Fructo-oligosaccharides and calcium absorption and retention in adolescent girls

J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Aug;29(4):382-6. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2010.10719855.


Background: Several studies have shown a positive effect of fructo-oligosaccharides on calcium absorption and retention in animals and humans. Effects of levels of these pre-biotics that can be functionally incorporated into manufactured foods, have not been studied in controlled feeding studies.

Objectives: This study was designed to evaluate the effect of 9 g/d of fructo-oligosaccharides as part of a controlled diet on calcium absorption and retention in adolescent girls.

Design: Fourteen healthy adolescent girls aged 11-13 y were studied in a metabolic setting for two 3-week periods separated by a 2-week washout period. In a randomized, double-blinded, crossover design, the teens received a diet containing either 9 g/d oligofructose-enriched inulin in a calcium-fortified cereal or the control cereal with no inulin. Both diets contained ~1500 mg calcium daily. Calcium retention was determined on the third week of each period. On day 14 of the diet period, fractional calcium absorption was determined from the enrichment of (44)Ca in 4-day urine collections.

Results: Calcium absorption (67 ± 3 vs. 66 ± 3%) and retention (409 ± 394 vs. 464 ± 241 mg/d) were not significantly different when diets contained 9 g/d oligofructose-enriched inulin or not in a calcium-fortified cereal.

Conclusions: Daily consumption of cereal containing a combination of short- and long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides as part of a controlled diet did not benefit calcium absorption or retention in adolescent girls. Lack of response to the prebiotic in this cohort may relate to their already high calcium absorption efficiency.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Calcium Isotopes / pharmacokinetics
  • Calcium, Dietary / metabolism
  • Calcium, Dietary / pharmacokinetics*
  • Calcium, Dietary / urine
  • Child
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Edible Grain
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Inulin / pharmacology*
  • Oligosaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Prebiotics*


  • Calcium Isotopes
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Prebiotics
  • Inulin