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Better Nutrient Absorption with Prebiotic Oligosaccharides
By - Danone Nutricia Academy
Danone Nutricia Academy

 

Background

Prebiotics are non-digestible dietary elements that benefit the host by selectively increasing the development and activity of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal system, boosting health. Several animal and human studies have found that non-digestible oligosaccharides (NDO) such as inulin, oligofructose, fructooligosaccharides, galactooligosaccharides improve1-

  • Mineral absorption and metabolism
  • Bone structure and morphology

Moreover, a high dietary calcium content up to a threshold level and an optimal amount and composition of supplemented prebiotics support a beneficial result of dietary prebiotics. Dietary prebiotic’s efficiency is determined by chronological age, physiological age, and calcium absorption ability.1

Clinical evidence suggests that prebiotics like inulin, oligofructose, or other NDOs increases calcium and magnesium absorption.1

Study 1 conducted by Griffin et al., 2002

Objective

The study examined how oligofructose and a blend of oligofructose and inulin affected calcium absorption in many girls with calcium intakes close to dietary recommendations.2

Table 1. The study design.2

Study type

Balanced, randomized, double-blind, and cross-over study

Number of participants (N)

59

Study group

§Group I- Placebo (sucrose) vs. Chicory oligofructose (two 4g serving each daily)

§Group II- Placebo (sucrose) vs. Inulin+oligofructose (two 4g serving each daily)

Calcium intake

Approximately 1200–1300 mg/dd

Evaluation period

Three weeks

Results

There were no significant differences in calcium intake2-

  • Group I (oligofructose 1524 (265) mg/d vs. placebo 1611 (326) mg/d; P=0.34)
  • Group II (inulin+oligofructose mixture 1525 (282) mg/d vs. placebo 1495 (280) mg/d; P=0.50)

Between placebo and oligofructose, there was no significant change in fractional calcium absorption.2

Calcium absorption was considerably higher in the inulin+oligofructose subjects than placebo subjects.2

Compared to placebo, the inulin+oligofructose combination substantially enhanced absolute calcium absorption (575 (148) mg/d v. 485 (154) mg/d, P=0·004).2

Study 2 conducted by Abrams et al., 2005

The objective of this study was to examine how supplementation with a inulin-type fructan (prebiotic) in pubertal adolescents affected calcium absorption and bone mineral accretion after eight weeks and one year. A total of 8 g/day of a mixed short and long polymerized inulin-type fructan (prebiotic) or placebo (maltodextrin) was given to 100 pubertal adolescents (50 girls and 50 boys).3

Fructan Group (prebiotics) - 3

At eight weeks - P<0.001

After one year- P = 0.04

Calcium absorption considerbly higher

Fructan group(prebiotics) after one year increased - 3

Whole-body bone mineral content (P=0.03)

Whole-body bone mineral density (P=0.01)

Conclusion

The studies revealed that consuming small quantities of a combination of inulin+oligofructose daily enhances calcium absorption. It also suggested that daily ingestion of a prebiotic blend of short- and long-chain inulin-type fructans (prebiotics) boosts calcium absorption and bone mineralization throughout pubertal development.

References:

  1. Scholz-Ahrens KE, Ade P, Marten B, Weber P, Timm W, Aςil Y, Glüer CC, Schrezenmeir J. Prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics affect mineral absorption, bone mineral content, and bone structure. The Journal of nutrition. 2007 Mar 1;137(3):838S-46S.
  2. Griffin IJ, Davila PM, Abrams SA. Non-digestible oligosaccharides and calcium absorption in girls with adequate calcium intakes.
  3. Abrams SA, Griffin IJ, Hawthorne KM, Liang L, Gunn SK, Darlington G, Ellis KJ. A combination of prebiotic short-and long-chain inulin-type fructans enhances calcium absorption and bone mineralization in young adolescents–. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2005 Aug 1;82(2):471-6.

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