The reference values for bone turnover markers (BTMs) have a significant role in the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of metabolic bone disease. This study proposes that the peak value of bone mineral density and the trough value for the BTM curve can be used to determine the reference range of BTM. The aim of this study is to determine the reference intervals of BTMs for adult females in China with an attempt to reference the peak bone mineral density (BMD) with the corresponding BTM valley. This study included 546 premenopausal and 394 postmenopausal women. The levels of several BTMs were determined, and the BMD was measured using a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The BTMs of postmenopausal women were 17–96 % higher than premenopausal women. The change of BTM with age presented an optimal goodness-of-fit according to the cubic regression model (R 2 = 0.074–0.346, all P = 0.000). All kinds of BTM levels were positively correlated with age in premenopausal women aged 27–56 years old (r = 0.167–0.502, P = 0.023–0.000). Except for uCTX, the BTM reference value determined using a curve-fitting valley was significantly lower than the reference values for premenopausal women. The BTM reference values determined in this study were also significantly different from the reference values given by the manufacturers of the reagents used. This study found that the changes of level with age of BTMs in Chinese women present an optimal goodness-of-fit according to the cubic regression model. The fitting valley corresponds to the BMD fitting peak and may possibly be an effective means of determining the BTM reference intervals.