Intended for healthcare professionals


Reducing sodium and increasing potassium intake

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 09 April 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2195
  1. Pasquale Strazzullo, professor of medicine
  1. 1Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University of Naples Medical School, 80131 Naples, Italy
  1. strazzul{at}

Yet more evidence of the safety and health benefits of these interventions should influence robust public health efforts

Hypertension and its associated cardiovascular and renal complications is a global health problem that imposes a heavy burden in terms of individual disability and financial costs to individuals and communities. Prevention and treatment of hypertension therefore is a major challenge to health institutions. The recommendation to reduce dietary sodium intake has been incorporated into guidelines for preventing and treating hypertension for decades, yet it is widely ignored even by patients with hypertension. In addition, despite the robust evidence that underlies a reduction in sodium intake, its implementation at the population level remains the object of recurrent criticism, with counterarguments often based on confounded study results or analyses that lack statistical power.1

Two linked research papers that focus on the effects of reduced sodium intake on blood pressure and related health problems are timely and may help dissipate the public’s doubts about the value of reducing sodium intake.2 3 Another linked paper examines the health effects of higher potassium intake in adults and children and adds to earlier findings of an inverse association between potassium intake, as well as fruit and vegetable consumption, and blood pressure.4 …

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