could potassium bicarbonate inhibit sarcopenia?

Doug Skrecky (
Wed, 6 Jan 1999 03:12:33 -0800 (PST)

Citations: 1-3:

Frassetto L. Morris RC Jr. Sebastian A. Institution
Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA. Title
Potassium bicarbonate reduces urinary
nitrogen excretion in postmenopausal women. Source
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 82(1):254-9, 1997 Jan. Abstract
Previously we demonstrated that low grade chronic metabolic acidosis exists normally in humans eating ordinary diets that yield normal net rates of endogenous acid production (EAP), and that the degree of acidosis increases with age. We hypothesize that such diet-dependent and age-amplifying low grade metabolic acidosis contributes to the decline in skeletal muscle mass that occurs normally with aging. This hypothesis is based on the reported finding that chronic metabolic acidosis induces muscle protein breakdown, and that correction of acidosis reverses the effect. Accordingly, in 14 healthy postmenopausal women residing in a General Clinical Research Center and eating a constant diet yielding a normal EAP rate, we tested whether correcting their "physiological" acidosis with orally administered potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3; 60-120
mmol/day for 18 days) reduces their urinary nitrogen loss. KHCO3 reduced EAP to nearly zero, significantly reduced the blood hydrogen ion concentration (P < 0.001), and increased the plasma bicarbonate concentration (P < 0.001), indicating that pre-KHCO3, diet-dependent EAP was significantly perturbing systemic acid-base equilibrium, causing a low grade metabolic acidosis. Urinary ammonia nitrogen, urea nitrogen, and total nitrogen levels significantly decreased. The cumulative reduction in nitrogen excretion was 14.1 +/- 12.3 g (P < 0.001). Renal creatinine clearance and urine volume remained unchanged. We conclude that in postmenopausal women, neutralization of diet-induced EAP with KHCO3 corrects their preexisting diet-dependent low grade metabolic acidosis and significantly reduces their urinary nitrogen wasting. The magnitude of the KHCO3-induced nitrogen-sparing effect is potentially sufficient to both prevent continuing age-related loss of muscle mass and restore previously accrued deficits.


Sebastian A. Harris ST. Ottaway JH. Todd KM. Morris RC Jr. Institution
Department of Medicine, Moffitt-Long Hospitals, University of California, San Francisco 94143.
Improved mineral balance and skeletal metabolism in postmenopausal women treated with potassium bicarbonate [see comments].
Comment in: N Engl J Med 1994 Jun 23;330(25):1821-2, Comment in: N Engl J Med 1994 Jul 28;331(4):279, Comment in: N Engl J Med 1994 Nov 10;331(19):1312-3 Source
New England Journal of Medicine. 330(25):1776-81, 1994 Jun 23. Abstract
BACKGROUND. In normal subjects, a low level of metabolic acidosis and positive acid balance (the production of more acid than is excreted) are typically present and correlate in degree with the amount of endogenous acid produced by the metabolism of foods in ordinary diets abundant in protein. Over a lifetime, the counteraction of retained endogenous acid by base mobilized from the skeleton may contribute to the decrease in bone mass that occurs normally with aging. METHODS. To test that possibility, we administered potassium bicarbonate to 18 postmenopausal women who were given a constant diet (652 mg [16 mmol] of calcium and 96 g of protein per 60 kg of body weight). The potassium bicarbonate was given orally for 18 days in doses (60 to 120 mmol per day) that nearly completely neutralized the endogenous acid. RESULTS. During the administration of potassium bicarbonate, the calcium and phosphorus balance became less negative or more positive--that is, less was excreted in comparison with the amount ingested (mean [+/- SD] change in calcium balance, +56 +/- 76 mg [1.4 +/- 1.9 mmol] per day per 60 kg; P = 0.009; change in phosphorus balance, +47 +/- 64 mg [1.5 +/- 2.1 mmol] per day per 60 kg; P = 0.007) because of reductions in urinary calcium and phosphorus excretion. The changes in calcium and phosphorus balance were positively correlated (P < 0.001). Serum osteocalcin concentrations increased from 5.5 +/- 2.8 to 6.1 +/- 2.8 ng per milliliter (P < 0.001), and urinary hydroxyproline excretion decreased from 28.9 +/- 12.3 to 26.7 +/- 10.8 mg per day (220 +/- 94 to 204 +/- 82 mumol per day; P = 0.05). Net renal acid excretion decreased from 70.9 +/- 10.1 to 12.8 +/- 21.8 mmol per day, indicating nearly complete neutralization of endogenous acid. CONCLUSIONS. In postmenopausal women, the oral administration of potassium bicarbonate at a dose sufficient to neutralize endogenous acid improves calcium and phosphorus balance, reduces bone resorption, and increases the rate of bone formation.


Sudhir K. Kurtz TW. Yock PG. Connolly AJ. Morris RC Jr. Institution
Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0126. Title
Potassium preserves endothelial function and enhances aortic compliance in Dahl rats.
Hypertension. 22(3):315-22, 1993 Sep. Abstract
It has recently been proposed that in rat models of genetic hypertension, supplemental dietary potassium preserves release of endothelium-derived relaxing factor independently of its capacity to either attenuate hypertension or increase plasma potassium. To test this hypothesis in Dahl salt-sensitive rats given sodium chloride (4%) for 3 weeks, we supplemented dietary potassium (2.1%) with either KCl (n = 16) or KHCO3 (n = 16). Compared with unsupplemented rats (n = 16), rats supplemented with either potassium salt had a lower mean arterial pressure and a greater release of endothelium-derived relaxing factor, as assessed from acetylcholine-induced relaxation of precontracted aortic rings. However, the maximum relaxation response to acetylcholine correlated inversely with blood pressure (r = -.82, P < .001), not only in the KCl (r = -.68, P < .002) and KHCO3 (r = -.77, P < .001) groups but also in unsupplemented rats (r = -.86, P < .001). With potassium supplementation, plasma potassium concentrations measured between 4 and 6 PM did not increase, but those measured between 4 and 6 AM did increase (P < .05). In isolated ring segments, aortic compliance was greater in both the KCl and KHCO3 groups than in unsupplemented rats (0.015 and 0.017 vs 0.009 mm2/mm Hg) (P < .01). This greater compliance could not be related to differences in blood pressure, plasma potassium, or collagen or elastin content of the aortic wall.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)