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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995 May;27(5):688-96.

Bone mineral density in mature, premenopausal ultramarathon runners.

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MRC/UCT Bioenergetics of Exercise Research Unit, Department of Physiology, University of Cape Town Medical School, South Africa.


We measured bone mineral density (BMD) in 25 premenopausal ultramarathon (56 km) runners aged 29-39 yr and related risk factors for decreased BMD with actual BMD. Fifteen runners who had never had oligo/amenorrhea (R) were compared with 10 runners (OA): 4 oligomenorrheic, 2 amenorrheic, and 4 with prior oligo/amenorrhea. Menstrual, dietary and training data were obtained. BMD of the lumbar spine (LS) and proximal femur (F) were measured by dual energy x-ray densitometry. Both groups had similar body mass (58 +/- 8 vs 57 +/- 8 kg), running and dietary histories. F BMD was not different (P = 0.07) and correlated only with BMI (P < 0.05; r = 0.43). LS BMD was lower in OA (0.946 +/- 0.098 than R (1.088 +/- 0.069; P < 0.001). Menstrual History Index (MHI), (estimated periods.yr-1 since age 13), was higher in R (11.6 +/- 0.6) than OA (9.4 +/- 2.1; P < 0.01). LS BMD correlated with MHI (P < 0.0005; r = 0.67) and years oligomenorrheic (P < 0.01; r = -0.58) but not years amenorrheic, parity, breastfeeding, diet, or training. In conclusion, in mature women distance runners low LS BMD is related to a history of oligo/amenorrhea regardless of resumption of regular menstrual cycles in some subjects. Not only amenorrhea, but also prolonged oligomenorrhea may negatively influence peak adult bone mass.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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