.S. Navy recruits that found that women who didn't take additional calcium and vitamin D were about 25 percent more likely to suffer a stress fracture than women who took the vitamin and mineral combination.

"The most common time for a stress fracture is when you're increasing your exercise levels -- when you're going from doing nothing to doing a whole lot. It's too much, too fast, and the bone can't handle it," explained Dr. Sabrina Strickland, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

"Before you embark on any sort of exercise regimen, take calcium and vitamin D supplements to reduce your chances of a stress fracture," she advised.

Stress fractures occur when muscles become tired and can't absorb shock properly. That force is then transferred to the bone instead. After time, that added shock can cause a tiny crack in the bone. More than half of all stress fractures occur in the lower leg, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Women are more likely to suffer stress fractures, particularly women involved in just one particular sport, such as running, tennis, gymnastics or basketball.

"Stress fractures are seen in people who do the same activity over and over again," said Dr. Elton Strauss, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City.

In the Navy recruit study, the women were undergoing eight weeks of basic training. All were between the ages of 17 and 35. The women were randomly divided into two groups. One group was given daily supplements containing 2,000 milligrams of calcium and 800 international units of vitamin D, while the other group took a placebo.

More than 300 women developed a stress fracture. About 170 women who took a placebo experienced a stress fracture. That means about 25 percent more of the placebo group had a stress fracture compared to those taking the supplements.

Results of the study were presented at a recent meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society.

"I recommend that all of my female patients take 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium citrate and 800 international units of vitamin D3 daily," said Strickland.

Strickland also advised that athletes should cross-train to avoid stress fractures. If you're a runner, she suggests lifting weights. "Don't just participate in impact activities," she cautioned.

Strauss agreed that cross-training is crucial for strengthening muscles and ligaments, which will help prevent stress fractures. "You shouldn't do the same sport seven days a week," he said.

Strauss also suggested making sure you get plenty of sleep. And, if you're participating in a lot of exercise, you should "push for at least 12 to 15 grams of protein at each meal." Protein is important for the metabolism of muscles and bones, he said.

Strauss also recommended getting adequate levels of calcium, because it's "good for the entire musculoskeletal system." He said he thought most runners and other athletes spend enough time outdoors that they might not need a vitamin D supplement, because the body makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. However, athletes who are vigilant about applying sunscreen may need the additional vitamin D.

Finally, when you begin a new activity, take it slow, Strickland advised. "Don't do too much too fast. The typical rule for runners, and one almost nobody follows, is to increase the amount of running by 10 percent each week," she said.

- Serena Gordon

More information

To learn more about stress fractures, visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.



SOURCES: Sabrina Strickland, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, and chief, orthopedics, James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New York City; Elton Strauss, M.D., associate professor of orthopedic surgery, Mount Sinai Medical School, New York City

Last Updated: Nov. 07, 2008

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