Are Potassium Chloride Salt Substitutes Efficient?

Beneath is an approximation of this video’s audio content material. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, photographs, and quotes to which Dr. Greger could also be referring, watch the above video.

Of all of the horrible issues about our diets, excessive dietary sodium consumption, excessive salt consumption, is the main threat, estimated to be inflicting thousands and thousands of deaths yearly––killing thousands and thousands primarily by means of hostile results on blood strain and elevated threat of stroke, coronary heart assault, and kidney harm. Hypertension—hypertension––remains to be referred to as the “silent and invisible killer” as a result of it not often causes signs, however is likely one of the strongest unbiased predictors of a few of our main causes of demise.

We developed consuming a food plan very wealthy in potassium and low in sodium. However as we speak, this sample has been utterly reversed. This flip reflects a shift from conventional plant-based diets excessive in potassium and low in sodium––a shift from fruits and greens, roots, and tubers to salty processed meals stripped of potassium, which is taken into account a “nutrient of public well being concern” as a result of 98 p.c of the U.S. inhabitants doesn’t even attain the beneficial minimal every day consumption of potassium, as I discussed in my final video. And, low potassium consumption itself is implicated in hypertension and heart problems. But few physicians truly take into consideration proposing their sufferers eat extra meals which can be excessive in potassium, like vegetables and fruit, to raised management blood strain––though a number of meta-analyses have now confirmed that top potassium consumption seems to scale back the danger of stroke.

There’s even a discount in stroke threat unbiased of blood strain results, in step with different protecting results of potassium, resembling lowering clot formation, lowering hardening of the arteries, lowering the era of free radicals. Greater sodium consumption is related to a 20 p.c elevated threat of dying prematurely, the place larger potassium consumption was related to a 20 p.c decreased threat of dying prematurely. Yeah, however sodium is present in crappy processed meals, whereas potassium is concentrated in wholesome meals like beans and greens. So, having low sodium consumption and excessive potassium consumption could be a marker for a more healthy food plan—extra plant meals and fewer crap.

How do we all know sodium is cause-and-effect unhealthy? As a result of randomized managed trials present sodium discount results in blood strain discount, identical to there are randomized managed trials displaying that should you give individuals further potassium, you possibly can deliver down blood pressures as properly. So, what about utilizing potassium chloride to salt your meals, relatively than sodium chloride? That’s what’s present in these zero sodium salt substitutes.

Potassium chloride is a naturally occurring mineral salt, which is obtained the identical approach we get common sodium salt. Since we get an excessive amount of sodium and never sufficient potassium, this would appear to make potassium chloride a win-win resolution.

Now, entire wholesome plant meals could be one of the simplest ways to extend potassium consumption. Fruit and veggies have all kinds of different good issues in them in addition to potassium, however we now have 10 research now, randomized managed trials, displaying that simply swapping in some potassium chloride for normal salt can result in vital reductions in blood strain in individuals with hypertension––suggesting that salt substitutes could even assist forestall hypertension as properly. We all know that salt substitutes can decrease blood strain, however does it truly lower the incidence of hypertension, and extra importantly, illness endpoints like stroke and mortality? You don’t know, till you set it to the check.

In a randomized managed trial, households had their salt changed with only a quarter potassium chloride. At that stage, most individuals both can’t inform the distinction, and even desire the salt with the potassium blended in. Okay, however did it truly do any good? Using even the quarter salt substitute was related to slicing the danger of growing hypertension in half.

Okay, however what about truly following individuals out to see if there’s any change within the threat of dying from heart problems? 5 kitchens in a veterans’ retirement residence have been randomized into two teams for about two and a half years, salting meals with common salt or, unbeknownst to the cooks and the diners, a 50/50 mix of potassium chloride. These within the half-potassium group minimize their threat of dying from heart problems by about 40 p.c, and lived as much as practically a 12 months longer. The life expectancy distinction at age 70 was equal to that which might have naturally occurred in 14 years––that means that simply switching to half potassium salt appeared to successfully make individuals greater than a decade youthful when it got here to threat of demise. As we converse, there’s a large randomized managed trial wrapping up in China, involving 600 villages and greater than 20,000 individuals, that can give us an concept of simply how low we will drop stroke threat with this technique.

China is ideal, as a result of as much as 75 p.c of their sodium consumption comes from salt they add within the residence kitchen or eating room, whereas most sodium within the American food plan comes prepackaged within the meat and processed meals we purchase––although actually the meals firms may swap over themselves. Why haven’t they? And why haven’t extra individuals embraced these salt substitutes, in the event that they work properly and may style simply nearly as good? We might be “Attaining the Benefits of a Excessive-Potassium Paleolithic Food regimen—With out the Toxicity.” So, “Is salt substitution prepared for prime time or what?” What about security? Sure, there are convincing arguments about the advantages, however what concerning the dangers, like , the quote-unquote “inclusion of doubtless deadly salt substitutes within the meals provide.” Wait, what? We’ll discuss concerning the potential downsides, subsequent.

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