Effect of Potassium Bicarbonate Supplementation on Bone and Muscle in Older Adults

2014-08-27 03:43:17 | BioPortfolio


There is increasing evidence that the acid-base balance of diet plays an important role in the health of bones and muscles. An excess of acid in the body can result in calcium loss and muscle breakdown. Potassium bicarbonate, a base supplement, can neutralize acid within the body. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of potassium and bicarbonate, alone and combined, at reducing bone loss and preventing muscle wasting in older adults.


The typical American diet of dairy products, grains, and meats results in excess acid build-up in the body. The kidney is often unable to remove this excess acid quickly enough, resulting in mildly elevated blood acidity. In an attempt to neutralize the acidity, the body releases calcium from its bones. Over time, however, this calcium loss can lead to decreased bone density and possibly osteoporosis. Excess acid in the body also stimulates the breakdown of muscle. The combination of osteoporosis and reduced muscle strength sets the stage for falls, fractures, and ultimately functional decline. At least 30% of older adults fall once a year and, of those falls, 5% result in fractures. Preserving muscle mass and strength is an effective way to lower the risk of falling and to maintain independence among older people. Potassium bicarbonate is a base supplement that can neutralize acid. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of potassium and bicarbonate, alone and combined, at reducing bone loss and preventing muscle wasting in older adults.

This study will last 3 months. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups:

- Group 1 will receive potassium bicarbonate supplements

- Group 2 will receive potassium chloride supplements

- Group 3 will receive sodium bicarbonate supplements

- Group 4 will receive placebo supplements

All participants will take three pills of their assigned supplement after each meal; this will occur on a daily basis throughout the study. Participants will also take a multivitamin and a 600-mg calcium tablet daily. Participants will not be required to alter their usual diet in any way, but they will be requested to not take their usual calcium and vitamin D supplements during the study. Study visits will occur on Days 1, 21, 49, and 84. Days 1 and 84 study visits will include a review of medical history and physical activity, blood collection, and evaluation of weight, blood pressure, calcium absorption, and muscle function. Collection of both a 24-hour urine sample and a calendar depicting compliance with the supplement schedule will also occur at these two visits. The other study visits, on Days 21 and 49, may include blood collection, calendar compliance checking, and weight and blood pressure measurements. Supplements will be handed out on Days 1, 21, and 49.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Prevention




Potassium Bicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Potassium Chloride, placebo (microcrystalline cellulose)


Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University
United States




National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:43:17-0400

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Membrane proteins that allow the exchange of chloride ions for bicarbonate ions across the cellular membrane. The action of specific antiporters in this class serve important functions such as allowing the efficient exchange of bicarbonate across red blood cell membranes as they passage through capillaries and the reabsorption of bicarbonate ions by the kidney.

A subclass of symporters that specifically transport SODIUM CHLORIDE and POTASSIUM CHLORIDE across cellular membranes in a tightly coupled process.

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Proteins that cotransport sodium ions and bicarbonate ions across cellular membranes.

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