Potassium Citrate makes for Denser Bones in Elderly – Alkalizing Works

December 17, 2012

Potassium Citrate makes for Denser Bones in Elderly – Alkalizing Works 

 Reference  Jehle and Krapf in JCEM 

 Once you hit age 65, your risk of premature death is greater from a fall and a fracture than from cancer or heart attack.  We don’t hear much about falls, but we sure know about them.  To prevent that, we put folks on all sorts of expensive medications that have innumerable side effects.  Talk to anyone on a bisphonate and you will likely hear some grousing about GERD or muscle pain.  

In the USA, we have hip fracture rates that are at least 80 fold greater than in societies that don’t eat our “western diet”.  That number comes from comparing African American women to West African women and hip fracture rates. Why such disparity?  It’s likely caused by our acid eating.  We have become a wealthy society and we can afford and like to eat meat.  Milk, meat, cheese, yogurt, anything animal, ends up generating a tiny bit of acid in the biological ash after all is well and done and digested.  

In order to neutralize that acid, we borrow a wee bit of bicarbonate from our bones.  By age 65, our bones are like honeycombs. The opposite is true of plants.  The biological ash is alkaline.  A bit of bicarbonate in the form of potassium and magnesium salts.  Those salts can be in the form of bicarb, malate, or citrate.  When you look at the malate you realize it’s two bicarbs plugged together. The citrate is three bicarbs.  When you take potassium citrate, you are eating bicarb.  In 20 minutes, your urine turns alkaline.  When you eat plants, you are doing the same. 

 What Jehle and Krapf did was create a great study in 201 elderly folks with pretty decent bone density.  In a randomized, placebo-controlled fashion, they took 60 meq a day of Potassium Citrate.  That’s quite a lot.  If you do that, your first-morning urine will turn from a pH of 5.5 (on the Standard American Diet) to a pH of 7.6. After two years, they broke the code and examined high-resolution CT scanning of bone density to see if there was a difference between placebo and potassium citrate.  There was.  Statistically significantly, the folks on the potassium citrate had 1.7% denser bones (p < .001).  It took two years and 1.7% doesn’t sound like much. But it’s huge.  They didn’t measure a clinical outcome, fractures. That will take longer but one can reasonably presume that such an outcome could easily follow. 

 This makes for fascinating conjecture.  I think Jehle and Krapf are onto something unprecedented here.   We tout vegetables for their beneficial effects from all their phytonutrients, flavonoids and colors.  Maybe vegetables are unbelievably good for you as well because they carry alkalizing salts too.  Maybe our bodies are actually simple chemistry sets that are driven dramatically, albeit slowly and subtly, by the inexorable flow of acid – base balance. 

 WWW.  What Will Work for me.  I can buy potassium citrate over the counter quite inexpensively.  But they are 1 meq pills so you have to take 60 a day to reach the 60 meq dose. But you can buy bulk potassium citrate (1 kg bag on Amazon) and 00 size capsules and make your own.   If you have diabetes or kidney disease, you may accumulate potassium so an electrolyte check may be in order from time to time.  I now take 4 capsules a day.   My bones are getting denser.  If only there was a better product on the market to make for alkaline supplements. This study confirms what Amy Joy Lanou documented in her landmark book “Building Bone Vitality”.   If you have thin bones, and normal kidney function, you might just consider this strategy.  It works.  It’s cheap.  No side effects.  You can certainly start with eating more vegetables.

(Editor's Note from 2022:  Some 200+  women later, the process works brilliantly.  In a year or two, most every woman who has done this has increased bone density back up to normal after which we put them on lower doses and encourage many move vegetables and less animal.)

Written by John Whitcomb, MD Brookfield Longevity and Healthy Living Clinic, 17575 W North Ave, # 160 Milwaukee, WI 53045 262-784-5300 www.LiveLongMD.com