Age-related changes in calcium metabolism play a role in the development of osteoporosis. A 4-wk feeding study was conducted in 5-mo-old ovariectomized (OVX) Sprague-Dawley rats to assess the effect of various dietary fibers on mineral metabolism and bone health parameters. There were 6 treatment groups: sham-Control, OVX-Control, OVX rats receiving daily estradiol (E₂) injections, and OVX rats receiving an AIN-93M diet supplement with either an inulin-based fiber (Synergy1® or Fruitafit HD®) or a novel fiber (polydextrose) at 5% wt. of diet. Calcium and magnesium metabolic balances were performed after early (3 d) and late exposure (4 wk) to dietary treatments. Rats receiving polydextrose had significantly higher net calcium absorption efficiency and retention than all control groups and a trend (P≤ 0.10) for higher calcium absorption when compared to inulin-based fibers after early exposure but the advantage did not persist over long-term exposure. The inulin-based fibers had positive chronic effects on calcium metabolism that were related to changes in the gut, that is, production of short chain fatty acids and higher cecal wall weights. All fibers improved magnesium absorption and retention in early and late metabolic balances; effects on magnesium metabolism were more pronounced than for calcium.
Practical application: Steady growth in US middle-aged and elderly populations has led to higher incidences of several chronic diseases including osteoporosis, a bone disease that primarily affects postmenopausal women. Recent research suggests that certain dietary fibers (prebiotics) enhance mineral absorption and may impart bone health benefits. This work examines the impact of prebiotic supplementation on mineral metabolism and bone health using a postmenopausal rat model. Study findings will aid future investigations in ascertaining the factors related to potential bone health benefits of prebiotic which will aid in developing an effective prebiotics food product/supplement that will address the bone health needs of consumers.
© 2012 Institute of Food Technologists®