Dietary long-chain inulin reduces abdominal fat but has no effect on bone density in growing female rats

Br J Nutr. 2008 Aug;100(2):451-9. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508894378. Epub 2008 Feb 18.


New strategies to improve Ca absorption and bone health are needed to address the current state of osteoporosis prevention and management. Inulin-type fructans have shown great promise as a dietary intervention strategy, but have not yet been tested in a young female model. Our objective was to investigate the effect of long chain (LC) inulin on bone mineralization and density in growing, female rats, as well as the quality of growth. Weanling Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to inulin or cellulose treatments for either 4 or 8 weeks. Growth was measured weekly and quality of growth assessed using fat pad weights and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Whole body (WB) and selected regions were analysed for bone mineral density (BMD) and body composition by DXA. Serum markers of bone turnover were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Ca and P concentrations were determined in excised femurs by inductively coupled plasma spectrometry. Feeding inulin resulted in 4 % higher femoral weight (adjusted for body weight) and 6 % less feed intake. Inulin did not affect WB or regional BMD, but was associated with a 28 % lower parametrial fat pad mass, 21 % less WB fat mass and 5 % less WB mass. In summary, LC-inulin lowered body fat mass, without consequence to bone density in growing female rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / drug effects*
  • Abdominal Fat / growth & development
  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Calcification, Physiologic / drug effects
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Female
  • Femur / anatomy & histology
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Femur / physiology
  • Growth / drug effects
  • Inulin / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Biomarkers
  • Inulin