Try Potassium To Reduce Blood Pressure
know that too much sodium from foods can increase blood pressure. A new
study suggests that people trying to lower their blood pressure should
also boost their intake of potassium, which has the opposite effect to
found that the ratio of sodium-to-potassium in subjects' urine was a
much stronger predictor of cardiovascular disease than sodium or
as much focus on potassium, but potassium seems to be effective in
lowering blood pressure and the combination of a higher intake of
potassium and lower consumption of sodium seems to be more effective
than either on its own in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,"
said Dr. Paul Whelton, senior author of the study in the January 2009
issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Whelton is an
epidemiologist and president and CEO of Loyola University Health
determined average sodium and potassium intake during two phases of a
study known as the Trials of Hypertension Prevention. They collected
24-hour urine samples intermittently during an 18-month period in one
trial and during a 36-month period in a second trial. The 2,974 study
participants initially aged 30-to-54 and with blood pressure readings
just under levels considered high, were followed for 10-15 years to see
if they would develop cardiovascular disease. Whelton was national
chair of the Trials of Hypertension Prevention.
the highest sodium levels in their urine were 20 percent more likely to
suffer strokes, heart attacks or other forms of cardiovascular disease
compared with their counterparts with the lowest sodium levels. However
this link was not strong enough to be considered statistically
participants with the highest sodium-to-potassium ratio in urine were
50 percent more likely to experience cardiovascular disease than those
with the lowest sodium-to-potassium ratios. This link was statistically
studies of the relationship between sodium or potassium and
cardiovascular disease have had to rely on people's recall or record of
what foods they eat to estimate their level of sodium consumption. This
is a less precise measure of sodium intake than urine samples. In
addition, many have been cross-sectional rather than follow-up studies.
new study "is a quantum leap in the quality of the data compared to
what we have had before," Whelton said.
member of a recent Institute of Medicine panel that set dietary
recommendations for salt and potassium. The panel said healthy 19-to-50
year-old adults should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium
per day -- equivalent to one teaspoon of table salt. More than 95
percent of American men and 75 percent of American women in this age
range exceed this amount.
blood pressure and blunt the effects of salt, adults should consume 4.7
grams of potassium per day unless they have a clinical condition or
medication need that is a contraindication to increased potassium
intake. Most American adults aged 31-to-50 consume only about half as
much as recommended in the Institute of Medicine report. Changes in
diet and physical activity should be under the supervision of a health
potassium sources include fruits, vegetables, dairy foods and fish.
Foods that are especially rich in potassium include potatoes and sweet
potatoes, fat-free milk and yogurt, tuna, lima beans, bananas, tomato
sauce and orange juice. Potassium also is available in supplements.
among the nation's top experts on high blood pressure. He has published
more than 400 papers on the subject, and has been the principal
investigator on more than $100 million of studies funded by the
National Institutes of Health.
the Archives study include Nancy Cook (first author), Julie Buring and
Dr. Kathryn Rexrode of Brigham and Women's Hospital; Eva Obarzanek and
Dr. Jeffrey Cutler of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; Dr.
Lawrence Appel of Johns Hopkins University and Shiriki Kumanyika of the
University of Pennsylvania.
more information on Loyola University Health System, visit www.luhs.org.