Bone turnover is increased during weight loss in postmenopausal women and can be suppressed with calcium supplementation. In this study, we assessed the influence of energy restriction with and without calcium supplementation (1 g/day) in premenopausal women. Thirty-eight obese premenopausal women (body mass index [BMI] of 35.0 +/- 3.9 kg/m2) completed a 6-month study of either moderate weight loss or weight maintenance. During weight loss, women were randomly assigned to either a calcium supplementation (n = 14) or placebo group (n = 14) and lost 7.5 +/- 2.5% of their body weight. The control group of women (n = 10) maintained their body weight. Total body and lumbar bone mineral density (LBMD) and content were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at baseline and after weight loss. Throughout the study, blood and urine samples were collected to measure bone turnover markers and hormones. During moderate energy restriction, dietary calcium intake decreased (p < 0.05) and the bone resorption marker deoxypyridinoline (DPD) increased slightly (p < or = 0.05) without evidence of bone loss. Calcium supplementation during weight loss tended to increase lumbar BMD by 1.7% (p = 0.05) compared with the placebo or weight maintenance groups. In contrast to our previous findings in postmenopausal women, premenopausal obese women who consume a low calcium diet do not lose bone over a 6-month period, whether their weight is stable or decreasing moderately.