Calcium (Ca) - fortified foods are likely to play an important role in helping the consumer achieve an adequate Ca intake, especially for persons with a low intake of dairy products. Fish bones have a high Ca content, and huge quantities of this raw material are available as a by-product from the fish industry. Previously, emphasis has been on producing high quality products from fish by-products by use of bacterial proteases. However, documentation of the nutritional value of the enzymatically rinsed Ca-rich bone fraction remains unexplored. The objective of the present study was to assess the bioavailability of calcium in bones of Atlantic salmon (oily fish) and Atlantic cod (lean fish) in a double-blinded randomised crossover design.
Ca absorption was measured in 10 healthy young men using 47Ca whole body counting after ingestion of a test meal extrinsically labelled with the 47Ca isotope. The three test meals contained 800 mg of Ca from three different calcium sources: cod bones, salmon bones and control (CaCO3).
Mean Ca absorption (± SEE) from the three different Ca sources were 21.9 ± 1.7%, 22.5 ± 1.7% and 27.4 ± 1.8% for cod bones, salmon bones, and control (CaCO3), respectively.
We conclude that bones from Atlantic salmon and Atlantic cod are suitable as natural Ca sources in e.g. functional foods or as supplements.