Effect of high potassium diet on endothelial function

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2014 Sep;24(9):983-9. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2014.04.009. Epub 2014 May 2.


Background and aims: Increased potassium intake is related to reduced blood pressure (BP) and reduced stroke rate. The effect of increased dietary potassium on endothelial function remains unknown. The aim was to determine the effect of increased dietary potassium from fruit and vegetables on endothelial function.

Methods and results: Thirty five healthy men and women (age 32 ± 12 y) successfully completed a randomised cross-over study of 2 × 6 day diets either high or low in potassium. Flow mediated dilatation (FMD), BP, pulse wave velocity (PWV), augmentation index (AI) and a fasting blood sample for analysis of Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 (ICAM-1), E-selectin, asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) and endothelin-1 were taken on completion of each intervention. Dietary change was achieved by including bananas and potatoes in the high potassium and apples and rice/pasta in the low potassium diet. Dietary adherence was assessed using 6 day weighed food diaries and a 24 h urine sample. The difference in potassium excretion between the two diets was 48 ± 32 mmol/d (P = 0.000). Fasting FMD was significantly improved by 0.6% ± 1.5% following the high compared to the low potassium diet (P = 0.03). There were no significant differences in BP, PWV, AI, ICAM-1, ADMA or endothelin-1 between the interventions. There was a significant reduction in E-selectin following the high (Median = 5.96 ng/ml) vs the low potassium diet (Median = 6.24 ng/ml), z = -2.49, P = 0.013.

Conclusion: Increased dietary potassium from fruit and vegetables improves FMD within 1 week in healthy men and women but the mechanisms for this effect remain unclear.

Clinical trial registry: ACTRN12612000822886.

Keywords: Diet; Endothelial function; Potassium.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arginine / analogs & derivatives
  • Arginine / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • E-Selectin / blood
  • Endothelin-1 / blood
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Potassium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Urinalysis
  • Vegetables
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • E-Selectin
  • Endothelin-1
  • ICAM1 protein, human
  • Potassium, Dietary
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • N,N-dimethylarginine
  • Arginine