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Information on the latest vitamin D news and research.

Find out more information on deficiency, supplementation, sun exposure, and how vitamin D relates to your health.

Vitamin D linked to decrease risk of stress fractures in adolescent girls

Take a minute and give thanks to all the hundreds of thousands of scientists in the world who work, sometimes at relatively mediocre wages, trying to further our understanding of the world. Take Dr. Kendrin Sonneville and colleagues at Children’s Hospital in Boston who spent several years of their lives studying more than 6,000 girls, age 9-15, to see if they could, in part, unravel the mystery surrounding stress fractures.

For those who don’t know, stress fractures start with pain, usually in the foot, but without any apparent injury. You go to your doctor who does an x-ray and tells you that you have a “stress fracture.” You tell her that can’t be, you didn’t injure your foot, didn’t twist anything, it just hurts. You have been doing a little running, but generally, you’ve just been doing what most young girls do, how in the world did you break a bone? She just shrugs her shoulder and repeats “stress fracture.”

For reasons unknown, bones are sometimes just not strong enough to put up with every day wear and tear; a situation, when you think about it, which makes little sense. Our ancestors probably had to run for miles, many days, chasing game. However, Dr. Sonneville found that nearly 240 of the 6,000 young girls had stress fractures over the seven-year period of the study.

Sonneville KR, Gordon CM, Kocher MS, Pierce LM, Ramappa A, Field AE. Vitamin D, Calcium, and Dairy Intakes and Stress Fractures Among Female Adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Mar 5.

Why? You guessed it and it’s not calcium or dairy products. Only vitamin D showed an effect. The girls in the highest 1/5 of vitamin D intake (food and supplements) had 50% fewer stress fractures compared to the girls with the least vitamin D intake. In fact, higher calcium intake tended to be associated with more, not fewer, stress fractures, the first time scientists have reported such a finding. The other surprise was that not only was high calcium intake unlikely to prevent a stress fracture, sodas and pop did not increase the risk. The newspaper story below explains the study as well.

Roan S Vitamin D linked to stronger bones in girls. LA Times

I don’t know Dr. Sonneville but I wish I knew her, along with thousands of other scientists like her. While stress fractures may not seem important to some, they shatter many a hope.

  About: John Cannell, MD

Dr. John Cannell is founder of the Vitamin D Council. He has written many peer-reviewed papers on vitamin D and speaks frequently across the United States on the subject. Dr. Cannell holds an M.D. and has served the medical field as a general practitioner, emergency physician, and psychiatrist.

2 Responses to Vitamin D linked to decrease risk of stress fractures in adolescent girls

  1. A few items on vitamin D reduces sports injuries:
    Half as many fractures for girls with high vitamin D intake – March 2012
    Teenage knee injury 4X increase in last decade in Philadelphia – Oct 2011
    Concussions increased 60 percent in a decade – perhaps due to vitamin D
    Another outdoor sport produces more bone than indoor sport – vitamin D Sept 2010
    Ballet Dancers with low D had 50 percent more injuries – pilot study Sept 2011
    Book on Sports and vitamin D – Aug 2011 – by Dr. Cannell
    More muscle injuries in NFL players who were low on vitamin D – July 2011
    Perhaps Stress fractures 2X less frequent if 4000 IU of vitamin D – June 2011
    Injury-Prevention with Vitamin D – Feb 2010
    Vitamin D reduces stress fractures – review Oct 2010
    Story – Prevent injuries and speed healing with vitamin D – Jan 2010
    Shin splints decrease with vitamin D

    The above is a subset of the articles on Vitamin D and Sports

  2. Reminder It takes more than just Vitamin D to build bones
    500 mg Calcium, 500 mg Magnesium, 5-10 mg Vitamin K2, 5-10 mg Boron, 2 mg Silicon: 2
    Blog posted March 27, 2012