A combination of prebiotic short- and long-chain inulin-type fructans enhances calcium absorption and bone mineralization in young adolescents

Steven A. Abrams, Ian J. Griffin, Keli M. Hawthorne, Lily Liang, Sheila K. Gunn, Gretchen Darlington, Kenneth J. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

343 Scopus citations


Background: Short-term studies in adolescents have generally shown an enhancement of calcium absorption by inulin-type fructans (prebiotics). Results have been inconsistent; however, and no studies have been conducted to determine whether this effect persists with long-term use. Objective: The objective was to assess the effects on calcium absorption and bone mineral accretion after 8 wk and 1 y of supplementation with an inulin-type fructan. Design: Pubertal adolescents were randomly assigned to receive 8 g/d of a mixed short and long degree of polymerization inulin-type fructan product (fructan group) or maltodextrin placebo (control group). Bone mineral content and bone mineral density were measured before randomization and after 1 y. Calcium absorption was measured with the use of stable isotopes at baseline and 8 wk and 1 y after supplementation. Polymorphisms of the Fok1 vitamin D receptor gene were determined. Results: Calcium absorption was significantly greater in the fructan group than in the control group at 8 wk (difference: 8.5 ± 1.6%; P < 0.001) and at 1 y (difference: 5.9 ± 2.8%; P = 0.04). An interaction with Fok1 genotype was present such that subjects with an ff genotype had the least initial response to fructan. After 1 y, the fructan group had a greater increment in both whole-body bone mineral content (difference: 35 ± 16 g; P = 0.03) and whole-body bone mineral density (difference: 0.015 ± 0.004 g/cm2; P = 0.01) than did the control group. Conclusion: Daily consumption of a combination of prebiotic short-and long-chain inulin-type fructans significantly increases calcium absorption and enhances bone mineralization during pubertal growth. Effects of dietary factors on calcium absorption may be modulated by genetic factors, including specific vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-476
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioavailability
  • Calcium absorption
  • Inulin
  • Prebiotics
  • Pubertal growth
  • Stable isotopes
  • Vitamin D receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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