Why Your Mother Was Right: How Potassium Intake Reduces Blood Pressure

David Ellison, Andrew S. Terker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Low potassium intake, common in western diets, increases blood pressure and enhances salt-sensitivity. Most humans in "Westernized" countries also consume excess salt. In studies using mice, we found that a high-salt, low-potassium diet activates the thiazide-sensitive Na-Cl cotransporter in the kidney. This effect led to sodium retention and increased blood pressure, and was dependent on plasma potassium. We postulated that this effect was mediated by changes in intracellular chloride caused by changes in membrane voltage. We developed a model in cultured cells permitting us to confirm this hypothesis. We then confirmed, using urinary exosomes, that dietary changes in normal humans, affect the thiazide-sensitive Na-Cl cotransporter in the same way. These data show that dietary potassium deficiency increases blood pressure largely by stimulating salt reabsorption along the distal nephron. They suggest that global efforts should focus on increasing potassium intake, which will attenuate the effects of high-salt diets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalTransactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association
Volume126
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Potassium
Salts
Blood Pressure
Dietary Potassium
Potassium Deficiency
Exosomes
Sodium-Restricted Diet
Nephrons
Chlorides
Cultured Cells
Sodium
Diet
Kidney
Membranes
thiazide receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Why Your Mother Was Right : How Potassium Intake Reduces Blood Pressure. / Ellison, David; Terker, Andrew S.

In: Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, Vol. 126, 2015, p. 46-55.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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