The therapeutic value of three calcium absorption promoting carbohydrates, lactose, gluconate and xylitol, in bone calcification was evaluated in 7-week-old male rats which were fed on a semisynthetic Ca-deficient diet for 3 weeks. Lactose + CaCO3, xylitol + CaCO3, Ca-gluconate, or CaCO3 alone were administered to the Ca-deficient rats for 2 weeks; the carbohydrate and Ca contents of the diets were 5% and 0.5%, respectively. The Ca-deficient rats showed a decrease in serum total Ca and ionized Ca2+ and in tibial Ca, Mg, P and density, with a concomitant increase in bone hydroxyproline concentration. Bone and serum tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase activities were increased 2-fold and the serum 1,25(OH)2D3 level 5-fold. Smaller increases were found in serum calcitonin, PTH, alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin levels. These changes (except calcitonin) were reversed by the administration of Ca and the carbohydrates. It was observed that all three agents improved the recalcification of bones compared with the effect of CaCO3 alone. The effect of lactose and xylitol was superior to that of gluconate. These results suggest advantages in the use of xylitol in Ca-supplements.