Effects of dietary protein deficiency on mineral metabolism and bone mineral density

Eric Orwoll, Marsha Ware, Lenka Stribrska, Daniel Bikle, Tom Sanchez, Mark Andon, Hongfei Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The effects of dietary protein restriction on mineral and bone metabolism are uncharacterized. We studied growing rats fed a diet low in protein (5%) for 4, 6, and 8 wks (n = 10 animals/group) and compared them with animals pair-fed with a protein-replete (18%) diet. The low-protein diet rapidly induced a profound hypocalciuria that persisted for ≥ 8 wk. Serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations were not affected but serum total and free 25-dihydroxyvitamin D concentrations as well as gastrointestinal calcium absorption were lower in the low-protein animals. Skeletal dimensions were reduced in the protein-deprived rats but there were no significant differences in bone mineral content between control and low-protein animals at 4, 6, and 8 wks. Hence, dietary protein deprivation resulted in slower growth but bone mineral density was maintained when there was a marked reduction in urinary calcium excretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-319
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone
  • Calciuria
  • Protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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