Science News – If you’re always worried about how much you eat, you may be producing stress that removes calcium from your bones.Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver observed that women who regulate their food intakeproduce elevated levels of cortisol, caused by stress. Cortisol levels effect menstrual cycles, and elevated levels ofthe hormone can suppress reproductive hormones, which is “generally associated with lower bone mass.”

Their study showed that dieters had roughly 30 percent less calcium in their urine than women who were not watchingtheir weight, suggesting that they were absorbing less calcium from food than normal. This is a common side effect ofhigh cortisol levels.

“Women who experience stress over dietary choices may, over the long term, face an elevated risk of bone loss andfractures,” says Susan Barr, in the January 2001 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Science News, Volume 159, No. 3, January 20, 2001

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