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Br J Nutr. 2008 Jun;99(6):1284-92. Epub 2007 Dec 6.

The effect of a dietary supplement of potassium chloride or potassium citrate on blood pressure in predominantly normotensive volunteers.

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Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, King's College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NN, UK.


Blood pressure (BP) shows a continuous relationship with the risk of CVD. There is substantial evidence that dietary potassium exerts an anti-pressor effect. Most clinical trials have used KCl. However, the chloride ion may have a pressor effect and in foods potassium is associated with organic anions. In a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial we explored the effect on BP of two salts of potassium, KCl and potassium citrate (K-cit), in predominantly young healthy normotensive volunteers. The primary outcome was the change in mean arterial pressure as measured in a clinic setting. After 6 weeks of supplementation, compared with the placebo group (n 31), 30 mmol K-cit/d (n 28) changed mean arterial pressure by -5.22 mmHg (95% CI -8.85, -4.53) which did not differ significantly from that induced by KCl (n 26), -4.70 mmHg (-6.56, -2.84). The changes in systolic and diastolic BP were -6.69 (95% CI -8.85, -4.43) and -4.26 (95% CI -6.31, -2.21) mmHg with K-cit and -5.24 (95% CI -7.43, -3.06) and -4.30 (95% CI -6.39, -2.20) mmHg with KCl, and did not differ significantly between the two treatments. Changes in BP were not related to baseline urinary electrolytes. A greater treatment-related effect was observed in those with higher systolic BP. Increasing dietary potassium could therefore have a significant impact on the progressive rise in BP in the entire population.

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