The rate of bone mineral loss in normal men and the effects of calcium and cholecalciferol supplementation

Ann Intern Med. 1990 Jan 1;112(1):29-34. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-112-1-29.


Objective: To determine the rate of bone loss in normal men, and to examine the effects of dietary calcium and cholecalciferol supplementation on bone loss in men.

Design: Double-blinded, placebo-controlled 3-year trial of supplementation with calcium (1000 mg/d) and cholecalciferol (25 micrograms/d).

Setting: Clinical research center at a university medical facility.

Subjects: Normal men 30 to 87 years old, recruited from the Portland community.

Measurements and main results: Radial bone mineral content (assessed by single-photon absorptiometry) fell by 1.0%/y (95% CI, -1.3% to 0.7%) at a proximal radial site and 1.0%/y (95% CI, -1.4% to -0.6%) at a distal radial site. Vertebral bone mineral content (assessed by dual-energy quantitative computed tomography) declined by 2.3%/y (95% CI, -2.8% to -1.8%). In these healthy men with a high basal dietary calcium intake (1159 mg/d), calcium and cholecalciferol supplementation did not affect bone loss at any site.

Conclusions: Normal men experience a substantial bone loss at both axial and appendicular sites that is not prevented by calcium and vitamin D supplementation in a well-nourished population.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Calcium Carbonate / therapeutic use*
  • Cholecalciferol / therapeutic use*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / etiology*
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Reference Values


  • Cholecalciferol
  • Calcium Carbonate