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J Nutr. 1993 Dec;123(12):2122-8.

High fiber diets slow bone turnover in young men but have no effect on efficiency of intestinal calcium absorption.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs 06269-4017.


Dietary fiber reduces the absorption of dietary calcium from a meal, but its impact on calcium kinetics is unknown. We therefore evaluated the effects of a high fiber diet on calcium balance and kinetics and on calcium-regulating hormones. Seven young men each participated in two 23-d experiments. In the low fiber period the controlled diet provided 6.5 g fiber/d and 530 mg calcium/d. In the high fiber period fiber was increased to 31.3 g/d and calcium to 586 mg/d by substituting high fiber cereal. Measured between d 7 and 12 of each period, the high fiber diet significantly lowered the apparent absorption of calcium (from 60.6 +/- 23.8% to 37.1 +/- 26.5%) and reduced calcium balance, although balance remained positive overall. Fiber had no effect on serum total or ultrafiltrable calcium, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D or parathyroid hormone concentrations measured on d 1, 7, 12 and 20. Calcium kinetics was studied between d 17 and 23 by administering oral 44Ca and intravenous 42Ca to fasting subjects. Fractional absorption of calcium in the fasting state was unaffected by fiber. However, during the high fiber period, subjects had significantly lower bone accretion, resorption and turnover rates, and calcium flow to bone from the exchangeable pool than during the low fiber period. We conclude that the fiber-induced reduction in calcium absorption slowed down bone calcium turnover but did not increase the efficiency of intestinal absorption.

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