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Osteoporosis...the mere mention of the word conjures up the image of a gray-haired, bent-over, little old lady. Yet many athletes, particularly endurance athletes, female and male, are being diagnosed with osteoporosis and osteopenia in their twenties, thirties and forties. There are many factors that contribute to bone loss in endurance athletes, but calcium loss through sweat appears to play a significant role. In a landmark study by Klesges, (JAMA July 1996) he set out to determine if there was a relationship between sweat and bone loss. Klesges asked a university basketball team to wear cotton shirts during their practices. He then extracted the sweat from the shirts and measured the calcium content. Klesges calculated the players were losing 422 mg of calcium in three days of practice. He measured the bone density of the team and found the average player lost 3.8% of bone mineral density during a 3 month season. The players were then given a calcium supplemented sports drink and at the start of the next season the players had gained an average of 2% in bone mineral density. read more