Osteoporosis is becoming a significant problem for our aging population. It is believed that osteoporosis is increased by our high protein diets, causing increased acid formation and reduced potassium consumption. (Not all studies agree with these statements.) The acid load of the Western diet is 25-125 mmol./day of acid for the person’s life. This results in increased urinary levels of calcium (hypercalciuria). The effects on human bone formation are not clear.
In this double-blind, placebo controlled study, 161 postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density (BMD) were treated with placebo, potassium chloride or potassium citrate (30 mmol./day). All patients received 500 mg. CaCO3 and vitamin D-3 400 IU, daily. The patients were studied over time for changes in BMD of the lumbar spines, the femoral necks and the hips.
Significant differences were seen between the treatment groups. The potassium citrate group showed significant improvement at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. The potassium chloride group showed a significant loss of BMD at 12 months. The potassium citrate treated patients showed a reduction of urinary loss of calcium and an increased urinary citrate level, indicating systemic alkalinization.
Both potassium treated groups showed a “large and significant reduction in blood pressure.” The drops in blood pressure were seen by the 3 month evaluation.
CONCLUSION: Treatment of osteoporosis with alkaline agents, such as potassium citrate, results in improved bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar spine and hip and in the lowering of blood pressures. The overall BMD increase was 1.9%, consistent with pharmaceutical treatments for osteoporosis. Long term studies using potassium citrate are recommended. Therapeutic neutralization of the acidogenic Western diet is suggested.