Study sings praises of soymilk products

by Eric Schroeder
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BOULDER, COLO. — A new study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that soymilk products fortified with calcium carbonate offer consumers as much readily absorbable calcium and provide the same level of bone health protection as the naturally occurring calcium found in dairy milk.

Researchers involved in the study found that soymilk products containing calcium carbonate — such as Silk Soymilk — provided significantly higher levels of calcium absorption than those containing calcium phosphate, which is the most commonly used form of calcium in fortified foods.

This is the first study to directly compare how effectively the body absorbs naturally occurring dairy calcium vs. calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate, the two forms of calcium generally used in soymilk.

"The combination of soy and calcium is ideal for bone health," said Connie Weaver, Ph.D., a calcium expert and the lead investigator of the study. "Soy protein has a positive impact on calcium levels in the bones because it enhances calcium retention. As well, other studies have shown that soy consumption increases both bone density and bone quality, two important measures of bone health."

These new findings build upon those of a study published in the September issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, which identified a positive association between soy consumption and a reduced risk of postmenopausal bone fractures. In the study, women in the group with the highest soy intake had a 35% to 37% lower risk of fracture as compared with women in the group with the lowest soy intake. The average soy intake in the highest group was approximately 13.25 grams per day.

Three 8-oz servings of calcium carbonate-fortified soymilk provide 21 grams of soy and 1,100 mg of calcium. The estimated daily adequate intake for calcium is 1,000 mg for women aged 19-50 and 1,200 mg for women over 50 years of age.

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