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BJSM reviews: A—Z of nutritional supplements: dietary supplements, sports nutrition foods and ergogenic aids for health and performance Part 7
  1. L M Burke1,
  2. L M Castell2,
  3. S J Stear3,
  4. L Houtkooper4,
  5. M Manore5,
  6. D Senchina6
  1. 1Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia
  2. 2University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  3. 3English Institute of Sport, London, UK
  4. 4University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  5. 5Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
  6. 6Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, USA
  1. Correspondence to L M Castell, University of Oxford, Green Templeton College, Oxford OX2 6HG, UK; lindy.castell{at}

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Introductory remarks

Part 7 deals with the two rather diverse topics of bone health and Chinese herbs. Since the 1980s, it has been suggested that physical activity from a young age will improve bone mass density, thus decreasing the likelihood of osteoporosis. However, more recently, we have become aware of problems of sub-optimal bone health that may occur in female, and sometimes male, athletes. While these are mostly related to low energy availability, as described in the overview of the female athlete triad7 this review will focus on the role of calcium and Vitamin D for bone health, providing some guidelines for daily intakes that should be met from food, and in some cases, supplements.

Chinese medicine is now enjoying an enthusiastic and worldwide following, having flourished for many centuries in Asia and the surrounding vicinities. Because this is such a huge topic, the following review will focus on only four supplements, which can all be characterised as ‘Chinese Herbs.’ Though these herbs are taxonomically diverse, all claim to possess ergogenic properties which make them alluring to athletes.

Calcium and bone health

L Houtkooper, M Manore

Adequate levels of calcium throughout life are critical to bone health, although other nutrients are also important.1 2 3 These nutrients include protein, the minerals copper, iron, fluoride, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc and vitamins A, C, D and K. While many nutrients play a role in bone health, calcium and vitamin D will be the focus in this article because they are critical nutrients for bone health.1 2 4 Although these concerns are shared by all individuals, this review will concentrate on the needs of athletes.

The US and Canadian Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and UK Reference Nutrient Intakes for calcium and vitamin D listed in table 1 will meet the nutrient needs for most healthy adults, including athletes. …

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  • LB, LC & SS edited this series.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.