J Osteoporos doi: 10.1155/2020/9324505. eCollection 2020.
Bone health of the elderly is a major global health concern, since about 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men suffer from bone loss and fractures, often called osteoporosis, in old age. Bone health is a complex issue affected by multiple hormones and minerals. Among all the hormones involved in bone health, calcitriol (also vitamin D), parathyroid, and sex hormones (especially estrogen) have been discussed in this review paper. We have discussed the metabolism of these hormones and their effects on bone health. Vitamin D can be obtained from diet or formed from 7-dehydrocholesterol found under the skin in the presence of sunlight. The active form, calcitriol, causes dimerization of vitamin D receptor and acts on the bones, intestine, and kidney to regulate the level of calcium in blood. Similarly, parathyroid hormone is secreted when the serum level of calcium is low. It helps regulate the level of blood calcium through calcitriol. Sex hormones regulate bone modeling at an early age and remodeling later in life. Loss of ovarian function and a decrement in the level of production of estrogen are marked by bone loss in elderly women. In the elderly, various changes in the calcium and vitamin D metabolism, such as decrease in the production of vitamin D, decrease in dietary vitamin D, decreased renal production, increased production of excretory products, decrease in the level of VDR, and decreased calcium absorption by the intestines, can lead to bone loss. When the elderly are diagnosed with osteoporosis, medications that directly target bone such as bisphosphonates, RANK ligand inhibitors, estrogen and estrogen analogues, estrogen receptor modulators, and parathyroid hormone receptor agonists are used. Additionally, calcium and vitamin D supplements are prescribed.