Lower estimates of net endogenous non-carbonic acid production are positively associated with indexes of bone health in premenopausal and perimenopausal women

Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jan;79(1):131-8. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/79.1.131.


Background: The link between acid-base homeostasis and skeletal integrity has gained increasing prominence in the literature. Estimation of the net rate of endogenous non-carbonic acid production (NEAP) from dietary protein and potassium content enables exploration of the effects of dietary acidity or alkalinity on bone.

Objective: The study aimed to ascertain whether lower dietary acidity (lower dietary protein intake but higher potassium intake-ie, low estimate of NEAP) was associated with greater axial and peripheral bone mass and less bone turnover, independent of key confounding factors.

Design: Baseline (cross-sectional) results of a population-based study were examined further. The database includes spine and hip bone mineral density (BMD) in 1056 premenopausal or perimenopausal women aged 45-54 y and forearm bone mass and the urinary markers of bone resorption in 62 women. A validated food-frequency questionnaire was used to measure dietary intakes.

Results: Lower estimates of energy-adjusted NEAP were correlated with greater spine and hip BMD and greater forearm bone mass (P < 0.02 to P < 0.05). Hip and forearm bone mass decreased significantly across increasing quartiles of energy-adjusted NEAP (P < 0.02 to P < 0.03), and trends at the spine were similar (P < 0.09). Differences remained significant after adjustment for age, weight, height, and menstrual status. Lower estimates of energy-adjusted NEAP were also correlated with lower excretion of deoxypyridinoline and were significant predictors of spine and forearm bone mass.

Conclusions: These novel findings provide evidence of a positive link between a ratio of lower protein to higher potassium dietary intake (ie, less dietary acid) and skeletal integrity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Climacteric / metabolism*
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Potassium / metabolism*
  • Premenopause / metabolism*


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Potassium