Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Potassium is a salt too!
Many of us view "salt" as one thing - table salt aka sodium chloride. Our bodies need balance and harmony. Sodium is the alpha while potassium is the omega. When our body has both, we are in balance.
Our cells run on "electricity" just like a battery. A battery operates by simply creating a flow of current (electrons). Do you remember that frog leg experiment from junior high? When the frog leg is attached to electrical lead and the electricity is pulsed, the frog leg twitches. This is what happens in out body to make our muscles move or our brain "think."
The main source of battery power in our body is the movement of sodium and potassium in what is known as the "sodium - potassium pump."
Recommended Daily Allowances:
Sodium: 2.3 g/day down from 3.4 g/day because of concerns about hypertension.
Potassium: 4.7 g/day or less depending upon age and health status
These guidelines, however, are provided in a vacuum. When you have sufficient potassium, sodium DOES NOT present a hypertension risk.
Our team has been recommending that salt be used sensibly but liberally when potassium and sodium are combined. We have been recommending that people make up a "salt" mixture for salting food and in cooking that contains ~ 1/3 potassium and 2/3 sodium. This recommendation DOES NOT APPLY to anyone with kidney disease as measured by high BUN and BUN/creatinine ratios.
We also recommend natural sources of potassium. Bananas are NOT the best source of potassium because of the high level of low-fiber carbohydrates. The preferred food sources of potassium include:
Black and white beans
kale and spinach
A new study using a mixture of potassium chloride and sodium chloride substantiates our recommendations. Excerpts from the study are provided here:
Salt Substitute Shakes Up Hypertension in Community Trial
Swapping in some potassium had an important effect in Peruvian villages
Credit to: Crystal Phend, Senior Associate Editor, MedPage Today September 03, 2019
PARIS -- A community-wide salt substitution intervention improved blood pressure and hypertension control levels, a pragmatic trial from Peru showed.
Providing all families, shops, bakeries, and restaurants free salt with potassium chloride replacing 25% of the sodium chloride in exchange for their supply of full-sodium salt for 3 years reduced blood pressure by an average 1.23/0.72 mm Hg (P=0.004 and P=0.022, respectively).
The effect was greater for the 18% of individuals with hypertension and those 60 and older, with significant reductions of 1.92 and 2.17 mm Hg on average, J. Jaime Miranda, MD, PhD, of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, reported here at the European Society of Cardiology meeting.
Cumulative probability of hypertension over the 3 years of the study was reduced 55% compared with controls (P<0.001, using the then-current thresholds of 140 mm Hg systolic and 90 mm Hg diastolic), he announced to a round of audience applause at the late-breaking clinical trial session at the conference, which this year has a global health theme.
We don't endorse "no salt." In fact our family purchases a food grade potassium chloride from various sources. Additive-free potassium chloride is actually preferred over "no salt" which, IOHO has unnecessary additive.
Health is all about balance...It's never just about one thing.