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Klin Wochenschr. 1985 Apr 15;63(8):352-60.

Hemodynamic, renal, and hormonal responses to changes in dietary potassium in normotensive and hypertensive man: long-term antihypertensive effect of potassium supplementation in essential hypertension.


The hemodynamic, hormonal, and renal responses to alterations in dietary potassium were studied in normotensive and hypertensive subjects. In a short-term study, nine normotensive and nine hypertensive young men received a normal diet and low potassium, high potassium, and high potassium/low sodium diets for 1 week, each. The long-term effect of potassium supplementation (normal diet plus 96 mmol KC1/d for 8 weeks) was evaluated in 17 patients with essential hypertension. Blood pressure did not change significantly during short-term alterations of potassium intake but decreased during long-term supplementation (from 152.2 +/- 3.5/99.6 +/- 1.9 mm Hg to 137.4 +/- 2.9/89.1 +/- 1.4 mm Hg). High dietary potassium induced a significant but transient natriuresis. Plasma potassium concentration was increased during long- but not during short-term high potassium intake. In contrast to plasma renin activity (PRA) and aldosterone, urinary kallikrein was consistently stimulated during long-term potassium supplementation. The plasma concentrations of adrenaline and noradrenaline were significantly higher in hypertensive than in normotensive subjects and were not markedly altered by the dietary changes. It is concluded that long- but not short-term potassium supplementation lowers blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension. The antihypertensive effect may be mediated by potassium-induced natriuresis, by a stimulation of Na-K-ATPase secondary to increased plasma potassium levels, and/or by a modulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone, kallikrein-kinin, and sympathetic nervous systems.

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