Effect of calcium supplements and stage of lactation on the calcium absorption efficiency of lactating women accustomed to low calcium intakes

S Fairweather-Tait, A Prentice, K G Heumann, L M Jarjou, D M Stirling, S G Wharf, J R Turnlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of calcium intake on the calcium absorption efficiency from 100 mL cow milk was measured in lactating Gambian mothers habituated to a low-calcium diet [mean intake 7.08 mmol (283 mg)/d], and compared with UK lactating mothers consuming high-calcium diets [mean intake 29.2 mmol (1168 mg)/d] by using a double stable-isotope technique (oral 44Ca and intravenous 42Ca). In a double-blind trial starting 9 d postpartum, Gambian mothers were given a calcium supplement [17.85 mmol (714 mg)/d] or placebo for 12 mo. At 3 and 12 mo postpartum, mean (+/- SEM) calcium absorption from isotopically enriched milk was 52.3 +/- 3.1% (n = 25) and 47.2 +/- 4.8% (n = 24) in the unsupplemented Gambian mothers and 48.8 +/- 2.8% (n = 28) and 42.9 +/- 3.7% (n = 24) in the supplemented mothers, respectively. There was no effect of supplementation or stage of lactation on the efficiency of calcium absorption. At 3 mo postpartum the UK mothers absorbed 32.2 +/- 3.8% of the isotopically enriched calcium added to milk, which was significantly less than that of the Gambian mothers (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1188-1192
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1995


  • Absorption
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Calcium
  • Calcium Isotopes
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified
  • Gambia
  • Great Britain
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Lactation
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Milk

Cite this