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D.iet & H.ealth : C.hildren & W.omen Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00

Base supplement helps prevent osteoporosis
By Ben Wasserman
Oct 12, 2006, 00:10

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Taking a potassium citrate supplement can increase bone density in older women, helping prevent osteoporosis and fractures, finds a study published in the November issue of The Journal of The American Society of Nephrology.

Diets that tend to generate acids in the body are known to accelerate bone loss or bone mineral calcium loss, leading to osteoporosis, a condition that affect early 55 percent of Americans aged 50 or older, mostly the postmenopausal women. Many foods and supplements are known to help retain boss calcium.

Dr. Reto Krapf of the University of Basel, Switzerland and colleagues studied 161 postmenopausal women at the average age of 59 who had low bone mass and high risk of osteoporosis to determine the effect of a potassium citrate supplement on the retention of bone calcium.

In the study, one group was assigned to take a potassium citrate supplement daily for up to 12 months. Another group was assigned a potassium chloride supplement, which is neutral and would not affect the body pH. They measured bone mineral density (BMD) before and after 6 to 12 months of treatment and also conducted other tests.

They found that women taking potassium citrate, a base supplement that would increase the body pH, increased their BMD in the vertebrae of the lower back or lumbar spine by one percent. In contrast, those who took potassium chloride lost one percent of BMD. The calcium retention was also observed in the hip.

“Both the spine and hip are critical regions where osteoporosis and low bone mass result in debilitating fractures," the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) says in a press release, suggesting that the net two percent gain in BMD can help prevent fractures in elderly women.

Tests also found that women taking potassium citrate lost much less calcium through their urine, suggesting that the base supplement helps retain calcium in the skeleton.

The researchers believed that taking potassium citrate neutralizes the effect of a modern diet with too much of dairy products, meats and grains and too less of fruits and vegetables, which tends to generate an acidic pH in the body and would otherwise cause calcium loss, possibly leading to osteoporosis and bone fractures in elderly people.

The pH of body fluid affects cellular functions. An acidic pH can not only cause bone loss, but also many other health conditions such as cancer. 85 percent of cancer patients have a strongly acidic pH in their body, according to an unsubstantiated source. The normal pH should fall into the range from 7.1 to 7.4. Any pH below 7 is acidic.

Besides taking base supplements such potassium citrate, consumers may follow a diet that tends to generate an alkaline body pH, according to a scientist affiliated with who recommended consumers reduce consumption of meats and dairy products and increase consumption of plant foods.

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