Relationship between balance and dual tracer isotopic measurements of calcium absorption and excretion

Steven A. Abrams, Alfred L. Yergey, Robert P. Heaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Calcium (Ca) absorption was measured by the balance method and the dual tracer isotopic method in 462 studies of adult women. Results for both fractional absorption and net Ca balance were similar using the 2 methods. Slightly higher values (mean difference, 0.031 ± 0.092) were found for fractional absorption measured by the balance method than by the isotopic method. No differences in fractional absorption between the methods were seen at a fractional absorption less than 25%. Variability in the data was greater from the balance than the isotopic method. Endogenous fecal Ca excretion was directly related to Ca intake, with an estimated value of 70-80 mg/day for a Ca intake less than 200 mg/day. These findings support the usefulness and accuracy of isotope-based measures of mineral absorption. No evidence is found from these or previous data to suggest that the process of isotopic equilibration falsely increases estimates of absorption or endogenous excretion in tracer studies. Isotopic techniques allow studies of calcium absorption in diverse populations and evaluation of unique aspects of mineral metabolism not accessible through other techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-969
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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