Bone density is maximized by age 30. Building strong, healthy bones is of primary importance in children and young adults, and maintaining those stores is important throughout adulthood. Athletes often meet key characteristics for keeping bones strong which include regular weight bearing activities, not smoking and the use of alcohol in moderation. However, 55% of males and 78% of females > age 20 do not consume enough calcium. Even if they do consume calcium rich foods, many Michigan athletes train indoors 2/3rds of the year limiting their sun exposure which in addition to dairy is a good source of Vitamin D, a requirement for calcium absorption. Calcium rich sources include: low fat milk, yogurt and ice cream, calcium fortified orange juice (good source of Vitamin C & Potassium), salmon (omega 6) soybeans and baked beans (iron and fiber). Vitamin D rich sources beyond dairy include: salmon, mackerel, tuna, shrimp and some margarines. Inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D increases your risk for low bone-mineral density and stress fractures which will take you off the running circuit for the season. To determine your specific calcium and vitamin D requirements and learn more about these nutrients visit:
If you take a multivitamin don’t assume your calcium and Vitamin D needs are covered. Iron interferes with calcium absorption; so many brands don’t include it. The above sites discuss dosage, timing and selection tips in addition to current research.