A new study, published in the Journal of Food Science, suggests that the supplementation of prebiotics can increase the absorption of calcium and magnesium, minerals that are vital to bone health. Researchers noted that a steadily aging global population has led to higher incidences of chronic disease including osteoporosis, a bone disease that primarily affects postmenopausal women. The researchers, from Purdue University, USA, believe that prebiotics can enhance mineral absorption and could reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women. Their research suggests that prebiotics promote the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut which increases production of short chain fatty acids that modify the acidity of the gut, making minerals more soluble and easier to absorb.

"Among prebiotics, oligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides, and inulin are the most intensively studied for their ability to enhance mineral absorption and bone mineralisation." The researchers reported.

The study observed the supplementation of minerals and prebiotics in postmenopausal rats for a period of four weeks. The results revealed significantly higher net calcium and magnesium absorption and retention in the rats when supplemented with prebiotics.

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