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J Pediatr. 2001 Oct;139(4):522-6.

Calcium fortification of breakfast cereal enhances calcium absorption in children without affecting iron absorption.

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US Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston 77030, USA.



Provision of calcium-fortified foods may represent an important component of improving the calcium intake of children. We sought to determine whether the addition of calcium to cereal would have a net positive effect on calcium absorption without decreasing iron absorption.


Twenty-seven children, 6 to 9 years of age, were provided two servings per day (30 g of cereal per serving) of either a low (39 mg/serving) or fortified (156 mg/serving) calcium-containing cereal product for 14 days. Calcium absorption was measured by using stable isotopes added to milk (extrinsically labeled) and to the calcium-fortified cereal (intrinsically labeled).


Fractional calcium absorption from the fortified cereal was virtually identical to that from milk. Fractional absorption of calcium from milk did not differ significantly when given with enriched or low-calcium-containing cereal. Total calcium absorption increased from 215 +/- 45 mg/d to 269 +/- 45 mg/d with the addition of the calcium-fortified cereal (P <.001). Iron absorption was similar when children received the calcium-fortified cereal or unfortified cereal.


The addition of a moderate amount of calcium to a cereal product was beneficial to calcium absorption and did not interfere with iron absorption. Use of calcium-fortified food products may be considered a practical approach to increasing the calcium intake of children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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