Low birthweight infants were given calcium enriched in 46Ca in a single feed. The specific activity of successive urine samples showed that the absorption of the marker was largely complete in about 4 hours. The rate of decrease of urinary specific activity after 3 1/2 hours was exponential and very similar in 8 sets of observations in 6 infants. Its extrapolation backwards to 1 hour may indicate the size of the exchangeable calcium pool, usually about 200 mg/kg body weight. Completeness of faecal collection for estimation of 46Ca is essential for accurate determination of true absorption and endogenous faecal excretion of natural Ca. In 5 infants examined, nor marker was detectable in faeces excreted later than 48 hours after the first stool containing marker. Nevertheless, reasons are given why a collection period limited to 48 hours may sometimes involve error.
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