Calcium Supplementation Attenuates Disruptions in Calcium Homeostasis during Exercise

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether taking a chewable calcium (Ca) supplement 30 min before exercise mitigates disruptions in Ca homeostasis and bone resorption in competitive male cyclists.


Fifty-one men (18 to 45 yr old) were randomized to take either 1000 mg Ca (CA) or placebo (PL) 30 min before a simulated 35-km cycling time trial. Serum iCa and PTH were measured before and immediately after exercise and a marker of bone resorption (C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen) was measured before and 30 min after exercise.


Serum iCa decreased in both groups from before to after exercise (mean ± SD, CA = 4.89 ± 0.16 to 4.76 ± 0.11 mg·dL−1, PL = 4.92 ± 0.15 to 4.66 ± 0.22 mg·dL−1, both P ≤ 0.01); the decrease was greater (P = 0.03) in the PL group. There was a nonsignificant (P = 0.07) attenuation of the increase in PTH by Ca supplementation (CA = 30.9 ± 13.0 to 79.7 ± 42.6 pg·mL−1, PL = 37.1 ± 14.8 to 111.5 ± 49.4 pg·mL−1, both P ≤ 0.01), but no effect of Ca on the change in C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen, which increased in both groups (CA = 0.35 ± 0.17 to 0.50 ± 0.21 ng·mL−1, PL = 0.36 ± 0.13 to 0.54 ± 0.22 ng·mL−1, both P ≤ 0.01).


It is possible that ingesting Ca only 30 min before exercise was not a sufficient time interval to optimize gut Ca availability during exercise. Further studies will be needed to determine whether adequate Ca supplementation before and/or during exercise can fully mitigate the exercise-induced decrease in serum iCa and increases in PTH and bone resorption.

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