Calcium and vitamin D are recognized as 2 components of nutrition needed to achieve and maintain bone health. Calcium and vitamin D have been clearly shown to improve bone density and prevent fractures at all ages. However, the literature is conflicting as to the role of these nutrients in young athletes ages 18 to 35 years, both for bone development and for the prevention of bone overuse injuries. Differences in findings may relate to study design. Although retrospective and cross-sectional studies have had mixed results, the authors of prospective studies have consistently demonstrated a relationship of increased calcium intake with an improvement in bone density and a decrease in fracture risk. A randomized trial in female military recruits demonstrated that calcium/vitamin D supplementation reduced the incidence of stress fractures. A prospective study in young female runners demonstrated reduced incidence of stress fractures and increased bone mineral density with increased dietary calcium intake. Findings from both studies suggest female athletes and military recruits who consumed greater than 1500 mg of calcium daily exhibited the largest reduction in stress fracture injuries. To date, no prospective studies have been conducted in male athletes or in adolescent athletes. In most studies, males and nonwhite participants were poorly represented. Evidence regarding the relationship of vitamin D intake with the prevention of fractures in athletes is also limited. More prospective studies are needed to evaluate the role of calcium and vitamin D intake in prevention of stress fracture injuries in both male and female adolescent athletes, particularly those participating in sports with greater incidences of stress fracture injury.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pmrj.2010.05.006
View details for Web of Science ID 000208361700010