A carbohydrate dietary supplement may be able to boost the amount of calcium that adolescent girls can absorb from their diets, according to the results of an industry-sponsored study released last week at the scientific pediatric symposium in Boston.
The supplement, a form of inulin, appeared to increase the amount of calcium that girls absorbed by nearly 20%. Studies have linked increased calcium absorption in adolescence to a lowered risk of osteoporosis later in life for girls.
In the study, 28 girls between the ages 11 and 14 years drank calcium-fortified orange juice containing either the inulin supplement or a placebo for three weeks. After a two-week break, the groups were crossed over to the other arm of the study.
The researchers determined that the girls absorbed 416 milligrams(mg) of calcium from the 1300-mg-calcium diet while drinking the non-supplemented juice. Absorption rose to an average of 494 mg while girls drank supplemented juice, an 18% difference.
Some food American companies are considering adding inulin to foods to fortify their bioavailable calcium. The study findings suggest this might be beneficial. However, the study did not look at girls eating their everyday diets, in which many do not get the recommended amounts of calcium.
Orafti, a company that makes a commercially available form of inulin, financed the study.
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