Biomedical Updates

Vitamin D and Potassium Bicarbonate
Synergize to Lessen Loss of Muscle

T here have been few studies on the combined effects of acid-base balance and vitamin D status on muscle mass and metabolism. Consequently, researchers set out to investigate whether alkali supplementation with potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), with or without vitamin D3 (±VD3), alters urinary nitrogen (an indicator of muscle proteolysis) and other indicators affecting signaling pathways that regulate muscle mass.

Thirty-six rats were randomly assigned to one of two KHCO3-supplemented diets (±VD3) or diets without KHCO3 (±VD3) for 12 weeks. Thereafter, several different groups of muscles were examined.

Among VD3-dosed rats, phosphorylated-Akt protein expression was twofold higher in the KHCO3 groups compared to those who were not given KHCO3, but this effect was blunted in rats on VD3-deficient diets. Furthermore, in rats experiencing metabolic acidosis, higher vitamin D status seemed to work synergistically with KHCO3 to potentiate Akt activation, a protein kinase involved in several anabolic pathways.

These findings provide support for alkali supplementation (certainly as KHCO3) as a promising intervention to promote preservation of skeletal muscle mass, particularly along with higher vitamin D.


  1. Ceglia L, Rivas DA, Pojednic RM, Price LL, Harris SS, Smith D, Fielding RA, Dawson-Hughes B. Effects of alkali supplementation and vitamin D insufficiency on rat skeletal muscle. Endocrine. 2013 Oct;44(2):454-64.
  2. Travis Thomas D. Could vitamin D and bicarbonate supplementation synergize to mitigate age-related loss of muscle? Endocrine. 2013 Oct;44(2):280-2.

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