Research from Purdue University suggests that supplementing with soluble corn fiber during adolescence and during the post-menopause period can help build and retain calcium in bone.

“Soluble corn fiber, a prebiotic, helps the body better utilize calcium during both adolescence and post-menopause. The gut microbiome is the new frontier in health,” says Connie Weaver, a distinguished professor and head of nutrition science at Purdue University, in a media release from the university.

The study including post-menopausal women is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and the study including the adolescent women is published in The Journal of Nutrition.

In the post-menopausal study, calcium retention was measured in 14 women by using an isotope to measure the excretion of 41Ca to measure bone loss. The women consumed 0 grams, 10 grams or 20 grams of this nondigestible carbohydrate each day for 50 days. Bone calcium retention was improved by 4.8% and 7% for those who consumed 10 grams and 20 grams, respectively. These amounts of soluble corn fiber would be found in supplement form, the release explains.

“If projected out for a year, this would equal and counter the average rate of bone loss in a post-menopausal woman,” says Weaver, an expert in mineral bioavailability, calcium metabolism, botanicals and bone health.

In the adolescent study, 44Ca and 43Ca were used. Thirty-one girls either consumed 0 grams, 10 grams or 20 grams of soluble corn fiber carbohydrate each day for 3 weeks while maintaining their regular diets. Both 10 grams and 20 grams led to improved calcium absorption by 12% for female adolescents, which would build 1.8% more skeleton a year.

In both studies, gastrointestinal symptoms were minimal and the same for the control groups, as well as in those who consumed soluble corn fiber, the release continues.

“We found this prebiotic can help healthy people use minerals better to support bone health,” Weaver notes in the release.

“The finding doesn’t mean we should diminish our recommendation to drink milk and follow a well-balanced diet. This is a strategy to better utilize your minerals for those not consuming the whole recommendation of dairy,” Weaver adds. “Calcium alone suppresses bone loss, but it doesn’t enhance bone formation. These fibers enhance bone formation, so they are doing something more than enhancing calcium absorption.”

[Source(s): Purdue University, Science Daily]