Dairy and Calcium Benefit Military Bones

UK - Military recruits who consume more milk have higher bone mineral density, and calcium and vitamin D supplements may reduce stress fractures, according to a recent review published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise.
calendar icon 18 December 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Dr Judith Bryans, Director of the Dairy Council says: The findings of this review are encouraging as they support the consumption of dairy products for bone health. Milk and dairy foods are some of the best sources of calcium in our diets, while also providing a whole host of other bone friendly nutrients including protein, phosphorus and magnesium.”

The purpose of the review was to summarise findings from studies in the Bone Health and Military Medical Readiness (BHMMR) research program and provide simple strategies to help improve bone health and prevent stress fracture.

The BHMMR research program has been undertaking research for over a decade into stress fractures, which are small cracks in bone that occur after repeated stress during basic training programs in the military. Stress fractures are particularly common among women, and with increasing numbers of women in the military reducing stress fracture has become a high priority among military researchers.

The review of the BHMMR program suggests that consuming dairy products, and calcium and vitamin D supplements, are effective ways to improve bone mineral density and prevent stress fractures.

For the majority of the population there is no RNI for vitamin D, as most people produce enough through exposure to sunlight. Foods which contain vitamin D include oily fish, meat (particularly liver), eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, margarine, and dairy products; however, in the UK milk is not fortified with vitamin D.

In the UK, the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) of calcium is 700mg per day for adults. To achieve this, The Dairy Council recommends 200ml of milk, 150g of low-fat yogurt and 30g (matchbox size) of hard cheese.

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