Potassium citrate may prevent bone loss

By Tom Nordlie • Published: January 1st, 2007
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Osteoporosis doesn’t happen overnight.

This disease slowly robs bones of their density, leaving them porous and fragile. It primarily affects postmenopausal women.

Osteoporosis is more common in Western nations than in other parts of the world.

Researchers aren’t sure why. But one school of thought says it’s because Westerners eat large amounts of meat and grain. These foods contain proteins that cause our bodies to produce acid during digestion.

Neutralizing that acid might be a way to lessen bone loss, according to a study published recently in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Researchers recruited one-hundred-sixty-one postmenopausal women with low bone mass.

They were randomly assigned to take one of two supplements… either a placebo or a compound called potassium citrate [SIH-trate], which neutralizes acid.

Scientists checked the women’s bone mass density before the study began, and took additional measurements every three months.

The results showed women who received potassium citrate showed substantial improvement.

For example, measurements from the lumbar spine showed that, on average, the experimental group had gained almost one percent bone mass by the end of the study. The placebo group lost about the same amount.

Urine tests showed women who took potassium citrate loss less calcium than their counterparts.

Researchers aren’t sure if the results indicate potassium citrate actually stimulated production of new bone or just enabled the body to repair previous damage.

Either way, it looks like this compound may help fight osteoporosis.

So move over, calcium supplements, here come the reinforcements.