An inulin-type fructan enhances calcium absorption primarily via an effect on colonic absorption in humans

Steven A. Abrams, Keli M. Hawthorne, Oluseyi Aliu, Penni D. Hicks, Zhensheng Chen, Ian J. Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Calcium absorption efficiency and bone mineral mass are increased in adolescents who regularly consume inulin-type fructans (ITF). The mechanism of action in increasing absorption is unknown but may be related to increased colonic calcium absorption. We conducted a study in young adults designed to evaluate these mechanisms with a kinetic technique using 42Ca orally and 46Ca dosed i.v. Those who responded to 8 wk of supplementation with 8 g of a mixed short and long degree of polymerization ITF by increasing their calcium absorption had kinetic measurements analyzed to evaluate the time course of absorption. The area under the curve of the oral tracer in the blood during the 26 h after dosing was calculated and the time dependence of increased absorption determined. Eight young adults (of 13 studied), with mean calcium intake ∼900 mg/d, responded to the ITF with an increased calcium absorption of at least 3%. In responders, absorption increased from 22.7 ± 11.3% to 31.0 ± 15.3%. Colonic absorption, defined as absorption that occurred >7 h after oral dosing, represented 69.6 ± 18.6% of the increase, or 49 ± 28 mg/d. These findings suggest that, in those who respond to ITF, its effects on calcium absorption occur principally in the colon. This benefit to ITF may be especially important when absorption in the small intestine is impaired for anatomic or physiological reasons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2208-2212
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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