Potassium Supplementation Induces Beneficial Cardiovascular Changes During Rest and Stress in Salt Sensitive Individuals

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Abstract

The typical American diet includes high salt and low potassium, a pattern linked to elevated blood pressure (BP) in cross-cultural studies. This study compared resting and stress cardiovascular responses on a high salt, low potassium diet to those observed during 2 interventions: salt restriction and potassium supplementation. Forty-seven percent of the primarily normotensive sample (n = 67 adults) were salt sensitive, showing a decrease in mean arterial pressure ≥5 mmHg during low salt and equivalent reductions during high potassium. The equivalent benefits of the interventions were maintained, but not enhanced, during exposure to behavioral stress (i.e., no effect on reactivity). Salt resistants (SRs) exhibited no change in resting or stress BP across the diets. High salt increased cardiac index in both groups, whereas vascular tone was decreased only in the SR group. High potassium produced hemodynamic benefits similar to low salt, even with continued high salt intake.

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