Total calcium absorption is similar from infant formulas with and without prebiotics and exceeds that in human milk-fed infants.
BMC Pediatr. 2012 Aug 7;12(1):118.
Hicks PD, Hawthorne KM, Berseth CL, Marunycz JD, Heubi JE, Abrams SA.
1) To evaluate calcium absorption in infants fed a formula containing prebiotics (PF) and one without prebiotics (CF). 2) To compare calcium absorption from these formulas with a group of human milk-fed (HM) infants.
A dual tracer stable isotope method was used to assess calcium absorption in infants exclusively fed CF (n = 30), PF (n = 25) or HM (n = 19). Analysis of variance was used to analyze calcium intake, fractional calcium absorption, and the amount of calcium absorbed.
Calcium intake (Mean +/- SEM) for PF was 534 +/- 17 mg/d and 557 +/- 16 mg/d for CF (p = 0.33). Fractional calcium absorption was 56.8 +/- 2.6% for PF and 59.2 +/- 2.3% for CF (p = 0.49). Total calcium absorbed for PF was 300 +/- 14 mg/d and 328 +/- 13 mg/d for CF (p = 0.16). For HM infants calcium intake was 246 +/- 20 mg/d, fractional calcium absorption was 76.0 +/- 2.9 % and total calcium absorbed was 187 +/- 16mg/d (p <0.001, compared to either PF or CF). Total and fractional calcium absorption were significantly lower (p0.04) in 7 formula-fed infants with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels less than or equal to 20 ng/mL than in formula-fed infants > 20 ng/mL.
Despite lower fractional calcium absorption of CF and PF compared to HM, higher calcium content in both led to higher total calcium absorption compared to HM infants. No significant effect of prebiotics was observed on calcium absorption or other markers of bone mineral metabolism. Prebiotic containing formulas provide adequate bioavailable calcium compared to the human milk-fed standard.
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- Use formula which is fortified (in many but not all countries, beware that it might be vitamin D2 instead of D3)
- Supplement mom with > 5,000 IU of vitamin D
- Supplement infant with > 400 IU of vitamin D
- Make sure the infant gets lots of sunshine (hard to do if far from equator, dark skin, etc)
Cofactors would also be very useful to build bones
In addition to Calcium: Vitamin K2, Magnesium, Boron,