Acceleration of bone remodelling increases the risk of fragility fractures. The objective of the present study was to explore in elderly women whether a vitamin D and Ca-fortified dairy product providing about 17–25 % of the recommended intakes in vitamin D, Ca and proteins would reduce secondary hyperparathyroidism and bone remodelling in a way that may attenuate age-related bone loss in the long term. Thirty-seven institutionalised women, aged 84·8 (sd 8·1) years, with low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (5·5 (sd 1·7) ng/ml) were enrolled into a multicentre open trial to consume during 1 month two servings of soft plain cheese made of semi-skimmed milk providing daily 686 kJ (164 kcal), 2·5 μg vitamin D, 302 mg Ca and 14·2 g proteins. The primary endpoint was the change in serum carboxy terminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX), selected as a marker of bone resorption. Thirty-five subjects remained compliant. Mean serum changes were: 25-hydroyvitamin D, +14·5 % (P = 0·0051); parathyroid hormone (PTH), − 12·3 % (P = 0·0011); CTX, − 7·5 % (P = 0·01); tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase isoform 5b (TRAP 5b), − 9·9 % (P < 0·0001); albumin, +6·2 % (P < 0·0001); insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I),+16·9 % (P < 0·0001); osteocalcin, +8·3 % (P = 0·0166); amino-terminal propeptide of type 1 procollagen (P1NP),+19·3 % (P = 0·0031). The present open trial suggests that fortified soft plain cheese consumed by elderly women with vitamin D insufficiency can reduce bone resorption markers by positively influencing Ca and protein economy, as expressed by decreased PTH and increased IGF-I, respectively. The rise in the bone formation marker P1NP could be explained by a protein-mediated increase in IGF-I. Thus, such a dietary intervention might uncouple, at least transiently, bone resorption from bone formation and thereby attenuate age-related bone loss.