Effects of sodium and potassium supplementation on endothelial function: a fully controlled dietary intervention study

L. Gijsbers, J.I. Dower, C.G. Schalkwijk, Y.H.A.M. Kusters, S.J.A. Bakker, P.C.H. Hollman, J.M. Geleijnse

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17 Citations (Scopus)


High Na and low K intakes have adverse effects on blood pressure, which increases the risk for CVD. The role of endothelial dysfunction and inflammation in this pathophysiological process is not yet clear. In a randomised placebo-controlled cross-over study in untreated (pre)hypertensives, we examined the effects of Na and K supplementation on endothelial function and inflammation. During the study period, subjects were provided with a diet that contained 2·4 g/d of Na and 2·3 g/d of K for a 10 460 kJ (2500 kcal) intake. After 1-week run-in, subjects received capsules with supplemental Na (3·0 g/d), supplemental K (2·8 g/d) or placebo, for 4 weeks each, in random order. After each intervention, circulating biomarkers of endothelial function and inflammation were measured. Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and skin microvascular vasomotion were assessed in sub-groups of twenty-two to twenty-four subjects. Of thirty-seven randomised subjects, thirty-six completed the study. Following Na supplementation, serum endothelin-1 was increased by 0·24 pg/ml (95 % CI 0·03, 0·45), but no change was seen in other endothelial or inflammatory biomarkers. FMD and microvascular vasomotion were unaffected by Na supplementation. K supplementation reduced IL-8 levels by 0·28 pg/ml (95 % CI 0·03, 0·53), without affecting other circulating biomarkers. FMD was 1·16 % (95 % CI 0·37, 1·96) higher after K supplementation than after placebo. Microvascular vasomotion was unaffected. In conclusion, a 4-week increase in Na intake increased endothelin-1, but had no effect on other endothelial or inflammatory markers. Increased K intake had a beneficial effect on FMD and possibly IL-8, without affecting other circulating endothelial or inflammatory biomarkers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1419-1426
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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