Dietary electrolyte intake and blood pressure in older subjects: the Rotterdam Study

J Hypertens. 1996 Jun;14(6):737-41. doi: 10.1097/00004872-199606000-00009.


Objective: To examine the relation between dietary electrolyte intake and blood pressure in older people.

Methods: The study included 3239 participants of the Rotterdam Study (41% of the total cohort) who were aged over 55 years and had not been prescribed antihypertensive drugs. Their dietary intake was assessed by a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. The association of energy-adjusted intakes of potassium, magnesium and calcium with blood pressure was studied in a linear regression model with adjustment for age, sex, body mass index and alcohol intake.

Results: An increase in potassium intake of 1 g/day was associated with a 0.9 mmHg lower systolic and a 0.8 mmHg lower diastolic blood pressure. An increase in magnesium intake of 100 mg was associated with a 1.2 mmHg lower systolic and a 1.1 mmHg lower diastolic blood pressure. Calcium intake was not independently related to blood pressure, except for a subgroup of 1360 hypertensive subjects in which a significant inverse association with diastolic blood pressure was observed.

Conclusions: Our findings support the view that an increase in the intake of foods rich in potassium and magnesium could lower blood pressure at older age.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Calcium, Dietary / pharmacology*
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage*
  • Magnesium / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Potassium, Dietary / pharmacology*
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Potassium, Dietary
  • Magnesium