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Ageing women may choose to drink soya milk to reduce menopausal symptoms. As fermentation enriches soya milk with isoflavone aglycones, its beneficial qualities may improve. To reduce osteoporotic risk, however, soya milk must be Ca enriched, and it is not known how fermentation affects Ca bioavailability. A randomised crossover pilot study was undertaken to compare the Ca absorption of fortified soya milk with that of fermented and fortified soya milk in twelve Australian osteopenic post-menopausal women. The fortified soya milk was inoculated with Lactobacillus acidophilus American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) 4962 and fermented for 24 h at 37°C. Ca absorption from soya milk samples was measured using a single isotope radiocalcium method. Participants had a mean age of 54·8 (sd 12·3) years, with mean BMI of 26·5 (sd 5·5) kg/m2 and subnormal to normal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (mean 62·5 (sd 19·1) nmol/l). Participants consumed 185 kBq of 45Ca in 44 mg of Ca carrier. The mean fractional Ca absorption (α) from soya milk and fermented soya milk was 0·64 (sd 0·23) and 0·71 (sd 0·29), respectively, a difference not of statistical significance (P = 0·122). Although fermentation of soya milk may provide other health benefits, fermentation had little effect on acute Ca absorption.