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Horm Metab Res. 2013 Sep;45(10):697-700. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1347263. Epub 2013 Jun 21.

Bone: an acute buffer of plasma sodium during exhaustive exercise?

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Exercise Science, School of Health Science, Oakland University, Rochester, MI, USA.


Both hyponatremia and osteopenia separately have been well documented in endurance athletes. Although bone has been shown to act as a "sodium reservoir" to buffer severe plasma sodium derangements in animals, recent data have suggested a similar function in humans. We aimed to explore if acute changes in bone mineral content were associated with changes in plasma sodium concentration in runners participating in a 161 km mountain footrace. Eighteen runners were recruited. Runners were tested immediately pre- and post-race for the following main outcome measures: bone mineral content (BMC) and density (BMD) via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA); plasma sodium concentration ([Na+]p), plasma arginine vasopressin ([AVP]p), serum aldosterone concentration ([aldosterone]s), and total sodium intake. Six subjects finished the race in a mean time of 27.0±2.3 h. All subjects started and finished the race with [Na+]p within the normal range (137.7±2.3 and 136.7±1.6 mEq/l, pre- and post-race, respectively). Positive correlations were noted between change (Δ; post-race minus pre-race) in total BMC (grams) and [Na+]p (mEq/l) (r=0.99; p<0.0001), and between total sodium intake (mEq/kg) and %Δ lumbar spine BMD (r=0.94; p<0.001). Change in [aldosterone]s was positively correlated with: rate of total sodium intake (r=0.84; p<0.05); Δ total BMC (r=0.82; p<0.05); and Δ [Na+]p (r=0.88; p<0.05). No significant pre- to post-race mean differences were noted in BMC or BMD. Robust associations between Δ BMC and Δ [Na+]p suggest that sodium status and bone density may be inter-related during endurance exercise and should be considered in future investigations of athletic osteopenia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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