Winter 2002 - Volume 13, No. 1

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WSU Recognized as Founding Member of AAMC


New Curriculum Addresses Aging and Geriatrics


Providing Answers About Viruses and Drug Resistance


Publication Shows Gene Programming is Coming Soon


Antacids May be More Important than Calcium in Osteoporosis Prevention


Congressman Rallies for Graduate Medical Education


Tracking Software Evaluates Students' Clinical Rotations


Prayer and Fellowship Promote Healthy Outcomes


Diabetes Program Participants See Sharp Drop in Risk Factors


Master's Degree Offered in Genetic Counseling


Influenza Vaccine Research Targets Large Capacity Virus


WSU School of Medicine Recognizes Excellence in Medical Student Research


In Memory of Professor Emeritus Maurice Bernstein


School Begins Multi-Million dollar Energy Savings Project


WSU Establishes Metabolic Research Center Dedicated to Diabetes/Obesity Research


Drug Delivery System Uses Liposomes to Treat Ocular Tumors


Dr. Goodman Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from American Association of Physical Anthropologists


Medical Students Learn and Practice Professionsl Values


Leukemia Drug Gets Priority Approval


Psychiatry Students Awarded for Research


Lower Cardiovascular Risk is Added Benefit of Exercise


$5 Million Grant Partners WSU and Florida A&M for Environmental Health Research


Graduates Earn PhDs

Antacids May Be More Important Than Calcium in Osteoporosis Prevention

The calcium in calcium supplements may not be the primary ingredient responsible for the prevention of osteoporosis, according to a study reported by Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher Dr. Warren Lockette in the February issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. The study suggests that antacids in conjunction with calcium may be the best nutritional supplements to improve bone health.

These popular calcium supplements also happen to be antacids, which might explain the reason they prevent osteoporosis.

Dr. Lockette’s study, “Ethnic Differences in Titratable Acid Excretion and Bone Mineralization,” initially sought to explain why black Americans, who seem to consume and absorb less dietary calcium than white Americans, have increased rates of bone mineralization, greater bone density, and a decreased prevalence of osteoporosis and fractures compared to whites. Dr. Lockette noted that Western diets, which are rich in calcium, are also more likely to be rich in acid. He suggested ethnic differences in the body’s ability to buffer this dietary acid may result in contrasting bone density. This publication confirmed his hypothesis: differences in calcium metabolism among blacks and whites are secondary to ethnic variations in acid metabolism.

 “We now believe that acid metabolism may be as important as dietary calcium in governing bone density and health. This radically changes what we previously thought about calcium as the major preventive force against osteoporosis,” said Warren Lockette, MD, professor of neurosurgery at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

To test his hypothesis--that the way an individual handles dietary acid affects bone health--he tested a group of 33 United States Navy SEAL trainees. This cohort of highly-trained athletes showed a strong relationship between the prevalence of stress fractures and acid excretion. Those trainees who had the highest acid output were most likely to have stress fractures during their physical training.

Dr. Lockette noted that all of the popular over-the-counter calcium supplements such as Tums, Citrical, and Caltrate also happen to be antacids, and antacids may help the body deposit calcium in bone. These findings are also noteworthy because the cost of antacids are only a fraction of the much more expensive treatments being touted for osteoporosis.

“This is significant because it shows that antacids, rather than just calcium, may be the best nutritional supplements to improve bone health.” Dr. Lockette is now determining whether age-related declines in acid excretion contribute to the progression of osteoporosis in a more sedentary population.

Professor Lockette’s decision to study Navy SEALS was not an accident. His specialty is human performance in extreme environments, and as such, he serves as a senior biomedical advisor for the special operations forces of the United States Navy.


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