A Review of the Significance of Calcium & Vitamin D in the Occurrence of Stress Fractures
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Stress fractures have historically been a common problem for athletic populations, especially athletic women. Professional ballerinas are specifically harmed by these injuries and many years of research have been spent discovering what factors concerning anthropometrics, lifestyle, and diet correlate most strongly with these occurrences. Early research on this topic focused mainly on calcium intake, due to calcium’s obvious role in bone structure and integrity. However, inconsistent findings and statistically insignificant differences in calcium intake between test groups from many research studies demonstrated that there is more to bone health than calcium alone. Current research has shifted to include vitamin D and other nutrients in cooperation with calcium to provide a clearer picture of the dietary factors of bone health. Dancers who experienced stress fractures often exhibited levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D below 30 ng/dl, the lower limit of the recommended serum vitamin D range for optimal health, indicating the importance of vitamin D to bone integrity. A critical review of nearly thirty years of research will be conducted to make a conclusion on the significance of calcium and vitamin D in the occurrence of stress fractures and how dietary adjustments can help ballerinas to avoid fractures.