Research Article

Sodium and potassium intake and blood pressure.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: (Published 23 August 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:537
  1. P Burstyn,
  2. D Hornall,
  3. C Watchorn


    Sodium and potassium intakes were increased in normotensive volunteers to assess the effects on their blood pressures. An approximately threefold increase in sodium intake for eight days had no effect on the blood pressures of seven volunteers, while a two-stage increase in potassium intake, by about 40% for eight days and a further 55% for 14 days, had no effect on the blood pressures of 21 volunteers. Renal electrolyte excretions and the blood pressures of all 28 subjects showed no statistically significant correlations between either sodium or potassium excretion and blood pressure. A weak negative correlation was found between the sodium: potassium ratio and systolic pressure. The small reductions in sodium intake and increases in potassium intake that might be achieved through propaganda and changes in food processing are unlikely to lower mean blood pressure in Western societies.