Sue A. Shapses, Ph.D., RD

Professor of Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers
Director, New Jersey Obesity Group
Ph.D. Columbia University, 1988

Nutrition is critical to normal growth and maintenance of skeletal tissue. This research program focuses on the nutritional regulation of skeletal tissues by examining the biochemistry of bone and gene expression within the extracellular matrix. Importantly, there are clinical trials to determine how nutritional intake influences hormones that regulate bone to ultimately influence the development of osteoporosis.

The major focus in the laboratory is to determine how obesity and loss of body weight contributes to the risk of osteoporosis. Evidence shows that subjects who diet and lose weight also lose bone. Our goal is to determine mechanisms that regulate the rate of bone turnover and bone loss during caloric restriction and the role of specific nutrients such as vitamin D, protein and calcium. Bone turnover is measured in the urine and blood using techniques of spectrophotometry, HPLC, and radioimmunoassay. Calcium absorption (using stable isotopes and mass spec) and bone-regulating hormones are examined in these studies to address mechanisms of regulation. In addition, studies examining gastric bypass patients are in progress to understand how obesity surgery influences calcium homeostasis and bone mass. Due to the high rate of morbidity and mortality associated with osteoporotic fractures, we also use a rat model to better understand how nutrition regulates bone turnover, composition, and biomechanical properties. We also examine the regulation of bone in disease states associated with changes in bone mass. For example, we have studied how glycemic control and hormones regulate bone turnover in insulin-dependent patients with diabetes. We have also used biochemical markers of bone turnover to estimate the early rate of growth in human and in equine studies. In addition, the regulation of lipids in bone and connective tissue is an ongoing interest in the laboratory.

Selected Articles and Reviews

  • Shapses SA, Sukumar D, Schneider SH, Schlussel Y, Brolin RE, Taich L. Hormonal and dietary influences on true fractional calcium absorption in women: role of obesity. Osteoporos Int. 2012 Jan 27. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22282301.
  • Shapses SA, and Sakumar D. Bone metabolism in obesity weight loss. Ann Review of Nutrition, 2012 Aug 21; 32:287-309, 2012. To access this article, go to:
  • Shen W, Chen J, Gantz M, Punyanitya M, Heymsfield SB, Gallagher D, Albu J, Engelson E, Kotler D, Pi-Sunyer X, Shapses S. Ethnic and sex differences in bone marrow adipose tissue and bone mineral density relationship. Osteoporos Int. 2011 Dec 16. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22173789; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3378820.
  • Sukumar D, Ambia-Sobhan H, Zurfluh R, Schlussel Y, Stahl TJ, Gordon CL,Shapses SA. Areal and volumetric bone mineral density and geometry at two levels of protein intake during caloric restriction: a randomized, controlled trial. J Bone Miner Res. 2011 Jun;26(6):1339-48. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.318. PubMed PMID: 21611972; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3312759.
  • Sukumar D, Partridge NC, Wang X, Shapses SA. The high serum monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 in obesity is influenced by high parathyroid hormone and not adiposity. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jun;96(6):1852-8. Epub 2011 Apr 20. PubMed PMID: 21508136; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3206398.
  • Shapses SA, Kendler DL, Robson R, Hansen KE, Sherrell RM, Field MP, Woolf E, Berd Y, Mantz AM, Santora AC 2nd. Effect of alendronate and vitamin D3 on fractional calcium absorption in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in postmenopausal osteoporotic women. J Bone Miner Res. 2011Aug;26 (8):1836-44. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.395. PubMed PMID: 21448918.
  • Sukumar D, Schlussel Y, Riedt CS, Gordon C, Stahl T, Shapses SA. Obesity alters cortical and trabecular bone density and geometry in women. Osteoporos Int. 2011 Feb;22(2):635-45. Epub 2010 Jun 9. PubMed PMID: 20533027; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2994953.
  • Shapses SA, Manson JE. Vitamin D and prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes: why the evidence falls short. JAMA. 2011 Jun 22;305(24):2565-6. PubMed PMID: 21693745.
  • Ross AC, Manson JE, Abrams SA, Aloia JF, Brannon PM, Clinton SK, Durazo R, Gallo RL, Gallagher JC, Jones G, Kovacs CS, Mayne ST, Rosen CJ, Shapses SA. The 2011 Report on dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D: What clinicians need to know. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 96(1):53-8, 2011.
  • Douard V, Asgerally A, Sabbagh Y, Sugiura S, Shapses SA, Casirola D, Ferraris RP. Dietary fructose inhibits intestinal calcium absorption and induces vitamin D insufficiency in CKD. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2010 Feb;21(2):261-71. Epub 2009 Dec 3. PubMed PMID: 19959720; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2834550.
  • Hawkins J, Cifuentes M, Pleshko NL, Ambia-Sobhan H, Shapses SA. Energy restriction is associated with lower bone mineral density of the tibia and femur in lean but not obese female rats. J Nutr. 2010 Jan;140(1):31-7. Epub 2009 Nov 18. Erratum in: J Nutr. 2010 Apr;140(4):877. PubMed PMID: 19923391; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2793120.
  • Shapses SA. Is bone loss after gastric bypass surgery associated with the extent of weight loss? Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Feb;5(2):80-1. PubMed PMID: 19165219.
  • Bogden JD, Kemp FW, Huang AE, Shapses SA, Ambia-Sobhan H, Jagpal S, Brown IL, Birkett AM. Bone mineral density and content during weight cycling in female rats: effects of dietary amylase-resistant starch. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2008 Nov 26;5:34. PubMed PMID: 19036159; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2631000.
  • Bose M, Lambert JD, Ju J, Reuhl KR, Shapses SA, Yang CS. The major green tea polyphenol, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, inhibits obesity, metabolic syndrome, and fatty liver disease in high-fat-fed mice. J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1677-83. PubMed PMID: 18716169; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2586893.
  • Li X, Liu H, Qin L, Tamasi J, Bergenstock M, Shapses S, Feyen JH, Notterman DA, Partridge NC. Determination of dual effects of parathyroid hormone on skeletal gene expression in vivo by microarray and network analysis. J Biol Chem. 2007 Nov 9;282(45):33086-97. Epub 2007 Aug 9. PubMed PMID: 17690103.
  • Riedt CS, Brolin RE, Sherrell RM, Field MP, Shapses SA. True fractional calcium absorption is decreased after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2006 Nov;14(11):1940-8. PubMed PMID: 17135609.
  • Cifuentes M, Riedt CS, Brolin RE, Field MP, Sherrell RM, Shapses SA. Weight loss and calcium intake influence calcium absorption in overweight postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jul;80(1):123-30. Erratum in: Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jan;81(1):199. PubMed PMID: 15213038.
  • Shapses SA, Heshka S, Heymsfield SB. Effect of calcium supplementation on weight and fat loss in women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Feb;89(2):632-7. PubMed PMID: 14764774.
  • Goode LR, Brolin RE, Chowdhury HA, Shapses SA. Bone and gastric bypass surgery: effects of dietary calcium and vitamin D. Obes Res. 2004 Jan;12(1):40-7. PubMed PMID: 14742841.


  • Shapses SA, Rosen CJ. Optimal vitamin D levels in health and disease: current understanding based on IOM guidelines. Vitamin D Update. Translational Endocrinology and Metabolism, The Endocrine Society, 2(3): 13-42, 2011.
  • Shapses SA, Lewis RD, Pollack N. Relationships between fat and bone in children and adults. In: Diet, Nutrients and Bone Health. Eds. Anderson JB, Garner SC, Klemmer PJ eds. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis, 2011.
  • Shapses SA. Calcium and Phosphorus. In: Biochemical, Physiological & Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition. Ed. Stipanik, Caudill, M, Elsevier, p 721-746, 2012.