Background and purpose: Potassium intake has been inconsistently associated with risk of stroke. Our aim was to conduct a meta-analysis of prospective studies to assess the relation between potassium intake and stroke risk.
Methods: Pertinent studies were identified by a search of PubMed from January 1966 through March 2011 and by reviewing the reference lists of retrieved articles. We included prospective studies that reported relative risks with 95% CIs of stroke for ≥3 categories of potassium intake or for potassium intake analyzed as a continuous variable. Study-specific results were pooled using a random-effects model.
Results: Ten independent prospective studies, with a total of 8695 stroke cases and 268 276 participants, were included in the meta-analysis. We observed a statistically significant inverse association between potassium intake and risk of stroke. For every 1000-mg/day increase in potassium intake, the risk of stroke decreased by 11% (pooled relative risk, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.83 to 0.97). In the 5 studies that reported results for stroke subtypes, the pooled relative risks were 0.89 (95% CI, 0.81 to 0.97) for ischemic stroke, 0.95 (95% CI, 0.83 to 1.09) for intracerebral hemorrhage, and 1.08 (95% CI, 0.92 to 1.27) for subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Conclusions: Dietary potassium intake is inversely associated with risk of stroke, in particular ischemic stroke.