According to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, females who eat soluble corn fiber may increase calcium absorption in their guts.
The study’s findings suggest that eating dietary fiber could improve gut health and also help with the absorption of minerals, particularly calcium.
Calcium is essential for many functions in our body, including muscle function and hormone secretion. Calcium is also important for bone health, helping combat conditions like osteoporosis. Postmenopausal women have an increases risk of developing osteoporosis.
In the new study, researchers analyzed the effect different daily doses of soluble corn fiber would have on calcium absorption, as well as on bacteria present in the gut. The researchers performed a fecal analysis to determine what types of bacteria may be present in the gut. All of the study participants were female adolescents.
The researchers found that when the female participants took 10 or 20 grams of soluble corn fiber each day, they had greater calcium absorption compared to those who didn’t receive the fiber. As well, there were significant changes in their fecal microbiomes, indicating that the corn fiber had an effect on the diversity of bacteria in their guts.
In particular, the researchers believe that two groups of bacteria may be responsible for the increased calcium absorption.
These findings suggest that soluble corn fiber may act almost like a “prebiotic,” improving the health of the gut and promoting more absorption of nutrients. Soluble fiber has been known to be a food source for healthy bacteria in the gut, allowing these beneficial bacterial strains to flourish.
While the current study only looked at female adolescents, previous research has found similar findings concerning soluble corn fiber’s ability to increase calcium absorption in male adolescents. Previous study results indicate that, along with probiotics, taking soluble corn fiber could increase the health of the gut, which can have a range of health benefits.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Whisner, CM, et al., “Soluble Corn Fiber Increases Calcium Absorption Associated with Shifts in the Gut Microbiome: A Randomized Dose-Response Trial in Free-Living Pubertal Females,” Journal of Nutrition, Jun 8. pii: jn227256. [Epub ahead of print]; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27281813.
“Calcium,” National Institutes of Health web site, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/, last accessed June 12, 2016.
“New Research Indicates Soluble Corn Fibre Plays an Important Role in Promoting Gut Health and Increasing Calcium Absorption,” Tate Lyleweb site, September 6, 2012; http://mediacentre.tateandlyle.com/r/1007/new_research_indicates_soluble_corn_fibre_plays_a.