Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 308–311 | Cite as

Time course of calcium absorption in humans: Evidence for a colonic component

  • M. Janet Barger-Lux
  • Robert P. Heaney
  • Robert R. Recker
Clinical Investigations


We examined the time course of calcium absorption (CaAbs) in 155 studies, using a double isotope technique. The subjects were 118 healthy peri-menopausal women (mean age 53.3 years), studied as impatients under metabolic balance conditions. We measured the ratio of radiolabeled calcium (oral:IV) in serum and urine for 144 hours after the oral dose, and generated a composite CaAbs curve for all 155 studies using normalized data. Although CaAbs was 80.9% complete at 3 hours, it was still only 95.8% complete at 7 hours; the remaining 4.2% was absorbed in a slower late component, and did not reach completion until about 26 hours. The rapid initial component probably represents mainly small intestinal absorption and the late component, colonic. At the dietary intakes of our subjects, we estimate the size of the late component at about 6.8 mg/day. For fully accurate measurements of CaAbs, it is necessary to allow for this small late component.

Key words

Calcium absorption Calcium nutrition Colonic absorption 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Petith MM, Schedl HP (1976) Intestinal adaptation to dietary calcium restriction: in vivo cecal and colonic calcium transport in the rat. Gastroenterology 71:1039–1042PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Favus MJ (1965) Factors that influence absorption and secretion of calcium in the small intestine and colon. Am J Physiol 248:G147–157Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ammann P, Rizzoli R, Fleisch H (1986) Calcium absorption in rat large intestine in vivo: availability of dietary calcium. Am J Physiol 251:G14–18Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Grinstead WC, Pak CYC, Krejs CJ (1984) Effect of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on calcium absorption in the colon of healthy humans. Am J Physiol 247:G189–192Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sandstrom B, Cederblad A, Kivisto B, Stenquist B, Andersson H (1986) Retention of zinc and calcium from the human colon. Am J Clin Nutr 44:501–504PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Pak CYC, Avioli LV (1988) Factors affecting absorbability of calcium from calcium salts and food. (Editorial) Calcif Tissue Int 43:55–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bronner F (1962) Experimental studies of calcium absorption in man. Bibl Nutr Dieta 3:22–31Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    DeGrazia JA, Ivanovich P, Fellows H, Rich C (1965) A double isotope method for measurement of intestinal absorption of calcium in man. J Lab Clin Med 66:822–829PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Magee DF, Dalley AF (1986) Digestion and the structure and function of the gut. Karger, Basel (Switzerland), p 183Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Haboubi NY, Hudson P, Rahman Q, Lee GS, Ross A (1988) Small-intestinal transit time in the elderly. Lancet 1:933PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Allen LH (1982) Calcium bioavailability and absorption: a review. Am J Clin Nutr 35:783–808PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    James WPT, Branch WJ, Southgate DAT (1978) Calcium binding by dietary fibre. Lancet 639Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Janet Barger-Lux
    • 1
  • Robert P. Heaney
    • 1
  • Robert R. Recker
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Hard Tissue ResearchCreighton UniversityOmahaUSA

Personalised recommendations