MINNEAPOLIS – Cargill’s Oliggo-Fiber® inulin may play an increasingly important role in America’s desire to boost fiber intake and calcium uptake. A growing number of scientific studies are demonstrating inulin’s ability to enhance dietary calcium absorption and potentially improve bone mineral density. This is in addition to this natural fiber’s contribution to the total dietary fiber content of the American diet.
Natural chicory fructan inulin from Cargill’s inulin supplier, Cosucra Group Warcoing, was used in a recently published study by Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea. Results found that two 4g servings of this fructan fiber, specifically Oliggo-Fiber® Instant inulin, may increase calcium uptake in post-menopausal women by as much as 42 percent. These findings echo previous studies on inulin’s potential calcium retention benefits, which are thought to be a result of the ingredient’s ability to lower pH within the colon, thus improving calcium’s solubility.
Calcium absorption is of particular importance to post-menopausal women, who are at higher risk for osteoporosis, especially if they don’t take hormone replacement therapy. Recent estimates suggest that 30 percent of Caucasian post-menopausal women in the United States have the disease, and other reports estimate that this group’s true intestinal calcium absorption rates are between 28 percent and 32 percent.
“Consumer awareness of the importance of bone health has led to the growing popularity of calcium-fortified products,” said Steve Snyder, vice president, Cargill Health & Food Technologies. “Now science supports the incorporation of Oliggo-Fiber® inulin into calcium-enriched foods with mass-market appeal, because it may boost calcium absorption during critical times of calcium need, such as the post-menopausal and pre-teen years.”