Potassium Increases May Lower Blood Pressure

A summary published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Hypertension has found that increased amounts of potassium in diets may help lower blood pressure (BP.)

The study, put together by Dr. Mark C. Houston, from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Dr. Karen J. Harper from Harper Medical Communications, Inc. in Nashville, revealed that one in three American adults has hypertension, which is the leading reason for visits to physicians’ offices and use of prescription drugs. High blood pressure is a symptom of hypertension.

The study went on to explain that, amongst other findings, “one population study in St Lucia suggested that an increase of only 20 to 30 mmol/d (742–1173 mg/d) of potassium in the diet could result in a 2- to 3-mm Hg reduction of BP in a population.” Other factors that could have influenced the lowered blood pressure included magnesium content, as well as calcium, as they were also a part of the dietary study.

Other studies within the summary focused on oral potassium supplementation, and found reduced blood pressure levels, and that the effects of potassium increases would vary with certain conditions. These conditions include “pretreatment blood pressure levels, age, sex and race.”

The summary authors also explained that if Americans were to increase their potassium intake levels, the population of adults with high blood pressure could decrease by 10 percent.

The authors’ conclusion included the statement “American’s consume double the sodium and about half the potassium that is recommended by current guidelines.” Aside from weight loss, this is the most important dietary choice to help lower blood pressure associated with hypertension. Increased fruit and vegetable dietary choices are of great benefit in regards to these problems.

Andrew Stewart


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