Inulin: a review of its functional properties in relation to calcium absorption in humans

Viren Ranawana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inulin is a term applied to a heterogeneous blend of fructose polymers found widely distributed in nature as plant storage carbohydrates. Recent evidence suggests a role for inulin in enhancing Ca absorption and thereby promoting bone health. Numerous investigations performed using animal models during the past 10 years have consistently shown that inulin stimulates calcium absorption and increases bone mineral content. Short and long term human studies have indicated that inulin increases Ca absorption in adolescents. This article reviews current research studies (both animal and human) that have been conducted to determine inulin's role in enhancing Ca metabolism. Animal studies appear to confirm inulin-type fructans' positive role in enhancing Calcium absorption from the gut while several short-term human studies indicate a similar trend. However, the evidence for the positive effects of inulin on Ca metabolism in man, in particular adults and post-menopausal women, is currently inadequate and awaits well planned long-term human trials before any firm conclusions can be reached.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-35
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Food and Agriculture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • inulin
  • inulin-type fructans
  • calcium absorption
  • bone health


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