ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Winter Is Tough on Feet
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
CANCER
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
CAREGIVING
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
Low-Fat Diet Does Little to Alter Cholesterol Levels
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Chemicals in Carpets, Non-Stick Pans Tied to Thyroid Disease
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Exhaust From Railroad Diesel Linked to Lung Ailments
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
FITNESS
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Multivitamins Might Prolong Life
Vitamin D and Bone Health: Are You Getting Enough of This Important Vitamin?
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Drink Away Dementia?
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
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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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