Effect of galactooligosaccharides on calcium absorption and preventing bone loss in ovariectomized rats.
The effects of galactooligosaccharides (GOS), a mixture of galactosyl oligosaccharides formed from lactose by the transgalactosyl reaction of beta-D-galactosidase derived from Bacillus circulans, on calcium absorption and prevention of bone loss were examined in ovariectomized (OVX) Wistar rats. Rats fed on a diet containing GOS absorbed calcium more efficiently than those on the control diet after 8-10 days and 18-20 days, and the bone (femur and tibia) ash weight and tibia calcium content of OVX rats fed on the GOS diet were significantly higher than those of the control animals. Although the serum total cholesterol of the ovariectomized rats was significantly elevated, GOS produced a significant hypocholesterolemic effect in the OVX rats. GOS, which is fermented by bacteria in the lower part of the intestine, enhanced volatile fatty acid production, and thus prevented bone loss and lower serum total cholesterol concentration in the ovariectomized rats.