Calcium turnover and nutrition through the life cycle

Proc Nutr Soc. 2001 May;60(2):283-9. doi: 10.1079/pns200082.


Ca nutritional requirements and bone Ca turnover can be assessed using numerous techniques. Among these techniques are bone mass measurements, tracer kinetic studies, bone histomorphometry and biochemical studies. Stable-isotope-based kinetic studies offer unique advantages in their ability to assess both Ca absorption and turnover. This approach is safe and readily applicable to subjects of all ages. Ca is essential for growth and maintenance of bone mineral throughout life. During pregnancy, increased intestinal absorption of Ca by the mother provides much of the Ca supplied to the fetus. During infancy, Ca supplied in human milk is primarily derived from maternal bone stores, which are quickly replenished during and after weaning. Early childhood is a time of relatively slow bone growth, with a rapid increase occurring during puberty. Recent kinetic studies demonstrate an increase in both Ca absorption and bone Ca deposition associated with early puberty. Bone Ca deposition reaches a maximum in females shortly before menarche. At that time the bone Ca deposition rate is approximately five times that of adulthood. The decline in bone Ca deposition rate is gradual after menarche. Ca absorption from the diet shows a gradual decline in adulthood as well. Ca supplementation, in the presence of adequate vitamin D, is effective in enhancing bone mineral content in childhood and in helping to maintain bone mineral content in adults. Maintaining adequate Ca nutriture throughout life may be necessary to minimize the risk of bone-loss disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Development / physiology
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Bone and Bones / physiology
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium / pharmacokinetics
  • Calcium Isotopes
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lactation / physiology
  • Menopause / physiology
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Pregnancy


  • Calcium Isotopes
  • Calcium