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Bone Health
Calcium
Optimal calcium intake during childhood and adolescence is important to prevent
fractures and osteoporosis. The goals for calcium intake are greater than 1300mg daily
in adolescents and greater than 1,000mg daily in young adults. Your body only absorbs
500mg at a time; therefore make sure to have calcium as part of all three of your meals.
Many women need to consume five servings of dairy products daily. Also, adolescent
girls who consume higher-calcium diets including 2% milk, skim milk, and American
cheese do not have higher daily fat or calorie intake. Dairy products are the richest
source of calcium, however sardines, turnips, kale, green leafy vegetables like broccoli,
calcium-fortified fruit drinks and calcium-fortified soymilk are absorbed well. Although it
is preferred to obtain calcium from ones diet, calcium carbonate is the most widely
available preparation for supplementation.
Vitamin D
Vitamin D DEFECIENCY is defined as a Vitamin D, 25-OH level less than 20 (normal range
30-100). Please consult your physician for treatment. Vitamin D deficiency is often
treated with a prescription for 50,000 international units (IU) of Vitamin D weekly for six
weeks.
Vitamin D INSUFFIENCY is defined as a Vitamin D, 25-OH level between 20 and 30
(normal range 30-100). Insufficiency may be treated with 800-1,000 IU of Vitamin D
without a prescription.
Iron
Two key nutrients often affected by restricting food intake are iron and calcium. Iron
deficiency can affect several metabolic functions related to energy production and may
present as fatigue and decreased performance. Ferritin levels in blood are the most
sensitive screening tools for iron deficiency. Levels less than 20 ng/mL may affect an
athlete’s performance. Red meat in combination with Vitamin C is the best source of
iron in our diet. Ferrous sulfate (325 mg/day) supplementation is the preparation most
often recommended. However, supplementation may cause an upset stomach and slowrelease supplement may be preferred or decreased daily dosage to every other day. Too
much iron may result in decreased absorption of zinc and copper, therefore do not
exceed recommendations.
Zinc and Magnesium
Diets low in animal protein, high in fiber and vegetarian diets are associated with zinc
deficiency. Zinc has been shown to directly affect thyroid hormone levels and metabolic
rate. Magnesium deficiency results in increased oxygen requirements for performance.
Magnesium is often low in weight-class and body-conscious athletes.
Cassidy M. Foley, D.O.
Pediatric Orthopedic Associates / Next Level Sports Medicine
ACSM American Dietetic Association Dietitians of Canada. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Medicine &
Science in Sports &Exercise. 2009:41(3);709-731.