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J Sci Med Sport. 2017 Mar;20(3):225-229. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2016.08.004. Epub 2016 Aug 9.

The effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on bone health of male Jockeys.

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School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Australia. Electronic address:
School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Australia.
School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Australia; The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders, The University of Sydney, Australia.



Engagement in high volumes of physical activity coupled with energy restriction during periods of musculoskeletal development may compromise bone health. Jockeys limit caloric intakes on a weekly basis often from their mid-to-late teens. The aim of this study was to establish whether calcium and vitamin D supplementation would improve bone turnover markers (BTM) and non-weight bearing bone properties of young male jockeys.


A six-month randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial with two groups of apprentice male jockeys was conducted.


Participants (age 20.18±3.23years) were supplemented with 800mg of calcium and 400IU of vitamin D (n=8) or a placebo (n=9) daily. Bone properties were assessed at the ultra-distal (4%) and proximal (66%) radius using pQCT at baseline and six months. Vitamin D, P1NP and CTX were assessed.


ANCOVA results for blood-borne markers indicated higher vitamin D levels (18.1%, p=0.014, partial η2=0.38) and lower CTX (ng·L-1) (-24.8%, p=0.011, partial η2=0.40) in the supplemented group with no differences observed in P1NP. Analysis of bone variables indicated no between group differences in either trabecular or cortical bone properties at the 4% and 66% sites post-intervention.


This trial is the first to examine the efficacy of calcium and vitamin D supplementation in improving non-weight bearing bone properties in a young male athletic population. Results indicate positive alterations to bone metabolism; however, longer duration or higher dosage appears to be required to detect changes in bone material properties at the radius. Further examination of such interventions in weight-restricted athletes is warranted.


Bone turnover markers; Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT); Radius; Weight-restricted

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