ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
CANCER
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
Eating Less May Slow Aging Process
Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
Home Renovations by Affluent Families Can Unleash Lead Threat
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
EYE CARE, VISION
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Be Healthy, Spend Less
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
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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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