Plant milks are milk substitute products that have become popular due to many having allergies to cow’s milk or being lactose intolerant. However, plant milks are naturally low in calcium and therefore the milks are often fortified with additional calcium. One consideration from this is that the calcium fortified into these milks may not be readily bioavailable. Insoluble forms of calcium such as calcium carbonate, hydroxyapatite and tricalcium phosphate form suspensions in plant milks due to the calcium precipitating out of solution. The low solubility of certain forms of calcium reduces their bioavailability because calcium is absorbed as a soluble ion, and if it precipitates out of solution it will likely not be absorbed but form complexes with other nutrients and be eliminated. Soluble forms of calcium such as calcium citrate malate have been shown to have much higher levels of bioavailability and this likely relates directly to their solubility. The calcium in fortified milk may therefore be poorly absorbed thus affecting total calcium intake.
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