During the last 50 years, a variety of methods have been developed to estimate Ca absorption in man. Mass balances were initially used, but these were unable to accurately measure fractional Ca absorption because they cannot distinguish unabsorbed dietary Ca from endogenous faecal Ca excretion (excretion of previously absorbed Ca back into the gut). A number of isotopic methods have been developed that can measure true fractional Ca absorption, employing radioisotopes, stable isotopes, or both. Different methods involve collection of urine, faecal or plasma samples. Of the currently available methods, the dual isotope tracer method with a timed urine collection is probably the most precise and reliable. It is also relatively straightforward to carry out and avoids the need for a faecal collection. The purpose of the present paper is to discuss the general advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of Ca absorption. In addition, the limitations the different methods have in examining the possible effects of non-digestible oligosaccharides on Ca absorption will be discussed.
- Calcium absorption
- Non-digestible oligosaccharides
- Stable isotopes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)