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Study backs acidity regulator for bone health benefits

By Nathan Gray , 23-Nov-2012
Last updated the 23-Nov-2012 at 18:29 GMT

Potassium citrate for bone health benefits

Potassium citrate, commonly used to regulate the acidity of food and drink products, could also help to boost bone health according to new research findings.

The new study findings – published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism – show that use of food and pharma grade tripotassium citrate (TPC) can help to boost bone mineral density and microarchitecture of bones in healthy older people.

Led by Professor Reto Krapf of the University Basel, the randomised double blind, placebo controlled study assessed 201 elderly men and women receiving either TPC – from Jungbunzlauer – or placebo in addition to supplementation with calcium and vitamin D.

The team found that those receiving the potassium-citrate in addition to calcium and vitamin D had significantly increased bone mineral density and microarchitecture at a number of sites, including the lumbar spine.

“Potassium-citrate administered in a background of vitamin D and calcium supplements is well tolerated and constitutes an inexpensive intervention to increase bone [mineral density] ...  and to improve bone microarchitecture in healthy elderly people with normal bone mass,” said the researchers.

In addition Krapf and his colleagues said, based on fracture prediction scores from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) FRAX tool, a reduction of future fractures by potassium-citrate may also be possible.  

Bone benefits

Speaking with Nutraingredients, Dr. Gerhard Gerstner, business development manager for health and nutrition at Jungbunzlauer said while the benefits of potassium on blood pressure are widely accepted in the scientific community; the new research offers an insight into the protective effects of potassium also on bone health - if provided in the citrate form.

“Potassium alone does not necessarily do the job. It is important to note that in fruits and vegetables, potassium and other cations are predominantly paired with the citrate anion, the latter being responsible for the alkaline effect in the human body,” said Gerstner.

“In beverages, sodium and potassium citrates are the most important buffering agents,” he noted.

“Accordingly potassium citrate as one of the key minerals in plant-derived food is mimicking the acid-base balancing effect of the natural high mineral citrate content of fruits and vegetables,” he said.

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