A randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled trial has suggested that potassium citrate may have significant benefits for bone health (1).
The research involved 201 healthy elderly men and women who received supplements each day for 24 months. All of the adults received a calcium and vitamin D supplement each day. In addition, the adults were given either a daily potassium citrate supplement or a placebo pill.
After 24 months, bone mineral density was measured by x-ray. A special tool was also used to calculate the risk of fracture for each participant. The researchers reported that those receiving the potassium citrate supplement showed a significant increase in bone mineral density at several sites and had improved bone density microarchitecture (bone ‘quality’). These adults were also predicted to have a significantly lower fracture risk.
The researchers suggested that the benefits of the potassium citrate are a result of its alkalinity which helps to prevent calcium loss from bones.
The food that we eat determines the pH balance in our bodies. If our diet is acid-forming, then the alkaline mineral calcium is leeched from out bones to restore pH balance. This calcium loss decreases bone mineral density, making bones very vulnerable.
Potassium citrate gives the body the resource it needs to keep pH levels balanced without placing stress of the bones. It ensures that the bones are provided with sufficient back-up alkaline which can be stored by the bone ready to be used when alkaline compounds in the blood run short.
The modern diet is believed to have an increasingly acidic load owing to poor food choices. Potassium-rich fruits and vegetables are often overlooked in favour of acid-forming processed red meats, cheddar cheese, sodium, white flour and sugar. Over time, eating an imbalanced diet of excess animal protein, refined grains, sugar, alcohol and salt can cause your body to slip into a state of mild acidosis.
By making small adjustments to your diet, your body can use its mineral stores for building bone, rather than for fighting acidosis.
You can shift to a more alkaline diet by making a few simple dietary changes:
Eat more than 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day
Reduce intake of processed animal products
Replace grains such as wheat and white rice with more alkaline quinoa, millet and buckwheat
Drink water with a little freshly squeezed lemon or lime
Use potatoes, squash and other root vegetables as your energy-giving carbohydrate sources
Eat plenty of spices such as ginger, cinnamon and mustard
Try alkaline-forming supplements such as a good quality multivitamin and mineral formula, or a greens powder each day
1. Jehle S, Hulter HN, Krapf R (2012) Effect of Potassium Citrate on Bone Density, Microarchitecture, and Fracture Risk in Healthy Older Adults without Osteoporosis: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Nov 15 (Epub ahead of print)