Efficacy of Calcium-Rich Foods Consumption on Urinary Fluoride Excretion in Children: A Pilot Trial in Halaba, Southern Ethiopia - Abstract
Fluorosis is a public health problem in the Rift Valley areas of Ethiopia. While defluoridation of water is best solution, consumption of calcium-rich foods may mitigate development of adverse symptoms. The aim of the study was to determine whether calcium-rich foods would decrease fluoride absorption in children using urinary fluoride concentration as an indirect measure. Randomly selected children from a larger study were assigned to four groups of 10 participants each: two groups had a daily calcium-rich food as the intervention, one as a solid food (millet porridge) and one as a beverage (cup of milk); and two groups acted as calcium-poor controls also using a solid food (maize porridge) or a beverage (cup of soft drink). Morning urine was collected at baseline and at end line after 7 days. After the seven days, mean (SD) urinary fluoride concentration in the combined calcium-rich intervention groups was significantly (p=0.006) reduced from 6.8 (2.5) to 4.1 (2.4) mg/L. No significant (p>0.05) change was seen for the combined calcium-poor controls. Children in areas having high fluoride water would benefit from calcium-rich foods to prevent fluoride absorption causing dental and skeletal fluorosis.