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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Florida International: NIH Awards Stempel College $2.8 Million to Study Effects of Soluble Corn Fiber on Bone Mass

The National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has awarded Dr. Cristina Palacios, associate professor in the department of Dietetics and Nutrition at Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, a $2.8 million grant to study the effects of soluble corn fiber as a dietary supplement to optimize bone mass in adolescents.

Currently, calcium intake of U.S. adolescents is inadequate, with only 30 percent meeting the dietary recommendations. The current recommendation set by the Institute of Medicine is 1,300 mg/d for children and adolescents, or the equivalence to 4 servings of dairy products (1 cup of milk, ¾ cups of yogurt, or 1 oz. of cheese).

Puberty is one of the most important windows of development to prevent osteoporosis later in life. More than 1.5 million bone fractures occur yearly in the U.S. and osteoporosis fractures are estimated to cost $25 billion by 2025.

“The main source of calcium in our diets comes from dairy products and adolescents tend to replace dairy consumption with sweetened beverages. Usually dairy product consumption is high just before adolescents but then it falls off during puberty, which is a crucial time for bone mass development,” said Dr. Palacios. “As the bones grow and become elongated, they can remain a little hollow if calcium intake is low, which leads to bone loss and fractures later in life.”

Pilot studies have shown that by adding soluble corn fiber to the diet, which can be found in powder form and added to foods or drinks, there is a 12 percent greater absorption of calcium into the body.

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