What is the milk alkali syndrome?
The milk alkali syndrome consists of hypercalcemia, hyperphosphatemia (although with use of calcium supplements such as calcium carbonate, phosphate binding in the gastrointestinal tract may produce hypophosphatemia), metabolic alkalosis, and kidney failure.
It was most commonly observed years ago in patients who were treated for peptic ulcer disease with large doses of sodium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate antacids and milk. Kidney failure was mediated by metastatic calcification of the kidney resulting from excessive calcium and phosphorus absorption.
Kidney failure accounted for impairment of bicarbonate excretion. Currently it results from the use of calcium supplements in patients seeking to enhance bone formation, such as postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.