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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Aug;8(6):240-5.

Bone and mineral metabolism in African Americans.

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Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29401-5703, USA.


Important differences exist in the metabolism of bone and mineral and the vitamin D endocrine system between whites and African Americans and include rate o f skeletal remodeling, bone mass, and vitamin D metabolism. A higher bone mineral density (BMD) in African Americans is associated with a diminished incidence o f osteoporosis and fractures. Serum 17beta-estradiol and the rate of GH secretion are higher in black than in white men, but there is no racial difference in women in this regard. The mechanisms for reduced rate o f skeletal remodeling and for greater BMD in blacks are not known, but diminished rate of skeletal remodeling could be a contributing factor for greater bone mass. Reduction in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in blacks is attributed to increased skin pigment and to diminished dermal production of vitamin D(3) and consequent decreased hepatic synthesis o f the metabolite. There is no evidence that alteration of the vitamin D endocrine system contributes to or is responsible for racial differences in skeletal remodeling and bone mass. Black infants, however, are at risk for developing vitamin D-deficient rickets, particularly when breast-fed.


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