Soluble corn fiber increases calcium absorption associated with shifts in the gut microbiome: A randomized dose-response trial in free-living pubertal females

Corrie Whisner, Berdine R. Martin, Cindy H. Nakatsu, Jon A. Story, Claire J. MacDonald-Clarke, Linda D. McCabe, George P. McCabe, Connie M. Weaver

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    102 Scopus citations


    Background: Soluble corn fiber (SCF; 12 g fiber/d) is shown to increase calcium absorption efficiency, associated with shifts in the gut microbiota in adolescent males and females who participated in a controlled feeding study. Objective: We evaluated the dose response of 0, 10, and 20 g fiber/d delivered by PROMITOR SCF 85 (85% fiber) on calcium absorption, biochemical bone properties, and the fecal microbiome in free-living adolescents. Methods: Healthy adolescent females (n = 28; aged 11-14 y) randomly assigned into a 3-phase, double-blind, crossover study consumed SCF for 4 wk at each dose (0, 10, and 20 g fiber/d from SCF) alongside their habitual diet and were followed by 3-d clinical visits and 3-wk washout periods. Stable isotope (44Ca and 43Ca) enrichment in pooled urine was measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Fecal microbial community composition was assessed by high-throughput sequencing (Illumina) of polymerase chain reaction-amplified 16S rRNA genes. Mixed model ANOVA and Friedman analysis were used to determine effects of SCF on calcium absorption and to compare mean microbial proportions, respectively. Results: Calciumabsorption increased significantlywith 10 (13.3%± 5.3%; P = 0.042) and 20 g fiber/d (12.9%± 3.6%; P = 0.026) from SCF relative to control. Significant differences in fecalmicrobial community diversitywere found after consuming SCF (operational taxonomic unit measures of 601.4 ± 83.5, 634.5 ± 83.8, and 649.6 ± 75.5 for 0, 10, and 20 g fiber/d, respectively; P < 0.05). Proportions of the genus Parabacteroides significantly increased with SCF dose (1.1% ± 0.8%, 2.1%± 1.6%, and 3.0%± 2.0%for 0, 10, and 20 g fiber/d from SCF, respectively; P < 0.05). Increases in calciumabsorption positively correlated with increases in Clostridium (r = 0.44, P = 0.023) and unclassified Clostridiaceae (r = 0.40, P = 0.040). Conclusions: SCF, a nondigestible carbohydrate, increased calcium absorption in free-living adolescent females. Two groups of bacteria may be involved, one directly fermenting SCF and the second fermenting SCF metabolites further, thereby promoting increased calcium absorption.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1298-1306
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Nutrition
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - 2016


    • Adolescent
    • Bone health
    • Calcium
    • Microbiome
    • Osteoporosis
    • Prebiotic
    • Short-chain fatty acids

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine (miscellaneous)
    • Nutrition and Dietetics


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