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J Nutr. 1999 Jan;129(1):39-45.

Ingestion of guar gum hydrolysate, a soluble fiber, increases calcium absorption in totally gastrectomized rats.

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  • 1Department of Bioscience and Chemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-8589, Japan.


Gastrectomy induces osteopenia. We examined the effects of feeding a diet containing soluble dietary fiber, guar gum hydrolysate (GGH, 50 g/kg diet), on intestinal calcium absorption and bone mineralization in totally gastrectomized (Roux-en-Y esophagojejunostomy) rats by comparing them with those in two control groups (laparotomized and bypassed rats). In the bypassed rats, chyme bypassed the duodenum and upper jejunum without gastrectomy. In a second separate experiment, we compared calcium absorption and bone mineralization in the gastrectomized rats fed diets containing soluble and insoluble calcium salts and in bypassed rats fed insoluble calcium. In Experiment 1, apparent absorption of calcium supplied as a water-insoluble salt was more than 50% lower in gastrectomized rats than in the intact (laparotomized) or bypassed rats 3 wk after the start of feeding the test diets (P < 0.05). Calcium absorption was higher (P < 0.05) in gastrectomized rats fed the GGH diet than in those rats fed the GGH-free diet. In Experiment 2, absorption of soluble calcium in the gastrectomized rats did not differ from the absorption of calcium from calcium carbonate by bypassed rats. The soluble calcium pool in the cecal contents was significantly lower in gastrectomized rats (Experiment 1) than in intact or bypassed control rats, and was higher (P < 0.05) in the GGH-fed gastrectomized rats than in those fed the GGH-free diet. However, calcium absorption correlated most closely (r = 0.787, P < 0.01) with cecal propionic acid concentration. The femur calcium content was significantly lower in gastrectomized rats fed insoluble calcium than in bypassed rats fed the same diet, but was partially restored in the rats fed soluble calcium (Experiment 2). Bone calcium was not increased by feeding GGH in gastrectomized rats (Experiment 1). We conclude that the severely diminished calcium absorption following total gastrectomy is totally due to a decrease in calcium solubilization, and feeding GGH partially restores calcium absorption. The decrease in bone calcium that occurs as a result of gastrectomy is mainly due to diminished intestinal calcium absorption.

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