Fecal calcium density: A measure of calcium compliance

Robert P. Heaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We evaluated fecal calcium density (mass of calcium per g dry weight of feces) as a measure of compliance with a prescribed calcium intake regimen using 4 day fecal pools collected on a metabolic research unit from subjects ingesting measured, constant intakes. Fecal calcium density was highly correlated with intake (r = 0.897, P <0.001). Intake estimates based on fecal calcium density exhibited a standard error of the mean equal to 3.76 mmol calcium. Since a typical calcium supplement table contains 12.5 mmol calcium, the measurement of fecal calcium density is sensitive enough to detect regular omission of one or more pills daily. Applicability of this approach to convenience samples of feces was evaluated in 15 individuals by testing homogeneity of fecal calcium density values on up to six different 3-9 g portions (wet weight) of each volunteer's fecal sample. The within-sample coefficient of variation was 9.5% for all subsamples and 7.3% for samples from individuals with intakes above 25 mmol calcium per day. Thus feces are reasonably homogeneous in regard to calcium density. Accordingly, reasonably small fecal collections should suffice for its measurement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-471
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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