Thursday, November 18, 2010

March 2010 study finds proper potassium levels important to cardiovascular health (Rev A - see notes)

In the course of trying to find an inexpensive way to obtain adequate dietary potassium, I ran across 2500 mg potassium supplement per day improves heart function. Not only did it convince me that obtaining sufficient potassium is crucial, but it also provided information on a good and inexpensive form of potassium (potassium bicarbonte) to use as a supplement. I've tried potassium chloride, and I found that it's quite unpalatable unless taken with orange juice. I soon realized that the amount of orange juice required would cost an exhorbitant amount.

The following is from the aforementioned article (a summary of the medical study to which it refers):

Left Ventricular Mass And Function Predictors Of Cardiovascular Disease And Death

Left Ventricular Mass And Left Ventricular Function Are Predictors Of Cardiovascular Morbidity And Mortality

The authors of the study also noted that:

“Both [left ventricular] mass and function are important independent predictors of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.”

Potassium Supplement Prevents Increase in Left Ventricular Mass And Impaired Left Ventricular Function

Potassium Deficiency Increases Left Ventricular Mass And Impairs Left Ventricular Function. This Is Prevented With A Potassium Supplement

“Experimental studies in dogs, mice, and human healthy volunteers showed that hypokalemia induced [left ventricular] hypertrophy and impaired [left ventricular] function.”

“Correction of hypokalemia by potassium supplementation prevented these adverse effects.”

Most populations only get 2300-2700 mg of potassium per day vs Recommended 4700 mg per day

Most populations only get 2300-2700 mg of potassium per day. US Institute of Medicine Recommends 4700 mg per day.

“[T]he adequate intake for adults recommended by the US Institute of Medicine (120 mmol/d) [4700 mg per day].”

“The current potassium intake in most populations is 60 to 70 mmol/d [2300-2700 mg per day].”

Potassium Benefits Cardiovascular System

Increasing Potassium Has Beneficial Effects On Cardiovascular System

“These results indicate that an increase in potassium intake has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system and bone health.”

Potassium Increases Nitric Oxide

Potassium Preserves Endothelial Function by Increasing Nitric Oxide

“An increase in potassium intake has been shown to augment endothelium-dependent relaxation and preserve endothelial function through increased endothelial [ nitric oxide ] production in salt-loaded, Dahl salt-sensitive rats.”

[ A small study also found increased plasma and urinary nitric oxide in salt-sensitive people given potassium for one-week, they also note. ]

Potassium Supplement Beneficial Even In Those On Low-Salt, High-Potassium Intake

Additional Potassium Improved Endothelial Function Even in these People with a Relatively Low-Salt, High-Potassium Intake

“Our findings are of considerable interest in that the effect of potassium on endothelial function was found in individuals on a relatively low-salt and high-potassium intake.”

Potassium Supplement Protects Against Vascular Damage

Additional Potassium Protected Against Vascular Damage Induced by Salt-Loading in Salt-Sensitive Rats

“Studies in Dahl salt-sensitive rats demonstrated that potassium supplementation enhanced aortic compliance and protected against the development of vascular damage induced by salt loading, possibly through suppression of salt-induced oxidative stress.”

Blood Pressure Did Not Change

Blood Pressure Did Not Change During This One-Month Study

Interestingly, they found that office blood pressure did NOT change during the one-month study.

After one-month, blood pressure was:

142/90—Potassium Chloride
144/90—Potassium Bicarbonate

In other words, all of these benefits occurred WITHOUT a change in blood pressure.

Professor Richard Moore, MD, PhD talks about this in his book “The High Blood Pressure Solution”.

He says that people assume the problem with high blood pressure is the mechanical pressure on the blood vessels, but this is not necessarily the problem.

He notes that, in most cases, elevated blood pressure simply indicates an imbalance inside cells—too little potassium and too much sodium.

You probably already know this, but he notes that the amount of potassium + sodium inside cells is constant. So if you too much sodium and not enough potassium, it creates this imbalance inside cells.

Suggested Source of Potassium Bicarbonate

One of the best sources of potassium bicarbonate that I've found is PureBulk. Theirs is pharmaceutical grade, and although it costs a little more than food grade, I'd rather pay a little extra up front than to take chances on a lower grade, especially considering the unusual amounts I intend to use.

Considering the cardiovascular benefits that researchers have discovered by supplementing 2500 mg of potassium daily, which is far in excess of "conventional wisdom" on potassium supplementation, I'm beginning to wonder if the medical establishment has deliberately imposed potassium deficiency on mankind, knowing that few people will get enough from their diet. If so, it wouldn't be the only widespread nutritional deficiency they've tried to create.

I haven't seen any advice on how to take such large doses, but it seems to me that it would be best to split it up into a few doses spaced throughout the day, to avoid causing an electrolyte imbalance. But that's just a layman's hunch.


Rev A - Added information on source for potassium bicarbonate