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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Enhancing the Value of Dietary Calcium

Author
item Welch, Ross

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The amount of Ca in a meal that can be absorbed and utilized in the human body (i.e., the bioavailable Ca content) is determined by numerous complex interacting factors that include environmental, physiological and genetic variables. Therefore, the total Ca content of a meal may not reflect the amount of Ca that can be absorbed and retained within the body for metabolic processes (e.g., bone mineralization). Various dietary and physiological factors can change intestinal absorption & body utilization of Ca. For example, 'antinutrients' (e.g., oxalic acid, phytic acid, saturated fats, heavy metals, fibers high in uronic acid moieties, etc.) that lower Ca bioavailability, or promoter substances (e.g., vitamin D and inulin) that increase Ca bioavailability are found in various foods. Even if Ca is absorbed from a meal, it may not be retained in the body, but may be passed out in the urine & feces (e.g., foods high in Na and protein can increase the urinary loss of Ca reducing Ca utilization) or lost to exfoliated skin, menstrual & semen fluids, milk, and sweat. Physiological factors affecting Ca utilization include Ca status of an individual, their nutritional status with respect to other essential nutrients (e.g., K, Mg, P, B, Zn, Cu, Mn, F, etc.), as well as their age and sex. This review briefly discusses these factors & their interactions as they relate to Ca deficiency rickets within Bangladesh. Agricultural practices that could be used to improve the bioavailable Ca output of farming systems in Bangladesh are addressed. Finding sustainable food-based solutions to Ca related rickets in Bangladeshi children will depend on widespread adoption of agricultural practices directed at increasing the bioavailable Ca content of widely available foods from agricultural systems within Bangladesh.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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