The American Physiological Society Press Release

press release logo

APS Contact: APS Communications Office

Email: communications@the-aps.org

Phone: 301.634.7209

Twitter: @APSPhysiology


Raising Dietary Potassium to Sodium Ratio Helps Reduce Heart, Kidney Disease

Limiting sodium and increasing potassium may be key to preventing chronic disease

Bethesda, Md. (February 21, 2017)—Reducing sodium (salt) in the diet has been recommended to lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. However, in a new review article, University of Southern California researchers found that increasing dietary potassium is as important to improving the risk factors for cardiovascular and kidney disease as limiting dietary sodium. The article is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology—Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The research team reviewed more than 70 studies related to dietary approaches to regulating high blood pressure and found that the interaction of sodium and potassium is integral to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. The ratio of sodium to potassium excreted as urine is an indication of how much of these minerals is consumed. When dietary potassium intake is elevated, the kidneys —composed of millions of small tubes working together—shift fluid to the area near the end of the tubes where potassium secretes into the urine. This shift reduces the amount of sodium and water that’s reabsorbed into the body. In this way, high potassium diet signals the body to reduce the amount of sodium that is retained.  This circular pattern regulates the levels of both minerals in the body, which in turn helps lower blood pressure. Higher intake and excretion of potassium has also been found to slow the progression of kidney and heart disease.

In addition to analyzing data about the sodium-potassium ratio and its relationship to chronic disease, the research team explored strategies to educate the public about the importance of potassium for blood pressure control and heart health. Suggested policies include:

  • Requiring manufacturers to print potassium content on Nutrition Facts labels,
  • Promoting low-cost and easily available sources of potassium (milk, dried beans, potatoes, bananas) and
  • Encouraging families to cook healthy, plant-based meals together.

“Consuming [an abundance] of [potassium] is a good strategy since our physiology evolved and was optimized to deal with high [potassium] low [sodium] intake, often referred to a Paleolithic diet,” wrote the research team. In other words, the human body functions best with a balance of the two nutrients.

Read the full article, “Cardiovascular benefits associated with higher dietary K+ versus lower dietary Na+: Evidence from population and mechanistic studies,” published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology —Endocrinology and Metabolism.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To schedule an interview with a member of the research team, please contact the APS Communications Office or 301-634-7209. Find more research highlights in the APS Press Room.

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first U.S. society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 10,500 members and publishes 15 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.

 


RelatedItems

The Down Side of Your Sweet and Salty Addiction: Rapid Onset High Blood Pressure?

Released April 5, 2016 - High levels of fructose similar to amounts consumed within the American diet may predispose individuals to fast-onset, salt-sensitive hypertension, according to New research presented at the Experimental Biology 2016 meeting in San Diego.

Nobel Laureate, Esteemed Researchers Participate in APS President’s Symposium

Released April 18, 2017 - APS President Jane Reckelhoff, PhD, of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, has developed an engaging President’s Symposium Series to be presented during the 2017 Experimental Biology meeting in Chicago. Three symposia will focus on the theme “Research Advances in Sex/Gender and Developmental Programming of Chronic Diseases.”

Grapes, Soy And Kudzu Blunt Some Menopausal Side Effects

Released August 8, 2007 - Menopausal women are at relatively high risk for memory loss, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Long-term hormone therapy replacement (HRT) alternatives are being sought to help address the symptoms. A team of physiologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has investigated the potential effect of grape polyphenols, soy and kudzu.

Is Testosterone Therapy Safe?

Released November 18, 2015 - The increasing use of testosterone replacement therapy to treat reduced testosterone level in older men has been accompanied by growing concerns over its long-term safety. Two studies examining the health risks of receiving testosterone will be presented at Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic Diseases: Physiology and Gender conference, supporting opposite conclusions regarding risks.

Researchers Find Unhealthy Gut Microbes a Cause of Hypertension

Released February 2, 2017 - Researchers have found that the microorganisms residing in the intestines (microbiota) play a role in the development of high blood pressure in rats. The study is published in Physiological Genomics. It was chosen as an APSselect article for February.

From: 
Email:  
To: 
Email:  
Subject: 
Message:

~/Custom.Templates/PressRelease.aspx