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Vitamin D Plus Calcium May Lower Bone Fracture Occurrence in Military Basic Training

Basic military training puts a lot of stress on the skeleton and tends to be a time of high risk for developing stress fractures. A recent study suggests that taking daily supplements of calcium and vitamin D may help improve bone density during basic training.

Participants in the study included 156 men and 87 women who were enrolled in basic training. Over the course of the entire training period, nine weeks, they all ate two snack bars per day, either with or without 2,000 mg of calcium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that calcium levels increased in the calcium/vitamin D group. They also found that parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels did not change, while the placebo group had an increase in PTH. High PTH levels have been associated with increased risk of fracture.

The researchers looked at date obtained via peripheral quantitative computed topography and found that the calcium/vitamin D group had improvements in bone health.

Researchers from the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine conducted the study. It was published in the November 2014 issue of the journal Bone.

Calcium is a mineral that is essential for bone strength. A lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, a serious health issue characterized by low bone mass which leads to an increased risk of fractures. Vitamin D aids in calcium break down and absorption. Several studies have also suggested that calcium and vitamin D may play a role in the regulation of abdominal fat mass.

Consumption of vitamin D has been linked to reducing the risk of osteoporosis and high blood pressure in mature adults, improving kidney health, reducing the risk of skin cancer, improving cardiovascular health, combating diabetes, and improving age related eye degeneration.

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