Dietary calcium and vitamin D intake in elderly women: Effect on serum parathyroid hormone and vitamin D metabolites

H. Karimi Kinyamu, J. Christopher Gallagher, Karen A. Rafferty, Kurt E. Balhorn

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In this study, the effect of dietary calcium and vitamin D on serum parathyroid hormone and vitamin D metabolites was measured in 376 free- living women aged 65-77 y. Mean calcium intake in both groups was close to the recommended dietary allowance of 800 mg/d. Mean vitamin D intake in the 245 women not taking vitamin D supplements was 3.53 μg/d (141 IU/d), which is below the recommended dietary allowance of 5 μg/d (200 IU/d). To test the hypothesis that vitamin D is more important than calcium in reducing serum parathyroid hormone, the source of dietary calcium intake was subdivided into milk, which is fortified with vitamin D, and nonmilk sources. The serum parathyroid hormone concentration was inversely correlated with calcium intake derived from milk (r = -0.20, P <0.01) but not from nonmilk sources (r = -0.06). Furthermore, serum calcidiol correlated with milk calcium intake (r = 0.35, P <0.001) but not with nonmilk calcium intake (r = 0.10). Multivariate analysis showed a significant effect of season on serum calcidiol but not on serum parathyroid hormone. Serum parathyroid hormone was inversely correlated with serum calcidiol (r = -0.33, P <0.001) and the regression predicted that mean serum parathyroid hormone would be reduced in the elderly to concentrations considered normal in the young when serum calcidiol is 122 nmol/L (49 ng/mL); this would require a much higher recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D than 5 μg/d (200 IU/d).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-348
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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