Inulin, oligofructose and mineral metabolism – experimental data and mechanism.
Numerous investigations performed in animal models in the past 10 years have shown repeatedly that non-digestible oligosaccharides (NDO), such as inulin, oligofructose or transgalacto-oligosaccharides (TOS), stimulate mineral absorption, mainly calcium and magnesium. Long-term beneficial effects on bone health have been indicated by accumulation of bone mineral content in growing rats or prevention of bone loss in ovariectomized rats. However, bone mineral content or density are not necessarily associated with bone quality. In recent studies both oligofructose and calcium prevented loss of trabecular bone area induced by oestrogen deficiency, this, however, occurred at different trabecular shapes. The effects of NDO on mineral metabolism may be based on the enhancement of passive and active mineral transport across the intestinal epithelium, mediated by an increase in certain metabolites of the intestinal flora and a reduction of pH. The possible impact of short-chain fatty acids, butyrate in particular, and of polyamines on the stimulation of mineral absorption capacity, and the interaction of oligofructose and antibiotics is discussed.
Scholz-Ahrens KE, Schrezenmeir J
Br. J. Nutr. May 2002