- Intestinal magnesium (Mg) absorption was measured in six healthy children (control) and in four children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia with the single-isotope fecal recovery technique (SIFRT). The objective of this study was to determine Mg absorption in young children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia using stable isotope tracers. Fractional and absolute absorption levels determined by SIFRT were not significantly different between children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (fractional absorption: 58.3 +/- 10.6% [mean +/- SEM], absolute absorption: 3.66 +/- 0.71 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1), [0.15 +/- 0.03 mmol x kg(-1) x d(-1)]) and control children (fractional absorption: 61.4 +/- 7.5%, absolute absorption: 5.69 +/- 0.85 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1), [0.23 +/- 0.03 mmol x kg(-1) x d(-1)]). Average Mg absorption in young children (aged 3--8 y) was 60.2 +/- 5.8%. This study describes the first application of the SIFRT to assess Mg absorption in young children and illustrates the feasibility of the SIFRT in this age group to obtain more accurate information on Mg absorption.