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J Am Soc Hypertens. 2013 Sep-Oct;7(5):395-400. doi: 10.1016/j.jash.2013.04.009. Epub 2013 Jun 2.

Dietary potassium: a key mediator of the cardiovascular response to dietary sodium chloride.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Istanbul Medeniyet University School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey. Electronic address:


Potassium and sodium share a yin/yang relationship in the regulation of blood pressure (BP). BP is directly associated with the total body sodium and negatively correlated with the total body potassium. Epidemiologic, experimental, and clinical studies have shown that potassium is a significant regulator of BP and further improves cardiovascular outcomes. Hypertensive cardiovascular damage, stroke, and stroke-related death are accelerated by salt intake but might be curbed by increasing dietary potassium intake. The antihypertensive effect of potassium supplementation appears to occur through several mechanisms that include regulation of vascular sensitivity to catecholamines, promotion of natriuresis, limiting plasma renin activity, and improving endothelial function. In the absence of chronic kidney disease, the combined evidence suggests that a diet rich in potassium content serves a vasculoprotective function, particularly in the setting of salt-sensitive hypertension and prehypertension.


Blood pressure; dietary potassium; endothelium; sodium chloride

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