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Calcitonin - Definition


Calcitonin is a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland whose main aim is to lower levels of calcium (and phosphorous) in the blood. It is secreted when calcium levels in the blood are too high. It acts both in the intestines, by increasing its absorption and reducing the production of calcium, and in the bones, by blocking the removal of calcium in the kidney and promoting its elimination through the urine. Calcitonin has effects opposite to those of another hormone, the parathyroid hormone secreted by the parathyroid glands. Increased calcitonin may come from thyroid cancer, but it may also be a sign of other generalized cancers. Synthetic calcitonin can be used as a treatment for certain conditions such as osteoporosis or hypercalcemia.