Fructo-Oligosaccharides Promote Stronger Bones

Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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Fructo-Oligosaccharides Promote Stronger Bones
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Fructo-Oligosaccharides (FOS) is best known for it's ability to help stimulate beneficial flora growth in the digestive tract, acting as a prebiotic. A variety of studies now demonstrate that FOS intake supports better absorption of calcium, magnesium, and iron – resulting in better bone density and strength.

FOS is made up of short chains of fructose that are linked together in a way that the fructose is not digested or absorbed. This makes it behave as a soluble fiber, acting as a fermentation base for friendly flora growth. FOS is part of plants such as onion, chicory, garlic, asparagus, banana, artichoke, among many others. As with other types of soluble fiber, FOS can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

Earlier studies in 2005 and 2006 showed that FOS enhanced the digestive uptake of minerals. Research in 2007 linked this to the ability of FOS to enhance the digestive surface area thereby enabling better mineral absorption.

A more recent animal study did a detailed analysis of bone mineral content in response to FOS intake and found that FOS had a large impact on increasing mineral content in bone. The authors noted that such a result is “an important factor in the prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis.”

Last month food scientists from around the world gathered in Chicago for their yearly meeting. One of the presentations was on the health benefits of FOS, specifically covering better digestive flora, immunity, and bone health. The regular addition of FOS to the diet is "ideal for maintaining mineral density and bone strength," said Phillip Allsopp, Ph.D., research associate at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, Ireland.

It is important to have high quality minerals as well as anti-inflammatory nutrients that help regulate bone building and prevent excess bone wear. These studies with FOS demonstrate that it is also important to have a healthy digestive tract to help optimize mineral absorption so that those minerals have the opportunity to help your bones.

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