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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2011 Aug;111(2):537-42. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00454.2011. Epub 2011 May 19.

High sodium chloride intake exacerbates immobilization-induced bone resorption and protein losses.

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German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne, Germany.


We examined, in immobilization, the effect of a diet high in sodium chloride (NaCl) on bone markers, nitrogen balance, and acid-base status. Eight healthy male test subjects participated in a 14-day head-down-tilt bed rest (HDBR) study. During the bed rest period they received, in a randomized crossover design, a high (7.7 meq Na(+)/kg body wt per day) and a low (0.7 meq Na(+)/kg body wt per day) NaCl diet. As expected, 24-h excretion of urinary calcium was significantly greater in the high-NaCl-intake HDBR phase than in the low-NaCl-intake HDBR phase (P < 0.001). High NaCl intake caused a 43-50% greater excretion of the bone resorption markers COOH- (CTX) and NH(2)- (NTX) terminal telopeptide of type I collagen in HDBR than low NaCl in HDBR (CTX/NTX: P < 0.001). Serum concentrations of the bone formation markers bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (bAP) and NH(2)-terminal propeptide of type I procollagen (PINP) were identical in both NaCl intake phases. High NaCl intake led to a more negative nitrogen balance in HDBR (P < 0.001). Changes were accompanied by increased serum chloride concentration (P = 0.008), reduced blood bicarbonate (P = 0.017), and base excess (P = 0.009) whereas net acid excretion was lower during high than during low NaCl intake in immobilization (P < 0.001). High NaCl intake during immobilization exacerbates disuse-induced bone and muscle loss by causing further protein wasting and an increase in bone resorption. Changes in the acid-base status, mainly caused by disturbances in electrolyte metabolism, seem to determine NaCl-induced degradation processes.

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