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Calcium Requirements of Growing Rats Based on Bone Mass, Structure, or Biomechanical Strength Are Similar

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Although calcium (Ca) supplementation increases bone density, the increase is small and the effect on bone strength and fracture risk is uncertain. To investigate if bone mass, morphology, and biomechanical properties are affected by deficient to copious dietary Ca concentrations, the long bones (tibia and femur) of growing female Sprague-Dawley rats (8/group) were assessed after 13 wk of consuming 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 g Ca/kg of a modified AIN-93G diet. Dietary phosphorous (P) and vitamin D remained constant at recommended concentrations. The assessment included mineralization, density, biomechanical properties of breaking by a 3-point flexure test, and morphological properties by microcomputed topography scanning of trabecular bone of the proximal tibia metaphysis. Dietary treatment did not affect food intake, weight gain, renal and muscle Ca concentrations, and bone hydroxyproline. All bone parameters measured were significantly impaired by Ca deficiency in rats fed the diet containing 1 g Ca/kg. Modest impairments occurred with some parameters (bone density, biomechanical bending moment, modulus of elasticity, and stress) in rats fed 2 g Ca/kg, but all parameters stabilized between 2 and 3 g/kg diet, with no differences between 3 and 7 g/kg. The results suggest that a threshold response in bone Ca retention or bone mass at ~2.5 g Ca/kg diet is associated with similar threshold responses in bone breaking strength and related biomechanics as well as trabecular structural properties. There was no evidence of a relative P deficiency or of improved or impaired bone strength and structure as Ca intakes increased beyond those needed to maximize bone density.
Hunt, Janet R. , Hunt, Curtiss D. , Zito, Carol Ann , Idso, Joseph P. , Johnson, LuAnn K.
calcium , dietary minerals , nutrient requirements , animal models , animal growth , bone density , bone fractures , bone strength , animal morphology , tibia , rats , food intake , experimental diets
p. 1462-1468.
Includes references
Journal of nutrition 2008 Aug., v. 138, no. 8
American Society for Nutrition
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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