Dietary strategies to prevent and treat osteoporosis focus on increased intake of calcium and vitamin D. Modification of whole dietary patterns and sodium reduction may also be effective. We examined the effects of two dietary patterns and three sodium levels on bone and calcium metabolism in a randomized feeding study. A total of 186 adults, aged 23-76 y, participated. After a 2-wk run-in period, participants were assigned randomly to diets containing three levels of sodium (50, 100 and 150 mmol/d) to be consumed for 30 d in random order. Serum osteocalcin (OC), C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX), fasting serum parathyroid hormone (PTH), urinary sodium, potassium, calcium and cAMP were measured at baseline and at the end of each sodium period. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet reduced serum OC by 8-11% and CTX by 16-18% (both P < 0.001). Urinary calcium excretion did not differ between subjects that consumed the DASH and control diets. Reducing sodium from the high to the low level significantly decreased serum OC 0.6 microg/L in subjects that consumed the DASH diet, fasting serum PTH 2.66 ng/L in control subjects and urinary calcium 0.5 mmol/24 h in both groups. There were no consistent effects of the diets or sodium levels on urinary cAMP. In conclusion, the DASH diet significantly reduced bone turnover, which if sustained may improve bone mineral status. A reduced sodium intake reduced calcium excretion in both diet groups and serum OC in the DASH group. The DASH diet and reduced sodium intake may have complementary, beneficial effects on bone health.