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Potassium Supplements May Aid Bone Health

A recent study suggests that taking supplements containing alkaline potassium salts may help strength bones by lowering the amount of calcium and acid excreted by the body. The supplements may also reduce excretion of the bone resorption marker N-terminal telopeptides or NTX.

For their analysis, the researchers looked at 14 studies that examined the effects of alkaline potassium salts on calcium metabolism and bone health. They found that taking alkaline potassium salts supplements was associated with significantly reduced excretion of calcium and acid in the urine of the participants.

Excess acid is common in the Western diet as a result of high consumption of animal and cereal proteins. Excess acid can cause bones to become weaker, increasing the risk of fracture. Lower acid levels in urine point to less acid in the body.

Lower levels of calcium in the urine indicate that the process of bone resorption has been reduced. Bone resorption is when bone minerals (such as calcium) are broken down and released into the blood. Lower bone resorption indicates stronger bones.

Researchers from the University of Surrey in the UK conducted the study. It was published in the January 2015 issue of the journal Osteoporosis International.

Previous studies have linked potassium with helping prevent hypoglycemia, diabetes, obesity and kidney disease. It may also help counteract muscle cramps.

Many foods are rich in potassium, including beans, avocados, bananas, whole grains, sweet potatoes, beet greens, tomato paste, yogurt, bananas and peaches. The USDA recommends that adults get 4,700 mg of potassium per day.

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