Bone gamma-carboxyglutamic acid-containing (Gla) protein (BGP, osteocalcin) is a noncollagenous protein of bone present in plasma and removed by the kidney. Plasma BGP has been shown to be elevated in patients with certain bone diseases. The present study evaluates serum BGP (S-BGP), serum alkaline phosphatase (S-AP), and urinary hydroxyproline excretion (U-OHP) in diseases with differing bone turnover rates, and compares the accuracy of these measurements for estimating bone mineralization (m) and resorption (r) rates. S-BGP, S-AP, U-OHP, and creatinine clearance (Clcr) were measured in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (n = 13), hyperthyroidism (n = 6), and hypothyroidism (n = 6). Bone mineralization and resorption rates were calculated from a 7-d combined calcium balance and 47Ca turnover study. A highly significant correlation (r = 0.69, P less than 0.001) was found between S-BGP and m. Multiple regression analysis disclosed a partial correlation between S-BGP and m when Clcr was taken into account (r = 0.82, P less than 0.001), and between S-BGP and Clcr when m was taken into account (r = -0.62, P less than 0.005). In accordance with this, a stronger correlation (r = 0.89, P less than 0.0001) was found between S-BGP X Clcr and m than between S-BGP and m. A less significant correlation was found between S-AP and m (r = 0.45, P less than 0.05). Furthermore, U-OHP showed a highly significant positive correlation to r (r = 0.78, P less than 0.001). Thus, in the studied disorders of calcium metabolism, individual serum levels of BGP depend on both mineralization rate and renal function. Serum levels of BGP corrected for alterations in renal function are superior to uncorrected S-BGP and to S-AP levels in the estimation of bone mineralization rates.