Mechanisms Underlying the Protective Vascular Effects of Dietary Potassium in Humans

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Delaware
Updated on 2 March 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


Americans continue to consume high amounts of sodium. Potassium is notable for its blood pressure lowering effects but less is known regarding its effect on the vasculature. This investigation seeks to determine the role of dietary potassium on the vasculature in the presence of a high sodium diet in salt-resistant adults.


Significant public health efforts have been made towards salt reduction but most have met with failure. Dietary factors such high sodium/low potassium diets contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) such as atherosclerosis and high blood pressure (BP). This is important as CVD is the number one killer in the U.S. While the role of these two nutrients on BP is widely accepted, their impact on the vasculature has received less attention. Endothelial dysfunction, characterized by impaired dilation, is an important non-traditional risk factor for atherosclerosis. Evidence supporting potassium's beneficial role on vascular health remains unclear although it may be more effective in the presence of a high sodium diet. A purported mechanism responsible for sodium-induced vascular dysfunction is overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting in reduced nitric oxide (NO) production/bioavailability. Additionally, high sodium diets have been shown to stiffen the endothelium. This investigation will evaluate the vascular effects of dietary potassium during a high salt diet including its impact on sodium-induced oxidative stress and endothelial cell stiffness.

Condition Cardiovascular Risk Factor
Treatment Moderate Potassium/Low Sodium Diet, Moderate Potassium/High Sodium Diet, High Potassium/High Sodium Diet
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04101188
SponsorUniversity of Delaware
Last Modified on2 March 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

normal blood pressure
normal resting ECG

Exclusion Criteria

history of heart disease
kidney disease
obese (BMI 30)
significant weight changes in the last 6 months
use of tobacco products
on a special diet (gluten free; vegan)
take any medications for the above conditions
endurance trained athletes
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