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    Old 05-14-2005, 05:35 PM   #1
    bharkins
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    Question about potassium

    Having become a player in this BP game, I have learned that potassium has alot to do with blood pressure. This question is for all of you who have proven to be experts on this BP subject. Instead of BP medications, why can't we just build up our potassium levels to combat the HBP?

     
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    Old 05-14-2005, 05:46 PM   #2
    redherring
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    Re: Question about potassium

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bharkins
    Having become a player in this BP game, I have learned that potassium has alot to do with blood pressure. This question is for all of you who have proven to be experts on this BP subject. Instead of BP medications, why can't we just build up our potassium levels to combat the HBP?

    Too much or too little potassium is dangerous. I wouldn't advise taking potassium supplements without talking with a doctor first. The other folks here could probably give you insight about the inner workings of potassium and HPB.

     
    Old 05-14-2005, 06:17 PM   #3
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    Re: Question about potassium

    I have not yet figured out why people often seem to panic when one hears of "potassium supplementation." Most of the supplements on the market in the US are so low in amount of potassium that one would have to take dozens of them to get as much as one might get in the diet if one ate plenty of fruits and vegetables.

    Here is a quote I found in one article I thought was interesting:

    "The ratio of sodium to potassium in the diet appears to play an important role in the development of high blood pressure. The typical Western diet is low in potassium relative to sodium.

    Potassium depletion causes the body to retain more fluid in response to a large dose of salt, and high levels of potassium may enhance the excretion of sodium, thus decreasing blood volume and blood pressure."


    Maybe that's why I'm able to eat a lot of salt and have my blood pressure actually go down after such a meal - because I typically get so much potassium with all the vegetables and fruits I eat in a day.

     
    Old 05-14-2005, 06:27 PM   #4
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    Re: Question about potassium

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Uff-Da!
    I typically get so much potassium with all the vegetables and fruits I eat in a day.
    I love fruits and veggies too. I once lost 52lbs on a vegetarian diet. I don't seem to be able to get as many in my diet these days. Mind sharing a typical day with us.
    Cass

     
    Old 05-14-2005, 08:36 PM   #5
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    Re: Question about potassium

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CASSIEBEL
    I love fruits and veggies too. I once lost 52lbs on a vegetarian diet. I don't seem to be able to get as many in my diet these days. Mind sharing a typical day with us.
    Cass
    Well, my days do vary and I usually eat only one meal a day vegetarian (sometimes two meals), but this is probably as typical as I can get:

    4:30-6:30 AM "snack" 16 ounces fruit juice (while I surf the web or sew)

    7:30 two eggs scrambled covered with about 3/4 cups "salsa". (1 chopped tomato, 1/2 green bell pepper, 1/4 c. chopped onion, 4 ounces tomato sauce, 5 dashes Tabasco sauce or a chili pepper. Makes enough for 3 or 4 servings.) I now am alternating this breakfast with oatmeal (made with milk, not water) with cinnamon and raisins.

    10:30 snack 1 banana and a handful of dry roasted unsalted peanuts

    12:30 PM Large salad with a baby spinach base and any combination of the following I have on hand (usually at least 5 or 6): green peppers, white onion, baby carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, pickled beets, ripe olives, celery, marinated garbanzo beans or a 3 bean salad. Served with ranch or Italian dressing. (If I'm not having meat, fish or poultry in my evening meal I'll add tuna, shrimp, or diced chicken or ham to the salad. No more than 3 ounces, though, usually less.) Tea. Maybe a fruited yogurt for dessert. (I often alternate the large salad with bean or pea or lentil soup and a small salad.)

    mid-afternoon - dried apricots or prunes or fresh grapes. Maybe carrot and celery sticks.

    Before dinner - a margarita or screwdriver and another handful of unsalted, dry roasted peanuts.

    8 PM Casserole from the freezer (wild rice, white rice, chicken, green peppers, onions, water chestnuts, cream soup, mayonnaise), fresh asparagus, small salad similar to luncheon salad.

    evening snacks - warm milk

    Last edited by Uff-Da!; 05-14-2005 at 09:12 PM. Reason: I accidentally hit post before I was half finished!

     
    Old 05-14-2005, 10:08 PM   #6
    ms_hypertensive
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    Re: Question about potassium

    Being on Tenormin, I am under the impression that I should not particularly eat high potassium foods -- why is that?

     
    Old 05-14-2005, 10:24 PM   #7
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    Re: Question about potassium

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ms_hypertensive
    Being on Tenormin, I am under the impression that I should not particularly eat high potassium foods -- why is that?
    ms_hypertensive - I found the following about drug-potassium interactions on another web site:

    Quote:
    Some beta-adrenergic blockers (called “nonselective” beta blockers) decrease the uptake of potassium from the blood into the cells,1 leading to excess potassium in the blood, a potentially dangerous condition known as hyperkalemia.2 People taking beta-blockers should therefore avoid taking potassium supplements, or eating large quantities of fruit (e.g., bananas), unless directed to do so by their doctor.
    The same is true of some other types of blood pressure meds, as well. But other BP meds are potassium-depleting, and with those a person needs to get large amounts of potassium in the diet or take supplements. Those of us who are now on no BP meds can eat large amounts of potassium in the diet to keep BP down naturally, unless we have kidney or other problems which would be a contra-indication.

     
    Old 05-15-2005, 09:40 AM   #8
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    Re: Question about potassium

    Uff da, that is my question. If those of us who are not on BP meds can eat large amounts of potassium to keep BP down naturally, why can't we all skip the BP meds and just raise the potassium level to keep it down naturally?

     
    Old 05-15-2005, 10:19 AM   #9
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    Re: Question about potassium

    bharkins, it sounds to me like some of us could. But from the research I've read, the effects are modest compared to what one can get with the meds. My memory is terrible, but it seems like about 8 mg systolic and 4 diastolic were the figures cited in one of the studies. (Of course, the amount of change is going to be dependent upon what a person's potassium level was to begin with.) For those of us right up there close to the 140 systolic figure, that can make the difference between being on meds or off them. Then if we add more exercise to the picture, learn to better deal with stress, etc., it can really make a difference with lifestyle changes only.

    I have my doubts, though, if someone who needed to lower their average systolic more than 20 points could do it without meds with all lifestyle changes together. JMHO here; I don't have any facts to back that up. But it just seems to me that more people should try lifestyle changes first before resorting to meds.

    Last edited by Uff-Da!; 05-15-2005 at 10:27 AM.

     
    Old 05-15-2005, 12:26 PM   #10
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    Re: Question about potassium

    Thanks Uff da

     
    Old 05-15-2005, 04:52 PM   #11
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    Re: Question about potassium

    bharkins,

    Potassium is an intercellular cation (means a positive charge) and resides in only small amounts in the blood. Measuring blood potassium rarely shows much about whether we are getting too much or too little potassium. Sodium, on the other hand existly mainly IN the blood...just a digression.

    In the control of BP, potassium has very little to do with it. Some drugs can reatain potassium (in cells and blood) some can deplete it. Both conditions have different and sometimes serious effects on the body and both high and low are to be avoided as a result.

    Taking more potassium than you need will NOT lower your blood pressure, nor will taking too little raise it. Best we can do with potassium is to keep in the symptomless range.

    Uff-da,

    You are right about the weakness of OTC potassium supplementation, but PRESCRIPTION potassium supplements can be 10 or 20 times as strong and can pose a BIG risk if taken with the wrong drugs. They are used usually only with high dose diuretics or aldosterone (adrenal) irregularites!

     
    Old 05-15-2005, 06:15 PM   #12
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    Re: Question about potassium

    Lenin - I guess I am not too concerned about the PRESCRIPTION potassium supplements because no legitimate doctor is going to prescribe them to someone who doesn't need them. I suppose there are people who might get hold of someone else's prescription, but it is hardly the cause for alarm as if one could buy these without prescription. In the US the OTC supplements in pill form are limited to 99 mg, and I see the recommended amount is 3500 mg, though one source below says 4700. (I thought that was the recommended amount in UK or Australia, not here, but I can't find that right now.) A person might "supplement" their diet with too much potassium, I suppose, if they used a salt-substitute in large quantities, but a few shakes of that isn't likely to be any more than eating an orange or banana, either.

    Here are a few quotes from various sources which lead me to believe as I do that many people could reduce their blood pressure modestly by eating more potassium rich foods:

    From a cached version of a Reuters news item (a small study) reported on NIH:
    [url]http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:JNTXy2jhpcoJ:www.nlm.nih. gov/medlineplus/print/news/fullstory_24063.html++%22They+compared+t he+effects+on+blood+pressure+of+potassiu m+chloride+or+potassium+citrate+in+14+ad ults+with+hypertension%22&hl=en[/url]

    Quote:
    Average blood pressure at the start of the study was 151/93. It fell significantly to 140/88 with potassium chloride and to 138/88 mm Hg with potassium citrate.
    Source: [url]http://www.ext.colostate.***/pubs/foodnut/09355.html[/url]
    Quote:
    Most Americans do not get enough potassium in their diets. The recommended daily potassium intake is 4.7 grams a day. Athletes involved in prolonged, hard exercise may require more potassium a day.
    Source: [url]http://www.ext.colostate.***/pubs/foodnut/09355.html[/url]
    Quote:
    Meeting the minimum requirement is not difficult if you eat a variety of foods. Maintaining the recommended sodium-to-potassium ratio, however, may be more difficult. Eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods. A moderate increase in dietary potassium, in addition to a reduction of excess sodium, may be beneficial, especially for people at risk for hypertension.
    This from the National Institute of Health
    Quote:
    Other behavioral changes for people with blood pressure above optimal levels include consuming more than 3,500 mg of dietary potassium per day — an approach especially important for individuals with high sodium intake — and limiting alcohol consumption to no more than 1 ounce of ethanol (e.g., 24 oz beer, 10 oz wine, or 2 oz 100-proof whiskey) per day in most men and to no more than 0.5 ounce per day in women.
    I have seen additional much larger studies where fruits and vegetable consumption was a factor in a reduced blood pressure. It was suggested that higher potassium intake might be the reason for this, but of course that wasn't known for sure. Same thing is true of a study showing that vegetarians had lower blood pressure than meat-eaters.

    Last edited by Uff-Da!; 05-16-2005 at 09:48 AM. Reason: edit source information

     
    Old 05-15-2005, 07:36 PM   #13
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    Re: Question about potassium

    Anyone who wants to see how their potassium intake stacks up might want to input a couple of typical days food intake to one of the websites, such as ******, which tally nutrients.

     
    Old 05-16-2005, 08:17 AM   #14
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    Re: Question about potassium

    When my father was ill, he was prescribed potassium suppliments one time. Now perhaps he was just sensitive to them but it lead to increased mental confusion and decreased physical dextarity until he went off them.

     
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