Skeleton key

We used to think osteoporosis only really affected women. We also assumed that obese people had a lower risk of the disease, on account of carrying around all that extra weight.

But things have changed. Low bone density is becoming increasingly common in obese men. And researchers are now finding that excess abdominal fat is a risk factor for the development of osteoporosis in both men and women.

Given that fact, it seems inevitable that osteoporosis incidence will continue to rise. And so will prescriptions for Boniva, Forteo, and other osteoporosis drugs.

It’s a recipe for disaster, really. Especially considering the fact that these drugs actually increase fracture risk right alongside bone mass.

If you’re on one of these drugs, here’s my advice: Throw the bottle away. Then run, do not walk, to the supplement store.

Once you’ve picked up some calcium, vitamin K2, and D3, look for potassium citrate. Because new research shows that this natural compound carries some serious bone-building power.

A new study of elderly, osteoporosis-free men and women found that by taking potassium citrate daily, you can significantly increase bone mineral density (BMD). And in as little as two years.

The belief is that potassium citrate can help to neutralize the acid our diet generates in our bodies. And by doing so, we may be able to put the brakes on age-related losses in bone density and bone mass.

In this study, the subjects took 60 mEq of potassium citrate daily. Urine tests showed significant alkalization in these patients after 24 hours. The same patients also showed lower calcium excretion after six months and one year.

Within two years, lumbar spine density had increased by 1.7 percent among patients taking potassium citrate. And both men and women taking potassium citrate enjoyed significant dips in fracture risk, too.

I think it’s safe to say that these findings provide strong enough evidence for the bone-building benefits of a daily potassium citrate supplement.

When combined with vitamin D3 and a low dose of calcium, it offers an inexpensive and effective way to increase bone architecture. And it’s well tolerated to boot. (The study used 60 mEq but 10-20 mEq would be a more standard and still safe, daily dose.)

Of course, it always amazes me that it takes years for this type of simple but vital information to get out to the public.

Many fractures can be avoided–and lives saved–by simply taking potassium citrate, or by alkalinizing your diet through other means. (Eating more fruits and veggies, cutting out refined carbs, and kicking soda to the curb are all easy ways to do that.)

But will prescriptions for Boniva plummet because of it? Probably not.

This is another glaring example of Big Pharma obscuring a simple and cheap solution so they can keep pushing their potentially harmful drugs in vast quantities and at massive profits.

The fact that they can sit there along with the FDA and advocate drugs that could cause irreversible bone weakness rather than blasting this news around the world is an egregious act.

But it’s also completely unsurprising.

So I’ll take it upon myself to spread the word.

“Effect of Potassium Citrate on Bone Density, Microarchitecture, and Fracture Risk in Healthy Older Adults without Osteoporosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Nov 15. [Epub ahead of print]