An increase in the serum calcium (Ca) concentration normally suppresses parathyroid function and stimulates the secretion of thyrocalcitonin. Hypercalcemia resulting from intravenous administration of Ca should therefore lead to a net retention of Ca. This hypothesis was tested in six patients with osteoporosis. After twelve Ca infusions, four patients showed clinical improvement, net Ca retention, enhanced bone formation and reduced bone resorption and an increase in the gastrointestinal absorption of Ca. These effects persisted for many months after Ca infusions were stopped. If calcium given in this way leads to a prolonged suppression of parathyroid function and a comparably enhanced stimulation of thyrocalcitonin secretion, it may reverse the metabolic errors that constitute osteoporosis.
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