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Vitamin D May Protect Against Stress Fractures

Young women may also benefit from vitamin D. Researchers studied more than 6,000 girls between 9 and 15 years old for seven years. They collected information about the girls’ intake of dairy products, calcium and vitamin D and also looked at stress fractures as a consequence of sports. Approximately 4 percent of the young women experienced a stress fracture during the study.

Calcium and dairy products did not seem to have any correlation with the risk of fracture, but the girls with the highest levels of vitamin D were only half as likely to develop stress fractures as those with the lowest levels. Surprisingly, the girls with the highest intake of calcium appeared to be at double the risk of stress fracture, but the investigators caution that this finding needs further investigation. The current recommendation for vitamin D intake is 600 international units a day for adolescents; the scientists say further research is needed to tell if higher levels would be more protective.

[Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, online March 5, 2012]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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