Age-related changes in your calcium metabolism can play a role in diminishing the health and strength of your bones. Magnesium absorption, too, can be compromised as you age. The consequences of chronic low levels of these minerals could lead to the development of osteoporosis.
How do you compensate for an increasing inability to absorb these two important minerals? In recent health news, a team of researchers think they have found at least a partial solution to this problem: prebiotics.
The research team investigated the effects of various dietary fibers on mineral metabolism and overall bone health. A four-week feeding study was conducted in five-month-old ovariectomized (OVX) rats (female rats with their ovaries removed to produce a state similar to human osteoporosis). In all, there were six treatment groups: a sham-control group; OVX-control group; OVX rats
receiving daily estradiol (sex hormone) injections; and OVX rats receiving a diet supplement with either an inulin-based fiber (commercially called “Synergy1”) or another type of soluble fiber called “polydextrose.”
The researchers performed calcium and magnesium metabolic tests at the start of the study and after four weeks of the special fiber diet. They found that the rats receiving polydextrose had significantly higher calcium absorption and retention than all control groups. These rats also had higher calcium absorption compared to those receiving the inulin-based fibers.
As for calcium, the inulin-based fibers had positive chronic effects on calcium metabolism that were related to changes in the gut. These changes included production of short chain fatty acids and increased wall weights in the large intestine. All fibers improved magnesium absorption. In all,effects on magnesium metabolism were more pronouncedthan for calcium.
The researchers concluded with this health advice: steady growth in U.S. middle-aged and elderly populations has led to higher incidences of several chronic diseases, including osteoporosis, a bone disease that particularly affects postmenopausal women. They say their study findings should be used in to learn more about the potential bone health benefits of prebiotics and to develop a product that will address the bone health needs of older consumers.
Make sure you boost your diet with lots of fiber. Consider taking prebiotics to help improve the absorption of magnesium and calcium. Not familiar with prebiotics? Read the article Prebiotics vs. Probiotics: Is One Better Than the Other? for more info on how they help boost your good health.