Preliminary evidence of effects of potassium chloride on a metabolomic path to diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Metabolomics. 2020 Jun 18;16(7):75. doi: 10.1007/s11306-020-01696-w.


Introduction: Low potassium intake can affect cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and cardiometabolic risk factors.

Objective: We hypothesize that potassium chloride (KCl) supplementation can improve cardiovascular risk metabolomic profile.

Methods: In this secondary analysis of a pilot randomized clinical trial (RCT) of 26 participants with prediabetes randomized to KCl or placebo, we performed targeted mass-spectrometry-based metabolomic profiling on baseline and 12-week (end-of-study) plasma samples. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to reduce the many correlated metabolites into fewer, independent factors that retain most of the information in the original data.

Results: Those taking KCl had significant reductions (corresponding to lower cardiovascular risk) in the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) factor (P = 0.004) and in valine levels (P = 0.02); and non-significant reductions in short-chain acylcarnitines (SCA) factor (P = 0.11).

Conclusions: KCl supplementation may improve circulating BCAA levels, which may reflect improvements in overall cardiometabolic risk profile.

Clinical trials registry: identifier: NCT02236598;

Keywords: Branched-chain amino acids; Cardiovascular disease risk; Metabolites; Potassium chloride; Potassium supplements; Prediabetes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Metabolome / physiology
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plasma / chemistry
  • Potassium Chloride / metabolism
  • Potassium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Glucose

Associated data