They’re Connected

If  you’ve had the chance to read my book yet, you’ll know there was a time when I had a low potassium count.  That’s when the nephologist gave me a list of low, medium and high potassium foods and told me to eat more of the high potassium foods.  There was no accompanying explanation for why as far as I can remember.
According to’s February 13th article “The Importance of the Potassium and Sodium Balance”:
            When there is a potassium and sodium balance, cells, nerves and muscles can all function smoothly. With an imbalance, which
             is almost always due to both an excess of sodium, and a deficiency of potassium, a set of reactions occurs leading to high blood
            pressure and unnecessary strain on blood vessels, the heart and the kidneys. Research has shown that there is a direct link bet-
            ween chronic levels of low potassium and kidney disease, lung disorders, hypertension and stroke.
You can read the entire article at:
Now that you and I know how the two minerals interact, the following article makes sense.  As a matter of fact, it makes me wonder why these guidelines were not put into place a long time ago.   Applause for, please! They’re the ones who have explained in terms we can all understand why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans needed to be changed.  Now, if only I could figure out how we became such a sodium loving culture in the first place….

Study: Sodium, potassium both affect mortality News
Saturday July 16, 2011Americans who eat a diet high in sodium and low in potassium have a 50% increased risk of death from any cause, and about twice the
risk of death from a myocardial infarction, according to a study.
Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University and Harvard University said the study is the first to examine, using a nationally representative sample, the association between mortality and people’s usual intake of sodium and potassium. The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a survey designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults in the United States. Usual intake of sodium and potassium was based on dietary recall.

“The study’s findings are particularly troubling because U.S. adults consume an average of 3,300 milligrams of sodium a day, more than twice the current recommended limit for most Americans,” Elena Kuklina, MD, PhD, an investigator on the study and a nutritional epidemiologist with the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, said in a news release.

“This study provides further evidence to support current public health recommendations to reduce sodium levels in processed foods, given that nearly 80% of people’s sodium intake comes from packaged and restaurant foods. Increasing potassium intake may have additional health benefits.”

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting intake of sodium to 1,500 milligrams a day for people 51 and older, African Americans and those who have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease — about half the U.S. population ages 2 and older. The dietary guidelines recommend that all other people consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. In addition, the guidelines recommend that people choose more potassium-rich foods, advising 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day.

Sodium, primarily consumed as salt, is commonly added to many processed and restaurant foods, while potassium is naturally present in many fresh foods. For example, cheese, processed meats, breads, soups, fast foods and pastries tend to have more sodium than potassium. Yogurt, milk, fruits and vegetables tend to have less sodium and more potassium. Potassium-rich fruits and vegetables include leafy greens such as spinach and collards, grapes, blackberries, carrots, potatoes and citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit.

In general, people who reduce their sodium consumption or increase their potassium consumption — or do both — benefit from improved blood
pressure and reduce their risk for developing other serious health problems, according to the researchers. They said adults can improve their health by knowing recommended limits for daily sodium intake; choosing foods such as fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, unprocessed or minimally processed meat or poultry, low-fat milk or plain yogurt; asking for foods with no or low salt at restaurants, and reading the nutrition labels of foods before purchasing can improve health for all adults.

The CDC is working with public- and private-sector partners at the national, state, and local levels to educate the public about the health effects of sodium and to reduce sodium intake. The agency is also enhancing the monitoring of sodium intake and expanding the scientific literature on sodium and health.

The study appeared July 11 in the Archives of Internal Medicine: (I found this to be a dead link, but was able to locate the original AMA article at: .) is the URL for the article.

Until Friday, watch your sodium/potassium balance and
Keep living your life!    


Published in: on August 2, 2011 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: