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Health and Wellness …Preventive Nutrition

Low potassium Intake thought to contribute to high blood pressure!

Posted by IanHealth on August 1, 2008


Boosting levels of potassium in the diet may lower a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure and may decrease blood pressure in people who already have “hypertension.” The typical American diet contains about double the sodium and half the potassium that is currently recommended in dietary guidelines. Low potassium intake is thought to contribute to the prevalence of high blood pressure in Americans. In 2006, the American Heart Association issued new guidelines calling for Americans to get 4.7 grams per day of potassium. 

High blood pressure remains the chief reason for visits to doctors’ offices and for prescription drug use in the U.S., two researchers note in a special supplement to The Journal of Clinical Hypertension this month.  They also noted that “in isolated societies consuming diets low in sodium and high in fruits and vegetables, which have and therefore high levels of potassium, hypertension affects only 1 percent of the population. In contrast, in industrialized societies, such in United States, where people consume diets high in processed foods and large amounts of dietary sodium 1 in 3 persons have hypertension. 

“An increase in potassium with a decrease in sodium is probably the most important dietary choice (after weight loss) that should be implemented to reduce cardiovascular disease.
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2 Responses to “Low potassium Intake thought to contribute to high blood pressure!”

  1. DR OZ said

    hi Ian. Would like you to recommend a supplement for my own consumption. I am currently using a nutritional supplement which works for me but i would welcome new ideas. great work!

  2. ianhealth said

    I suggest a combination of supplement and food sources to reach a high intake of potassium. Because supplements typically don’t contain more than 99 mg of potassium per tablet, you would have to take a large number of pills to reach the prescribed dose. Consider using a prescription product, which provides more potassium per tablet or other dosage unit, in order to reduce the number of pills required. Foods especially rich in potassium (containing more than 300 milligrams of potassium per serving) are a corn or butternut squash, potatoes (with skin), spinach, bananas, orange juice, avocados, lima beans, cantaloupes, peaches, tomatoes, flounder, salmon, and cod. Some salt substitutes also contain high amounts of potassium.

    Please note the following:

    1. Although there is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for potassium, it is recommended that adults should get a minimum of 1,600 mg to 2,000 mg of potassium a day and children should get at least 1,000 mg per day.
    2. Potassium from supplements can cause diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, mild gas and vomiting, although these side effects may be reduced when potassium is taken with meals.
    3. Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) have not been established for potassium because your body excretes excess potassium as long as your kidneys are healthy.

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