How does parathyroid hormone (PTH) help treat osteoporosis?

David Slovik, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is produced naturally in the body. It works in several ways to increase the amount of calcium in circulation. It promotes calcium absorption in the intestines and slows its excretion by the kidneys. It can also stimulate both bone formation and bone loss. While too much PTH accelerates bone loss, low doses of PTH given intermittently can increase bone mass and strengthen bone and is considered an anabolic agent.
Unlike osteoporosis medications that slow the rate of bone loss, PTH actually helps build new bone. It does this by increasing the activity and number of bone-building osteoblasts. As a result, it can increase bone mass dramatically.

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