Calcium absorptive efficiency is positively related to body size

M. Janet Barger-Lux, Robert P. Heaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Calcium absorption efficiency is a more important determinant of calcium balance than calcium intake itself. The sources of variability in absorptive performance are only partly elucidated. Purpose: The aim of the study was to explore the relationship between body size and calcium absorption efficiency. Design and Setting: Metabolic studies were performed on an inpatient metabolic unit in an academic health sciences center. Subjects: One hundred seventy-eight women, with an average age of 50.2 yr, were studied from one to five times and yielded an aggregate data set containing 633 individual studies. Methods: Calcium absorption fraction was measured by the dual-tracer method. Observed values were expressed as residuals from predicted values for each woman's actual calcium intake, using the previously published relationship between intake and absorption. Results: Absorption residuals were significantly positively correlated with height, weight, and surface area, and after adjusting for estrogen status, these body size variables accounted for approximately 4% of the total variability. Conclusion: The magnitude of the effect is such that a woman 1.8 m in height would absorb 30+% more calcium from a given intake than a woman 1.4 m tall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5118-5120
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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