Do your have arthritis? Or think you might? Over 90 MILLION people in the United States have arthritis. That is one person in 3 people are suffering every day, 24 hours a day. As I was for 43 years. It has now been 27 years of being without arthritis.

The reason for this is that your cells are crying for vitamins and vitamins.

As Linus Pauling, 2 time winner of the Nobel Peace Prize said... "Every ailment, every systems and every disease can be traced to vitamin and mineral deficiency."

Practically everyone knows how important calcium is to bone health, but there's another mineral that is equally critical, albeit in lesser amounts -- potassium. In fact, I've heard about a number of research studies recently focused on the connection between potassium and bone health, so word is getting out. The most recent study, from the University of Basel, Switzerland, showed that a group of postmenopausal women with low bone density had, on average, a 1% increase in density after a year of taking a particular potassium supplement.


Susan E. Brown, PhD, director of the Osteoporosis Education Project in Syracuse, New York said that "without question potassium is one of the most important bone nutrients." Exactly how potassium relates to bone health turned out to be fairly complicated.

You must also have the proper calcium at the same time in order for them to work in your body.

Potassium is important in helping the body achieve a proper pH balance. In fact, when out of balance, you can die -- really fast -- so our bodies make this process a high priority. How does it work? As part of its normal metabolic processing, the body creates acids, which exit our systems via the lungs and kidneys.

To buffer the harshness of these acids and protect delicate kidney tissue, the body neutralizes them with diet-derived alkali (base) compounds derived from fruits and vegetables. These are stored in our blood, other fluids, in muscle tissue and above all in bones. Our skeleton, in fact, is our largest storehouse of alkali mineral reserves. Just in case we run short, we keep extra alkali stores in our bones.

The severe lack of fruits and vegetables in the modern American diet creates an acidic environment in many. To neutralize excess acid, we need alkali compounds, which the body obtains first from easily available blood reserves, then from muscles, leading to muscle loss, and then by reaching into the bones. When and if that happens, we're left with bone breakdown and mineral loss -- in other words, weakened bones.


Now, back to potassium. The particular form of potassium that serves to buffer the acids is potassium citrate, generally found in fruits, vegetables and legumes. People who regularly consume enough potassium citrate through a diet rich in those foods assure their body sufficient alkaline compounds to avoid any need to call on emergency supplies for homeostasis.

As Dr. Brown notes, "If you eat enough potassium-containing foods, which should not be a problem, you have the proper pH balance." However, people today load their diet with meat, poultry, dairy and grains, which are metabolized as acids, creating a greater need for offsetting alkalids. If the body can't find these in foods, it turns to body tissue, including bones.

Though the US "Adequate Intake" (AI) potassium recommendation for adults is 4,700 mg per day, average consumption by adults in this country is around 2,200 mg for women and 3,200 mg for men.

Our lack of dietary potassium consumption looks to be a health crisis in the making, putting our bodies at risk for "consuming themselves," says Dr. Brown. In addition, potassium serves many other essential functions in the body. It contributes to nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction and heart function, and also helps protect against stroke, kidney stones and high blood pressure.


Getting the right amount is trickier, however, than just swallowing a potassium citrate supplement each day. Though we know too little potassium is a problem, too much can also be an issue. For example, a heart problem can arise if the kidney is weak and the potassium load is too great for the weakened kidneys to eliminate excesses. In fact, by law potassium supplements do not exceed 99 mg units to discourage people from taking too much. Because excess potassium can accumulate in the blood in the face of kidney weakness, potassium supplements should only be taken with care under proper supervision.

That is why you want your supplements to have the proper balance of potassium and calcium in liquid form.

The 1% increase in bone density achieved by the women in the Swiss study is considered significant, especially because it affected the hips and spine -- two areas especially vulnerable to fracture. Though the study used potassium citrate supplements, it is possible, as Dr. Brown points out, to get what you need from dietary sources.

You can achieve the AI of 4,700 mg per day by including 13 one-half cup servings of fruits, vegetables and legumes in your daily food intake.

Admittedly, 13 sounds like a lot, but a large salad, for example, is four to six servings, a large apple is two. Those, plus a banana (440 mg, about one-and-a-half fruit servings) for an afternoon snack, and a baked potato at dinner along with a green vegetable and other vegetables, bring you easily to the goal of 4,700 mg.

Once again, I want to emphasize that if you decide to take potassium citrate supplements anyway, it is important to do so under the direction of a health-care professional who is well-versed in potassium needs and balance, such as a naturopathic physician or nutritionist. Potassium levels can be monitored by a simple blood test to be sure that you are getting neither too little, nor too much.

Author's Bio: 

Margie Garrison is an authority on the treatment of arthritis. Visit her website for more natural health help and information at