(NaturalNews) Healthy bones require a lot more than just calcium intake, and a number of studies over the years have verified that vitamin D also plays a critical role in helping to prevent bone fractures, particularly among the elderly. But a new study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine has found that vitamin D is critical for young people as well, as inadequate or deficient levels can lead to stress fractures.
Kendrin R. Sonneville, Sc.D., R.D., from Children's Hospital Boston and his colleagues evaluated 6,712 preadolescent and adolescent girls between the ages of nine and 15 as part of a study known as Growing Up Today. In it, the girls were evaluated and compared based on their consumption patterns of calcium, vitamin D, and dairy products, the latter of which is often attributed in marketing campaigns to building strong bones.
During the seven-year followup period, researchers discovered that 3.9 percent of the girls developed stress fractures, and that dairy and calcium intake did not appear to make a difference in stress fracture risk. Vitamin D intake, however, was clearly associated with stress fracture risk, as girls whose vitamin D intake was highest had the lowest rates of stress fractures, and vice versa.
"In contrast, there was no evidence that calcium and dairy intakes were protective against developing a stress fracture or that soda intake was predictive of an increased risk of stress fracture or confounded the association between dairy, calcium or vitamin D intakes and fracture risk," said the authors about their findings, noting also that calcium intake was actually associated with an increased risk of stress fracture.
Calcium, of course, has been shown in other studies to strengthen bones, but this is only when it is consumed in proper balance with other bone-building nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin K2, and various essential minerals and fatty acids. Taking the right forms of calcium is also crucial, as many popular supplement forms are not easily metabolized in the body, and can actually cause bodily harm (http://www.naturalnews.com/034677_calcium_bones_vitamin_D3.html).
"Vitamin D is needed for calcium to enter bones, and a deficiency of this vitamin is a major risk factor for both osteoporosis and bone fracture," writes Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., in her book http://www.naturalpedia.com.