Relationship between vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, and bone health

Adarsh J. Sai, R. W. Walters, X. Fang, J. C. Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Scopus citations


Context: There is a controversy regarding the definition of vitamin D insufficiency as it relates to bone health. Objective: The objective of the study was to examine the evidence for a threshold value of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) that defines vitamin D insufficiency as it relates to bone health. Design and Participants: This was a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data in 488 elderly Caucasian women, mean age 71 yr, combined with a literature review of 70 studies on the relationship of serum PTH to serum 25OHD. Setting: The study was conducted in independent-living women in the midwest United States. Main Outcome Measure: The relationship between serum 25OHD, serum PTH, and serum osteocalcin and 24-h urine N-telopeptides was evaluated. Results: Serum PTH was inversely correlated with serum 25OHD (r = - 0.256, P <0.0005), but no threshold as defined by suppression of serum PTH was found within the serum 25OHD range 6-60 ng/ml (15-150 nmol/liter). However, in contrast, there was a threshold for bone markers, serum osteocalcin and urine N-telopeptides, that increased only below a serum 25OHD of approximately 18 ng/ml (45 nmol/liter). Calcium absorption was not correlated with serum PTH and serum 25OHD, and no threshold was found. A literature review of 70 studies generally showed a threshold for serum PTH with increasing serum 25OHD, but there was no consistency in the threshold level of serum 25OHD that varied from 10 to 50 ng/ml (25-125 nmol/liter). Conclusions: Vitamin D insufficiency should be defined as serum 25OHD less than 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/liter) as it relates to bone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E436-E446
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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