Soluble Corn Fiber May Improve Girls’ Bone Health

SCF helps the body better utilize calcium during both adolescence and post-menopause.
SCF helps the body better utilize calcium during both adolescence and post-menopause.

New research from the US Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, says daily soluble corn fiber supplementation significantly helps build and retain calcium in bone for women in their teens and post-menopause.

Soluble corn fiber (SCF) is a nondigestible carbohydrate used in foods and beverages such as cereals, baked foods, candy, dairy products, frozen foods, carbonated beverages, and flavored water.

SCF helps create packaged food products that have lower sugar content, while providing a valuable source of dietary fiber.

Evidence suggests that SCF has many of the same health benefits associated with intact dietary fiber found in grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruit. SCF may improve intestinal regularity and has prebiotic properties. Moreover, SCF supports healthy blood glucose control and supports bone health by increasing calcium absorption.

In the new research, the team aimed to evaluate how the dose of SCF affected calcium absorption, bone properties, and gut microbiome in adolescent and postmenopausal women.

“We are looking deeper in the gut to build healthy bone in girls and help older women retain strong bones during an age when they are susceptible to fractures,” says Connie Weaver, distinguished professor and head of nutrition science.

“Soluble corn fiber, a prebiotic, helps the body better utilize calcium during both adolescence and post-menopause. The gut microbiome is the new frontier in health,” she adds.

Findings from the study on postmenopausal women were published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, while the findings on adolescent girls were published in Journal of Nutrition, reported.

Weaver and colleagues found that after prebiotic fiber passes through the gut for the microbes in the lower gut to digest, the SCF is broken down into short-chain fatty acids, which assist in the maintenance of bone health.

  Gastrointestinal Symptoms Minimal

Gastrointestinal symptoms were minimal in both studies and the same was seen in the control groups.

“Most studies looking at benefits from soluble corn fiber are trying to solve digestion problems, and we are the first to determine that this relationship of feeding certain kind of fiber can alter the gut microbiome in ways that can enhance health,” Weaver said. “We found this prebiotic can help healthy people use minerals better to support bone health.”

Few people meet the daily recommended intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium for healthy bone mass.

“Calcium alone suppresses bone loss, but it doesn’t enhance bone formation. These fibers enhance bone formation, so they are doing something more than enhancing calcium absorption,” Weaver said.