Osteoporosis International

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 335–340 | Cite as

The effects of high potassium consumption on bone mineral density in a prospective cohort study of elderly postmenopausal women

  • K. ZhuEmail author
  • A. Devine
  • R. L. Prince
Original Article



Few studies have investigated the long-term effects of potassium intake on BMD. In a cohort of 266 elderly women, we found that baseline potassium intake as reflected by 24-hour urine potassium excretion had positive association with BMD measured at 1 and/or 5 years later, suggesting a role of dietary potassium on osteoporosis prevention.


High dietary potassium intake has been suggested to be beneficial for bone structure, but few studies have investigated the long-term effects of potassium intake on BMD in elderly women. We examined the relationship between potassium intake as reflected by 24-hour urine potassium excretion and bone density in a cohort of elderly women.


The study subjects were 266 elderly postmenopausal women aged 70–80 years. Twenty-four-hour urinary potassium excretion was determined at baseline. At one year hip DXA BMD was measured, at 5 years hip and total body DXA BMD and distal radius and tibia pQCT vBMD were measured. The effects of potassium were evaluated by ANCOVA according to the quartile of baseline urinary potassium excretion.


After adjustment for confounding factors, subjects in the highest quartile of urinary potassium excretion had significantly higher total hip BMD at 1 (5%) and 5 years (6%), and significantly higher total body BMD (4%) and 4% distal tibia total (7%) and trabecular vBMD (11%) at 5 years than those in the lowest quartile.


Potassium intake shows positive association with bone density in elderly women, suggesting that increasing consumption of food rich in potassium may play a role in osteoporosis prevention.


Bone mineral density Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry Elderly women Peripheral quantitative computed tomography Potassium Trabecular bone 



We thank all study participants for their cooperation.


This study was supported by research grants from the Healthway Health Promotion Foundation of Western Australia, the Australasian Menopause Society and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (projects grants 254627 and 303169). None of the funding agencies had any role in the conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, or interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript. Kun Zhu, Amanda Devine and Richard L. Prince had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Endocrinology and DiabetesSir Charles Gairdner HospitalNedlandsAustralia
  2. 2.School of Medicine and PharmacologyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health ScienceEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia

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