Inulin-type fructans have been proposed to benefit mineral retention, thereby enhancing bone health. Many, but not all, experimental animal studies have shown increased mineral absorption by feeding non-digestible oligosaccharides. Possible reasons for inconsistencies are explored. A few studies have reported an enhanced bone mineral density or content. Bone health can be evaluated in chronic feeding studies with bone densitometry, bone breaking strength, bone mineral concentration and bone structure. Isotopic Ca tracers can be used to determine the point of metabolism affected by feeding a functional food ingredient. These methods and the effects of feeding inulin-type fructose are reviewed. Inulin-type fructans enhance Mg retention. Chicory long-chain inulin and oligofructose enhance femoral Ca content, bone mineral density and Ca retention through enhanced Ca absorption and suppressed bone turnover rates, but it is not bone-promoting under all conditions.
Weaver CM. Inulin, oligofructose and bone health: experimental approaches and mechanisms. British Journal of Nutrition 2005 April Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University.