Background: Soluble corn fiber (SCF; 12 g fiber/d) is shown to increase calcium absorption efficiency, associated with shifts in the gut microbiota in adolescent males and females who participated in a controlled feeding study.

Objective: We evaluated the dose response of 0, 10, and 20 g fiber/d delivered by PROMITOR SCF 85 (85% fiber) on calcium absorption, biochemical bone properties, and the fecal microbiome in free-living adolescents.

Methods: Healthy adolescent females (n = 28; aged 11–14 y) randomly assigned into a 3-phase, double-blind, crossover study consumed SCF for 4 wk at each dose (0, 10, and 20 g fiber/d from SCF) alongside their habitual diet and were followed by 3-d clinical visits and 3-wk washout periods. Stable isotope (44Ca and 43Ca) enrichment in pooled urine was measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Fecal microbial community composition was assessed by high-throughput sequencing (Illumina) of polymerase chain reaction–amplified 16S rRNA genes. Mixed model ANOVA and Friedman analysis were used to determine effects of SCF on calcium absorption and to compare mean microbial proportions, respectively.

Results: Calcium absorption increased significantly with 10 (13.3% ± 5.3%; P = 0.042) and 20 g fiber/d (12.9% ± 3.6%; P = 0.026) from SCF relative to control. Significant differences in fecal microbial community diversity were found after consuming SCF (operational taxonomic unit measures of 601.4 ± 83.5, 634.5 ± 83.8, and 649.6 ± 75.5 for 0, 10, and 20 g fiber/d, respectively; P < 0.05). Proportions of the genus Parabacteroides significantly increased with SCF dose (1.1% ± 0.8%, 2.1% ± 1.6%, and 3.0% ± 2.0% for 0, 10, and 20 g fiber/d from SCF, respectively; P < 0.05). Increases in calcium absorption positively correlated with increases in Clostridium (r = 0.44, P = 0.023) and unclassified Clostridiaceae (r = 0.40, P = 0.040).

Conclusions: SCF, a nondigestible carbohydrate, increased calcium absorption in free-living adolescent females. Two groups of bacteria may be involved, one directly fermenting SCF and the second fermenting SCF metabolites further, thereby promoting increased calcium absorption. This trial was registered at as NCT01660503.