According to the authors, supplementation with oral potassium results in a lower blood pressure in humans. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate potassium’s effect on high blood pressure by making an analysis of 33 previous trials, involving 2609 patients, that used potassium to treat high blood pressure.
In all but two of the studies reviewed the patients were treated with more than or equal to 60 mmol/day* and in ten of the trials more than or equal to 100 mmol/day. The mean was 75 mmol/24 hours and urinary potassium and sodium excretions were tested.
With treatment 81% of the patients had a reduction of systolic blood pressure and 73% had a reduction of the diastolic blood pressure. The average reduction was a few millimeters of mercury and the reductions were the greatest in those whose urine showed the greatest excretion of sodium. There was no correlation between the excretion of potassium and the blood pressure reduction.
The authors state that potassium seems to be indicated for the prevention of hypertension, unless there are contraindications, such as kidney failure.
CONCLUSION: Potassium is of benefit in treating hypertension, especially when there has been a high intake of sodium. The authors state that, “Increased potassium intake should be included as a recommendation for prevention and treatment of hypertension, especially in those who are unable to reduce their intake of sodium.” Other suggestions for reduction of blood pressure recommended by the authors are weight loss, reduction of sodium intake, moderation in alcohol consumption and increased physical activity.
NOTE: The Paleolithic diet provides high levels of potassium.
* Note: “Over the counter” supplements are severely limited by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in the amount of potassium they can contain. One serving can only supply 99 mg. of potassium. The doses in the above quoted studies vary from 60 to 100 mmol. per day which would be from 2,340 mg. to 3,910 mg. of potassium per day. Potassium can be dangerous for people with kidney failure.