The effect of dietary interventions to reduce blood pressure in normal humans

Friedrich C. Luft, Judy Z. Miller, Roseann M. Lyle, Christopher L. Melby, Naomi S. Fineberg, David A. McCarron, Myron H. Weinberger, Cynthia D. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Changes in electrolyte intake have been advocated to lower the prevalence of hypertension in the normal population. To elucidate the potential impact of such strategies, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of data from three interventions, namely, salt (NaCl) restriction, calcium (Ca) supplementation, and potassium (K) supplementation in normal volunteers. Eighty-two adults lowered their Na intake from 157 ± 6 S.E. to 68 ± 3 mEq/day for 12 weeks. Population mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased <2 mm Hg. Ca supplementation, 1.5 g daily for 12 weeks in 37 men, decreased blood pressure compared to 38 men receiving placebo. Ca supplementation, 1 g daily for 8 weeks in an older group of 44 normal subjects, decreased supine diastolic and standing systolic blood pressure. K supplementation with a nonchloride salt in 64 normal adults for 4 weeks had no effect on systolic or diastolic blood pressure even though urinary excretion was increased by 20 mmol/day. The responses to all interventions were Gaussian in distribution. A potentially adverse effect on blood pressure in some normal individuals cannot be excluded on the basis of the currently available data. Although all three interventions may benefit some hypertensive and some normal individuals, the data from these relatively short-term cross-sectional studies are insufficient to warrant generalized dietary recommendations for the normal population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-503
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1989


  • Ca
  • Electrolytes
  • Hypertension
  • K
  • Na
  • NaCl

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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