Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 2001; 109(5): 288-293
DOI: 10.1055/s-2001-16349

© Johann Ambrosius Barth

Are levels of bone turnover related to lower bone mass of adolescents previously fed a macrobiotic diet?

T. J. Parsons 1 , M. van Dusseldorp 2 , M. J. Seibel 3 , W. A. van Staveren 4
  • 1 Systematic Reviews Training Unit, Department of Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  • 2 TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute, Zeist, The Netherlands
  • 3 Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Heidelberg Medical School, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 4 Division of Human Nutrition and Epidemiology, Wageningen University and Research Center, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
31 December 2001 (online)


Dutch adolescents who consumed a macrobiotic (vegan-type) diet in early life, demonstrate a lower relative bone mass than their omnivorous counterparts. We investigated whether subjects from the macrobiotic group showed signs of catching up with controls in terms of relative bone mass, reflected by higher levels of serum osteocalcin and alkaline phosphatase and lower levels of urinary cross-links. Group differences in calciotropic hormones and mineral excretion were also investigated. Bone measurements, blood, and urine samples were obtained from 69 macrobiotic (34 girls, 35 boys) and 99 control (57 girls, 42 boys) subjects, aged 9-15. Bone turnover markers and 1,25(OH)2D reached maximal levels at pubertal stages 3-4, and decreased thereafter. After adjusting for puberty, age, and lean body mass, no group differences were found in markers of bone turnover, 1,25(OH)2D, PTH, or calcium excretion, but phosphate excretion was 23% lower in macrobiotic girls. After adjustment for puberty, 1,25(OH)2D was positively related to osteocalcin. In summary, we found no evidence for group differences in bone turnover, or catch up in relative bone mass, which might be due to the fact that 60% of subjects were still in early stages of puberty.


Dr. Tessa Parsons

Systematic Reviews Training Unit

Department of Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Institute of Child Health

30 Guilford Street

London WC1N 1EH


Phone: +44 20 7905 2146

Fax: +44 20 7813 8233

Email: t.parsons@ich.ucl.ac.uk