Increased potassium intake cuts stroke

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News from the world of cardiology

Higher dietary consumption of potassium is associated with lower rates of stroke and could also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, a new
meta-analysis suggests.

“Potassium intake may be increased by well-described dietary changes, mainly an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, as recommended by all guidelines to prevent vascular diseases,” the authors conclude.

The research, published in the March 8th 2011 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, included 11 studies on the association between habitual dietary potassium intake and incidence of vascular events, including 247,510 participants with follow-up of five to 19 years. Results showed a 1.64 g (42 mmol) per day higher potassium intake was associated with a significant 21% lower risk of stroke, with a trend toward lower risk of CHD and total cardiovascular disease. In all of the populations studied in the present meta-analysis, potassium intake was far lower than the recommended intake of 100 mmol or more per day.

The researchers note that the magnitude of risk reduction with increasing potassium intake by 1.64 g per day is similar to that which would result from lowering dietary sodium consumption by 5 g (85 mmol) per day and would translate into a reduction of 1,155,000 stroke deaths per year on a worldwide scale.