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Vitamin D may lower stress fracture risk

Published on

16 March 2012

According to a new US study, adequate vitamin D intakes may support the prevention of stress fractures in girls.

To identify which nutritional behavior might decrease stress fracture risk, the dietary intakes of calcium, vitamin D and dairy of 6,712 preadolescent and adolescent girls (ages 9 to 15) and the stress fracture incidents among these girls were documented over the course of seven years (1). The study results showed that adequate vitamin D intake was associated with a lower risk of developing a stress fracture, particularly among the girls who participated in at least one hour of high-impact activity a day. In contrast, dairy and calcium intakes were unrelated to stress fracture risk.

The researchers commented that these findings support the Institute of Medicine’s recent increase in the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D for adolescents from 400 IU /d to 600 IU /d. Further studies would be needed to ascertain whether vitamin D intake from supplements would confer a similarly protective effect as vitamin D consumed through dietary intake.

Stress fractures, a relatively common sports-related injury, occur when stresses on a bone exceed its capacity to withstand and heal from those forces. At present, consumption of calcium and calcium-rich dairy products is routinely encouraged for prevention of stress fractures.


  1. Sonneville K. R. et al. Vitamin D, calcium, and dairy intakes and stress fractures among female adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Published online March 2012.

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