Dr Craig Sale of Nottingham Trent University updated last month’s British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) sports nutrition symposium held in London on the relationship between mechanical stress and bone overuse injuries. Nutrition can help prevent bone formation being outstripped by resorption (loss), and the onset of injuries as serious as stress fractures, he argued.
“Feeding can attenuate the bone resorption response,” said Sale. “I’d suggest there are effects from calcium, vitamin D and other micronutrients.”
Looking at a different area of vulnerability, the University of Kent’s Dr Glen Davison reviewed the evidence for the effects of bovine colostrum in reducing the probability of infections particularly of the upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) mainly among athletes.
There are several common factors in intensive exercise regimes, from physiological and psychological stress to a poor diet and lack of sleep, which contributes to immunodepression. This effect can vary significantly depending on the circumstances and type of exercise, said Davison.
But bovine colostrum the milk produced by cows within 48 hours of calving can have a significant impact in lowering the incidence of infections, such as URTIs, and issues triggered by gut permeability, he added.
“There’s pretty good evidence that bovine colostrum supplementation causes a reduction, typically of 30 – 65%, in the incidence of reported symptoms of URTIs in athletes,” he said.
‘Every bit as relevant’
Sale said: “I think preventative nutrition is every bit as relevant to the recreational athlete as for the elite athlete. These bone injuries are common in both.”
While diet, rather than supplementation, would also be the best place to start. He added: “That said, there are always examples of vitamin D and other vitamins, calcium and magnesium supplements, which are already on the market and focus their marketing around bone health.”
However, Sale was less sure about using injury prevention claims in Europe, as there were only limited studies available.