Potassium and Mortality in Elderly Men

Could adding more potassium really prolong your life?

This study goes one step further than most studies on potassium salt and focuses on its effect on risk of death due to cardiovascular events. The study included 1981 veteran participants and five veteran retirement home kitchens and lasted about 31 months. Participants were given either regular table salt or potassium-enriched salt. The participants who received potassium-enriched salt lived 0.3-0.9 years longer. Even more exciting is the fact that the veterans that received the potassium salt had better quality of life as represented by significantly less money spent in patient care related to heart health problem. The study effect was most likely due to the increase of potassium and a moderate decrease in sodium intakes. (Summary by: Kasia Kines, MS, CN, CNS, LDN a nutritionist at Your Prescription for Health)

Dr. Ray Hinish’s Comments:
This is a very interesting study because it is one of the first salt intervention studies to look at risk of death due to cardiovascular events after replacement of sodium salt with potassium salt. Here is the interesting point, compared to the sodium we get from prepared, caned and refined foods, table salt makes up the significant minority of sodium intake. This is what leads me to believe that the benefits of these results come from adding extra potassium rather than decrease daily intake of sodium. The Standard American Diet (SAD) contains much more sodium and far less potassium than nature intended. There is no doubt that we have too much sodium in our diet, however, we can not ignore the fact that our diet is also potassium deplete. In addition to using potassium salt, you should also get plenty of fruits and vegetables to help balance out the sodium/potassium levels in our diet. Low sodium tomato juice is a great source of potassium. You can even get a powdered tomato concentrate that mixes with water or juice to make up the difference.

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