Reduction of Stroke Risk with Potassium

One paper reported during a 12-year follow-up of 356 men and 503 women, who were 50 to 79 years old,[1] showed that the relative risks of stroke-associated mortality was lower for potassium sufficient subjects. Another study[2] of 5,600 men and women older than 65 years and who were free of strokes, followed for 4 to 8 years, reported that a lower serum potassium level was associated with an increased relative risk of stroke (RR:1.5, p<0.005). For each standard deviation decrease in serum potassium in a diuretic user, there was a 38% increase in the occurrence of stroke. For each SD decrease in dietary potassium in a non-diuretic user, there was an 18% increase in the RR for stroke.”

Another study[3] reported that increased potassium urinary excretion (derived from alkaline potassium salts found in dietary fruits and vegetables) was associated with increased lean body mass in 384 men and women 65 or older who participated in a calcium and vitamin D versus placebo study of osteoporosis. The authors concluded, “Subjects with a potassium intake of 134 mmol/d [5.2 grams/d] can expect to have 1.64 kg more lean tissue mass than subjects with half that potassium intake.”[4]

[1] Khaw et al. Dietary potassium and stroke-associated mortality. N Engl J Med316:235-40 (1987).

[2] Green et al. Serum potassium level and dietary potassium intake as risk factors for stroke. Neurology 59:314-20 (2002).

[3] Frassetto et al. Potassium bicarbonate reduces urinary nitrogen excretion in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 82:254-59 (1997).

[4] Dawson-Hughes et al. Alkaline diets favor lean tissue mass in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr 87:662-5 (2008