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Neutralizing Acid Key in Preventing Bone Loss

According to a study set to be published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, eating more alkaline foods like fruits and vegetables may prevent bone loss.

For the study, researchers from Tufts and Northeastern Universities in Massachusetts recruited 171 healthy men and women (76 men and 95 women) over the age of 50.

The study participants were randomly assigned to receive alkaline supplements of potassium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate, potassium chloride or a placebo for three months.

At the end of the study period, researchers measured calcium secretion in order to determine the level of bone resorption in the study participants.

Bone resorption is a process in which bones are broken down and dissolved into minerals like calcium, phosphates and salts. This process is natural, but can be thrown out of balance as you age. Too much bone resorption can lead to fractures and osteoporosis.

One reason for excessive bone resorption is diet. In the typical western diet we get more acid content from food than we do alkaline. As you age your body becomes less able to get rid of the over abundant acids. Eventually the body may increase bone resorption to produce more alkaline minerals in an attempt to neutralize the acid.

That may be the reason why researchers found that participants who received alkaline bicarbonate supplements had less calcium excretion, which means they likely experienced less bone resorption.

All foods are either acid forming or alkalizing depending on the effect they have in the body. While there is no official ratio, most experts agree that the average diet should contain about 2-4 parts alkaline for every 1 part acid.

A good way to increase alkaline levels in your body and maintain a healthy acid to alkaline ratio is to eat more alkalizing foods like fruits and vegetables. When metabolized, these foods release bicarbonates that neutralize acids.

In addition to maintaining optimum acid-alkaline levels, consuming more calcium and vitamin D can also support healthy bones. They provide nutrients that bones need to stay healthy and have both been shown to help prevent bone loss.
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