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Spinal bone mineral loss in estrogen-replete, calcium-replete premenopausal women

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After peak bone mass in women is attained, the benefits of increased dietary calcium or supplemental calcium are uncertain. In a longitudinal, 4-year study we have investigated the effect of calcium intake on bone mineral in a group of 41 premenopausal women, aged 38–42 years at entry. Skeletal density was measured four times during the 4-year follow-up; spinal trabecular bone density (STBD) was measured by quantitative computed tomography, and midradius bone mineral density (RBMD) was measured by single photon absorptiometry. At baseline, no differences in bone density were observed among subjects in the highest and lowest quartiles of habitual dietary intake. Overall, STBD declined −0.86±0.15% per year (p<0.001), but RBMD did not decline. Total calcium intake (dietary calcium plus supplemental calcium) did not correlate with the rate of STBD loss. Serum estradiol level did not decrease during the study, and bone loss did not correlate with the mean estradiol level. We conclude that premenopausal women in the fifth decade lose about 1% of spinal trabecular mineral yearly, in spite of a normal serum estradiol level and ample calcium intake.

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Correspondence to J. T. Citron MD.

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Citron, J.T., Ettinger, B. & Genant, H.K. Spinal bone mineral loss in estrogen-replete, calcium-replete premenopausal women. Osteoporosis Int 5, 228–233 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01774011

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  • Bone density
  • Calcium
  • Estrogen
  • Lumbar vertebrae
  • Osteoporosis