ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
CAREGIVING
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
DIET, NUTRITION
Coffee Beans May Be Newest Stress-Buster
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Hypertension May Hit Black Males Earlier
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Air Pollution Exposure May Slow Fetal Growth
EYE CARE, VISION
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
FITNESS
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Eat Light - Live Longer
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
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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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