Increased Dietary Potassium Tied to Lower Stroke Risk

Dietary potassium may also help reduce risk of heart disease and total cardiovascular disease

WEDNESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- Higher dietary potassium intake is correlated with reduced rates of stroke and may also lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and total cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a meta-analysis published in the March 8 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Lanfranco D'Elia, M.D., Ph.D., of the "Federico II" University of Naples Medical School in Italy, and colleagues investigated the relationship between dietary potassium intake and the incidence of vascular disease by conducting a meta-analysis of published prospective studies. They examined 11 prospective studies involving 247,510 adults, with an assessment of baseline potassium intake, an assessment of vascular events as outcomes, and at least four years of follow-up.

The researchers found that, in the pooled analysis, an increase of 1.64 g of potassium intake per day was significantly correlated with a 21 percent reduced risk of stroke. There was a trend toward a lower risk of CHD and CVD that became statistically significant when one of the cohorts was excluded based on sensitivity analysis.

"Increasing dietary potassium intake is expected to exert a protective effect against stroke and might also reduce the incidence of CHD and total CVD. These results apply to the general population, not only to specific subgroups at higher risk," the authors write. "Efforts should therefore be made to favor the synergy with other nutritional- or lifestyle-related preventive measures."

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