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Low-salt, high-potassium diet yields BP reductions in normotensive women

12 Apr 2018

In drug-naïve normotensive individuals, the beneficial effects of a low-salt, high-potassium diet on blood pressure (BP) are more pronounced in women than men, a study reports.

Researchers analysed the estimated 24-hour urinary sodium and potassium excretion rate in 3,392 drug-naïve Japanese individuals with normal BP (average age 48.4 years) in relation to their BP levels. Known risk factors to salt sensitivity, such as age, body mass index, serum creatinine, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (IR) and urinary potassium excretion, were included as potential confounders.

In multivariate regression models, a 10-mmol/day increment in urinary sodium excretion was associated with an increase in systolic BP of 0.16 mm Hg in men and 0.37 mm Hg in women.

In terms of urinary potassium excretion, a 10-mmol/day increment was associated with a reduction in systolic BP of −0.54 mm Hg in men and −1.49 mm Hg in women. Moreover, the involvement of IR on BP was seen only in women.

Findings of the present study highlight the importance of sodium restriction and increased potassium intake, as well as maintaining an appropriate balance, to prevent BP elevation or the new onset of hypertension and its complications not only in hypertensive patients but also in drug-naïve normotensive individuals, especially in women.

Researchers explained that renal potassium handling relates to sodium handling, and a lower potassium diet may enhance sodium reabsorption along the distal convolute tubule, via the upregulation of thiazide-sensitive sodium chloride co-transporter. [Kidney Dis 2016;2:72-79]

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