ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
CANCER
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
CAREGIVING
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Depression
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Exhaust From Railroad Diesel Linked to Lung Ailments
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
EYE CARE, VISION
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
FITNESS
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Laugh and the World Understands
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Biomarkers May Help Measure Rate of Decline in Dementia
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
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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