Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise


American College of Sports Medicine / Wolters Kluwer


School of Medical and Health Sciences / Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute




Mary McKillop Institute for Health Research / Rowing Australia / Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance / Royal Perth Hospital Research Foundation Career Advancement Fellowship (CAF 130/2020) (MS) / Emerging Leader Fellowship from the Western Australian Future Health Research and Innovation Fund


Lundy, B., McKay, A. K., Fensham, N. C., Tee, N., Anderson, B., Morabito, A., . . . Burke, L. M. (2023). The impact of acute calcium intake on bone turnover markers during a training day in elite male rowers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 55(1), 55-65.


Introduction: While an acute exercise session typically increases bone turnover markers (BTM), the impact of subsequent sessions and the interaction with pre-exercise calcium intake remains unclear despite the application to the ‘real life’ training of many competitive athletes. Methods: Using a randomized crossover design, elite male rowers (n = 16) completed two trials, a week apart, consisting of two 90-minute rowing ergometer sessions (Ex1, Ex2) separated by 150 minutes. Prior to each trial, participants consumed a high (CAL: ~1000 mg) or isocaloric low (CON: < 10 mg) calcium meal. Biochemical markers including parathyroid hormone: PTH; serum ionised calcium (iCa) and bone turnover markers (C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen: β-CTX-I; osteocalcin: OC) were monitored from baseline to 3 hours post Ex2. Results: While each session caused perturbances of serum iCa, CAL maintained calcium concentrations above those of CON for most time points, 4.5 and 2.4 % higher post EX1 and EX2 respectively. The decrease in iCa in CON was associated with an elevation of blood PTH (p < 0.05) and β-CTX-I (p < 0.0001) over this period of repeated training sessions and their recovery, particularly during and after Ex2. Pre-exercise intake of calcium-rich foods lowered BTM over the course of a day with several training sessions. Conclusions: Pre-exercise intake of a calcium-rich meal prior to training sessions undertaken within the same day had a cumulative and prolonged effect on the stabilisation of blood iCa during exercise. In turn, this reduced the post-exercise PTH response, potentially attenuating the increase in markers of bone resorption. Such practical strategies may be integrated into the athlete’s overall sports nutrition plan, with the potential to safeguard long term bone health and reduce the risk of bone stress injuries.



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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.