Elite Cyclists at Risk for Bone Loss

COLUMBIA, Mo., May 7 (UPI) — U.S. researchers advise elite cyclists maintain proper nutrition during races to avoid bone loss.

Researchers at the University of Missouri in Columbia say competitive cyclists participating in multistage races were found to have lower bone densities — increasing their risk of fractures.

Reasons for the bone loss are unclear, researchers said, but they suggested inadequate energy intake during races may disrupt bone turnover.

The study, published in Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism, examined markers of bone formation and bone breakdown in the blood of cyclists in the Tour of Southland — a six-day, 10-stage cycling race.

“The results are consistent with the practical recommendation that elite cyclists should match their energy intake to the high-energy demands of stage racing,” researcher Pam Hinton said in a statement.

The researchers note other factors — including low body weight, increased loss of calcium through sweat and significant time spent cycling — an activity exerting only minimal mechanical loading on the skeleton — may also be involved.

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