High Potassium Intake Protects Blood Vessels and Kidneys

A high intake of potassium appears to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and chronic kidney damage.

high blood pressure


 That is the conclusion reached by health scientist Lyanne Kieneker in her research, on which she will be awarded a PhD by the University of Groningen. However, she finds no beneficial effects of salt reduction. In fact, low sodium intake can increase the risk of having a stroke.

Surprising result

The result of her research is somewhat surprising. Kieneker shows that a low sodium intake can increase the risk of a stroke. Moreover, she finds no evidence that a high sodium intake increases the risk of a stroke. Kieneker was also unable to demonstrate that lowering sodium intake reduces the risk of chronic kidney damage. The study was conducted among more than 7,000 adults aged 28 to 75 from Groningen who were followed for an average of 12.5 years.

Potassium is beneficial

High potassium intake appears to be a promising approach to preventing high blood pressure and chronic kidney damage. This is evident from data from more than 5,000 people from Groningen from the same study. Kieneker could not find direct evidence that a high potassium intake also protects against cardiovascular diseases such as a stroke. However, she found in kidney transplant patients that a high potassium intake reduces the chance of the transplant failing and premature death after the transplant.

Better method

Worldwide there is an increase in the number of patients with cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney damage. Previous studies show that not only high potassium intake but also low sodium intake can have a preventative effect. According to Kieneker, the evidence for this is not very hard, because inaccurate measurement methods are often used to determine sodium and potassium intake, such as food history. She herself used 24-hour urine collections, which are considered to be an accurate measurement method.

Potassium Sources

Potassium is mainly found in vegetables, fruit, potatoes, meat, fish, nuts, dairy and bread.Together with sodium and chloride, potassium regulates fluid balance and blood pressure in the body. Potassium is also needed for muscle contraction and conduction of nerve impulses.
Source: University of Groningen

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