Acute Effects of 2 Hours of Moderate-Intensity Cycling on Serum Parathyroid Hormone and Calcium


Previous studies have found that serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) increases in response to relatively short (<60 minutes), intense bouts of exercise, possibly as a result of decreases in serum calcium. Whether longer, less intense exercise also stimulates an increase in PTH is not known. The effects of 2 hours of moderate-intensity cycling on serum PTH and calcium were investigated in 20 competitive male cyclists, aged 22–45 years. Serum concentrations of PTH and calcium were measured before and after exercise. Dermal calcium loss was estimated using patch collections and loss of sweat. There were increases in PTH from 40.6 ± 15.6 to 69.5 ± 25.5 pg/mL (P < 0.001) and in serum calcium from 9.3 ± 0.3 to 9.6 ± 0.5 mg/dL (mean ± standard deviation, P = 0.001) in response to exercise. Contraction of plasma volume explained the rise in calcium but not PTH. Dermal calcium loss was estimated at 138.0 ± 71.9 mg for the 2-hour exercise bout. Neither the change in serum calcium nor the dermal calcium loss was significantly related to the increase in PTH. The study demonstrated that prolonged exercise stimulates PTH secretion. The effects of such transient increases in PTH on bone metabolism are not known.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.


  1. 1.

    Gass M, Dawson-Hughes B (2006) Preventing osteoporosis-related fractures: an overview. Am J Med 119:S3–S11

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Kohrt WM, Bloomfield SA, Little KD, Nelson ME, Yingling VR (2004) American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Physical activity and bone health. Med Sci Sports Exerc 36:1985–1996

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Suominen H (1993) Bone mineral density and long term exercise. An overview of cross-sectional athlete studies. Sports Med 16:316–330

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Hetland ML, Haarbo J, Christiansen C (1993) Low bone mass and high bone turnover in male long distance runners. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 77:770–775

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Nichols JF, Palmer JE, Levy SS (2003) Low bone mineral density in highly trained male master cyclists. Osteoporos Int 14:644–649

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Stewart AD, Hannan J (2000) Total and regional bone density in male runners, cyclists, and controls. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32:1373–1377

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    (1996) Rapid bone loss in high-performance male athletes. Sports Med Digest 18:20

  8. 8.

    Bouassida A, Zalleg D, Zaouali Ajina M, Gharbi N, Duclos M, Richalet JP, Tabka Z (2003) Parathyroid hormone concentrations during and after two periods of high intensity exercise with and without an intervening recovery period. Eur J Appl Physiol 88:339–344

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Guillemant J, Accarie C, Peres G, Guillemant S (2004) Acute effects of an oral calcium load on markers of bone metabolism during endurance cycling exercise inmale athletes. Calcif Tissue Int 74:407–414

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Maimoun L, Simar D, Malatesta D, Caillaud C, Peruchon E, Couret I, Rossi M, Mariano-Goulart D (2005) Response of bone metabolism related hormones to a single session of strenuous exercise in active elderly subjects. Br J Sports Med 39:497–502

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Salvesen H, Johansson AG, Foxdal P, Wide L, Piehl-Aulin K, Ljunghall S (1994) Intact serum parathyroid hormone levels increase during running exercise in well-trained men. Calcif Tissue Int 54:256–261

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Thorsen K, Kristoffersson A, Hultdin J, Lorentzon R (1997) Effects of moderate-endurance exercise on calcium, parathyroid hormone, and markers of bone metabolism in young women. Calcif Tissue Int 60:16–20

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Zerath E, Holy X, Douce P, Guezennec CY, Chatard JC (1997) Effect of endurance training on postexercise parathyroid hormone levels in elderly men. Med Sci Sports Exerc 29:1139–1145

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Beaver WL, Wasserman K, Whipp BJ (1986) A new method for detecting anaerobic threshold by gas exchange. J Appl Physiol 60:2020–2027

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    O’Toole ML, Johnson KC, Satterfield S, Bush AJ, Koo WW, Klesges RC, Applegate WB (2000) Do sweat calcium losses affect bone mass during firefighter training? J Occup Environ Med 42:1054–1059

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Taylor RP, Polliack AA, Bader DL (1994) The analysis of metabolites in human sweat: analytical methods and potential application to investigation of pressure ischaemia of soft tissues. Ann Clin Biochem 31(pt 1):18–24

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Verde T, Shephard RJ, Corey P, Moore R (1982) Sweat composition in exercise and in heat. J Appl Physiol 53:1540–1545

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Shirreffs SM, Maughan RJ (1997) Whole body sweat collection in humans: an improved method with preliminary data on electrolyte content. J Appl Physiol 82:336–341

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Palacios C, Wigertz K, Weaver CM (2003) Comparison of 24 hour whole body versus patch tests for estimating body surface electrolyte losses. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 13:479–488

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Jankowski CM, Gozansky WS, Schwartz RS, Dahl DJ, Kittelson JM, Scott SM, Van Pelt RE, Kohrt WM (2006) Effects of dehydroepiandrosterone replacement therapy on bone mineral density in older adults: a randomized, controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 91:2986–2993

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Van Beaumont W (1972) Evaluation of hemoconcentration from hematocrit measurements. J Appl Physiol 32:712–713

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    el-Hajj FG, Klerman EB, Brown EN, Choe Y, Brown EM, Czeisler CA (1997) The parathyroid hormone circadian rhythm is truly endogenous–a general clinical research center study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 82:281–286

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Kitamura N, Shigeno C, Shiomi K, Lee K, Ohta S, Sone T, Katsushima S, Tadamura E, Kousaka T, Yamamoto I (1990) Episodic fluctuation in serum intact parathyroid hormone concentration in men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 70:252–263

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Herfarth K, Schmidt-Gayk H, Graf S, Maier A (1992) Circadian rhythm and pulsatility of parathyroid hormone secretion in man. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 37:511–519

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Maimoun L, Manetta J, Couret I, Dupuy AM, Mariano-Goulart D, Rossi M (2006) The intensity level of physical exercise and the bone metabolism response. Int J Sports Med 27:105–111

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Brahm H, Strom H, Piehl-Aulin K, Mallmin H, Ljunghall S (1997) Bone metabolism in endurance trained athletes: a comparison to population-based controls based on DXA, SXA, quantitative ultrasound, and biochemical markers. Calcif Tissue Int 61:448–454

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Rong H, Berg U, Torring O, Sundberg CJ, Granberg B, Bucht E (1997) Effect of acute endurance and strength exercise on circulating calcium-regulating hormones and bone markers in young healthy males. Scand J Med Sci Sports 7:152–159

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Crespo R, Revilla M, Villa LF, Usabiaga J, Leibar X, Rico H (1999) Transient dissociation of bone metabolism induced by high performance exercise: a study in elite marathon runners. Calcif Tissue Int 64:287–290

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Takada H, Washino K, Nagashima M, Iwata H (1998) Response of parathyroid hormone to anaerobic exercise in adolescent female athletes. Acta Paediatr Jpn 40:73–77

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Klesges RC, Ward KD, Shelton ML, Applegate WB, Cantler ED, Palmieri GM, Harmon K, Davis J (1996) Changes in bone mineral content in male athletes: mechanisms of action and intervention effects. JAMA 276:226–230

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Patterson MJ, Galloway SD, Nimmo MA (2000) Variations in regional sweat composition in normal human males. Exp Physiol 85:869–875

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Institute of Medicine FaNB (1997) Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. National Academy Press, Washington DC

    Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Brown EM (2000) Calcium receptor and regulation of parathyroid hormone secretion. Rev Endocrinol Metab Disord 1:307–315

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Copp DH (1957) Calcium and phosphorus metabolism. Am J Med 22:275–285

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Rasmussen H (1971) Ionic and hormonal control of calcium homeostasis. Am J Med 50:567–588

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Sabo D, Bernd L, Pfeil J, Rieiter A (1996) Bone quality in the lumbar spine in high-performance athletes. Eur Spine J 5:258–263

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Fiore CE, Dieli M, Vintaloro G, Gibilaro M, Giacone G, Cottini E (1996) Body composition and bone mineral density in competitive athletes in different sports. Int J Tissue React 18:121–124

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Morel J, Combe B, Francisco J, Bernard J (2001) Bone mineral density of 704 amateur sportsmen involved in different physical activities. Osteoporos Int 12:152–157

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Warner SE, Shaw JM, Dalsky GP (2002) Bone mineral density of competitive male mountain and road cyclists. Bone 30:281–286

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Andreoli A, Monteleone M, Van LM, Promenzio L, Tarantino U, De LA (2001) Effects of different sports on bone density and muscle mass in highly trained athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:507–511

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Vuori IM (2001) Dose-response of physical activity and low back pain, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:S551–S586

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Chilibeck PD, Sale DG, Webber CE (1995) Exercise and bone mineral density. Sports Med 19:103–122

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Heinonen A, Oja P, Kannus P, Sievanen H, Manttari A, Vuori I (1993) Bone mineral density of female athletes in different sports. Bone Miner 23:1–14

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Brown EM, Pollak M, Hebert SC (1995) Sensing of extracellular Ca2+ by parathyroid and kidney cells: cloning and characterization of an extracellular Ca(2+)-sensing receptor. Am J Kidney Dis 25:506–513

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  45. 45.

    Chappard C, Houillier P, Paillard M (2001) Bone status in primary hyperparathyroidism. Joint Bone Spine 68:112–119

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Cosman F (2005) Anabolic therapy for osteoporosis: parathyroid hormone. Curr Osteoporos Rep 3:143–149

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors thank Daniel Dahl, Amanda Gerlach, Bette Andros, Linda Lafever, Therese Ida, and the staff of the General Clinical Research Center for their technical assistance. This research was supported by General Clinical Research Center award M01 RR00051 and Clinical Nutrition Research Unit award P30 KD048520.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniel W. Barry.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Barry, D.W., Kohrt, W.M. Acute Effects of 2 Hours of Moderate-Intensity Cycling on Serum Parathyroid Hormone and Calcium. Calcif Tissue Int 80, 359–365 (2007).

Download citation


  • Parathyroid hormone
  • Calcium homeostasis
  • Exercise
  • Sweat
  • Calcium