Reprint from The New Zealand Charter Journal 2003 Winter;1(16):29-33. The skeletal system of humans is constantly undergoing continual degradation that in ideal situations is balanced by new bone synthesis. Because bone is a dynamic tissue, it can adapt by strengthening when subjected to mechanical stress, such as repetitive physical activity. In athletic exercise the extremities of the body are subjected to repeated mechanical stress creating a condition where bone turnover (bone remodeling) is accelerated. The process of bone remodeling is dependent on numerous factors including levels of exercise, hormone levels and tissue availability of certain vitamins and minerals. When bone repair processes are suboptimal, bone repair cannot keep up with accelerated bone degradation resulting in loss of bone strength and stress fractures. Strenuous physical training in young adults will result in either a rapid increase in bone density as a result of adaptive bone remodeling or bone mineral loss, which can result in stress fractures (1). Bone mineral loss is a condition involving multiple interacting factors. Numerous variables including age, gender, hormonal status, heredity, amount of exercise, medication use, smoking, alcohol consumption, inactivity due to illness or injury, and nutritional factors such as the level of intake of protein, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and trace minerals, which all affect bone mass, bone strength and muscle strength (2-4).
By: Steve Haltiwanger M. D., C.C.N. Reprint from The New Zealand Charter Journal 2003 Winter;1(16):29-33.