Nutritional impact of elevated calcium transport activity in carrots

Jay Morris, Keli M. Hawthorne, Tim Hotze, Steven A. Abrams, Kendal D. Hirschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nutrition recommendations worldwide emphasize ingestion of plant-based diets rather than diets that rely primarily on animal products. However, this plant-based diet could limit the intake of essential nutrients such as calcium. Osteoporosis is one of the world's most prevalent nutritional disorders, and inadequate dietary calcium is a known contributor to the pathophysiology of this condition. Previously, we have modified carrots to express increased levels of a plant calcium transporter (sCAX1), and these plants contain ≈2-fold-higher calcium content in the edible portions of the carrots. However, it was unproven whether this change would increase the total amount of bioavailable calcium. In randomized trials, we labeled these modified carrots with isotopic calcium and fed them to mice and humans to assess calcium bioavailability. In mice feeding regimes (n = 120), we measured 45Ca incorporation into bones and determined that mice required twice the serving size of control carrots to obtain the calcium found in sCAX1 carrots. We used a dual-stable isotope method with 42Ca-labeled carrots and i.v. 46Ca to determine the absorption of calcium from these carrots in humans. In a cross-over study of 15 male and 15 female adults, we found that when people were fed sCAX1 and control carrots, total calcium absorption per 100 g of carrots was 41% ± 2% higher in sCAX1 carrots. Both the mice and human feeding studies demonstrate increased calcium absorption from sCAX1-expressing carrots compared with controls. These results demonstrate an alternative means of fortifying vegetables with bioavailable calcium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1431-1435
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume105
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 5 2008

Keywords

  • Absorption
  • Bioavailability
  • Radioactive isotope
  • Stable isotope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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