ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
CANCER
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
CAREGIVING
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
FITNESS
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu Fatality Rate a 'Little Bit' Higher Than That of Seasonal Flu
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
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
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
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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