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Dairy products doubly labeled with 45Ca and 47Ca were used to evaluate an extrinsic labeling procedure for calcium bioavailability determination. Nonfat milk, yogurt, and fresh cheese curd were prepared from caprine milk that was intrinsically labeled with 45Ca. The products were then labeled extrinsically with 47Ca and administered to rats by gavage. The 47Ca to 45Ca ratio in bone and teeth averaged about 1.00 with either milk, yogurt, or CaCl2, but the ratio was about 1.04 when dosed with cheese curd. Ca absorption, determined by whole-body counting of 47Ca, was lower (P less than 0.05) in cheese curd (59%) than in either milk (69%), yogurt (72%), or CaCl2 (72%). Expressed as percent of dose, the absorption of 47Ca was highly correlated with bone 47Ca (r = 0.973) and with bone 45Ca (r = 0.946). Correlation between tibia 47Ca and tibia 45Ca was r = 0.923. For the dairy products tested, our results indicated that extrinsic 47Ca was absorbed similarly to intrinsic 45Ca. Moreover, the percent of radioactive dose retained in bone appears to be a valid indicator of relative bioavailability of food Ca.