Potassium citrate supplements linked to thicker bones

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Osteoporosis

Taking potassium citrate supplements could boost bone mineral
density by similar amounts as observed with pharmaceuticals, says
new research from Switzerland that is linked to lowering the
acidity of the modern diet.

"Our results demonstrate for the first time that merely by partially reversing the acidity of the diet, bone mass increased rapidly and in amounts that are within the range of increases produced by common FDA-approved medicines,"​ said co-author, Prof. Reto Krapf of the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Osteoporosis is estimated to affect about 75m people in Europe, the USA and Japan. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, the total direct cost of osteoporotic fractures is €31.7bn in Europe, and 17.5bn in the US (2002 figure). The total annual cost of osteoporosis in the UK alone is over £1.7bn (€2.5bn), equivalent to £5m (€7.3m) each day.

It is well established that potassium is important for regulating pH levels in body fluids, blood pressure, muscle and nerve cells, osmotic pressure and water balance. The mineral is commonly used in diet products and meal replacement bars because it is particularly critical for individuals who are dieting or taking diuretics.

The new research, to be published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology​, claims to be the first to report the benefits of pH regulation with potassium citrate and the subsequent effects on bone mineral density (BMD).

The researchers, led by Prof. Krapf, recruited 161post-menopausal women (average age 59) with known low bone mass, and therefore considered to be at high risk of fracture. The women were randomly to one of two intervention groups - potassium citrate supplement as tablets (Urocit-K, 30 millimoles), which provides a very small amount of alkali, or an equal dose potassium chloride supplement (none alkaline). BMD measurements were performed using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at baseline, at six months, and finally after one year of supplementation.

At the end of the study, women taking the potassium citrate supplement are reported to have a significant, one per cent increase in BMD in the vertebrae of the lower back (lumbar spine), compared to baseline.

However, the bone mineral density of the lumbar spine of women taking the potassium chloride supplement (none alkaline) was found to have significantly decreased after one year of supplementation, by about one per cent.

Increases in bone mass also occurred in the hip, are also reported by the researchers.

Women taking the base supplement were also found to have lower amounts of calcium excreted in the urine. Lower calcium excretion was interpreted as greater calcium retention in the skeleton.

The mechanism behind the apparent benefits is proposed to be by the alkaline supplement neutralizing the high acidity of the modern Western diet.

"In the modern diet, acid is generated from foods like dairy products, grains, and meats,"​ explained Prof. Krapf in a statement. "Previous studies have found that the kidney does not quite keep up in removing this excess acid load, resulting in mildly elevated blood acidity.

"Taking a base supplement in this study resulted in sustained reduction of acidity of body fluids, assessed by urinary acid and citrate tests, such that in essence, the supplement modified the effects of the normal diet, making it mimic the low acid content of the ancestral diet of nearly all fruits and vegetables,"​ he said.

Professor Krapf added that the researchers had been surprised by the scale and strength of the effect from the alkaline (basic) potassium citrate supplement.

Significant further research needs to be performed to confirm these effects in other populations and age groups at increased risk of osteoporosis before any recommendations can be made.

"However, given the safety and extremely low cost of this agent, these results should be very encouraging to government agencies regarding funding for future trials,"​ concluded Dr. Krapf.

Related topics: Research, Minerals, Bone & joint health

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

LIPOFER™: a bioavailable and stable source of iron

LIPOFER™: a bioavailable and stable source of iron

Lipofoods, a Lubrizol Company | 17-Nov-2022 | Technical / White Paper

Maintaining adequate iron levels is critical to maintaining a healthy body, with deficiencies being the cause of several health issues including anemia...

Give joint health consumers what they want

Give joint health consumers what they want

Lonza | 01-Nov-2022 | Technical / White Paper

It’s no secret the pandemic had a profound effect on the way we live and move. Consumers of all ages now want to get back to doing the things they love,...

Supplier of high-quality nutritional ingredients

Supplier of high-quality nutritional ingredients

Actylis – The Partner of Choice | 20-Oct-2022 | Product Brochure

By combining 75+ years of manufacturing and sourcing expertise, Actylis provides over 250 high-quality ingredients to the nutrition market, including amino...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars