Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

New study says potassium could help prevent heart disease

New study says potassium could help prevent heart disease

Atherosclerosis is a key risk factor for heart disease.

Heart diseases have been leading the causes of death in American women and men - of all races and ethnic groups - for a long time.

Both of these conditions are predictors of heart disease and cardiovascular mortality in humans, found researchers from University of Alabama, Birmingham. The researchers conducted the study on mice, the study showed that these two foods contain potassium that reduces the risk of aortic stiffness and help in reduces vascular calcification.

The cell culture analysis revealed that through a potassium transport channel called the inward rectifier potassium channel, low-potassium conditions led to a rise in intracellular calcium in vascular smooth muscle cells. Also, it is necessary to carry out prevention to prevent a heart attack. Besides, the mice that were fed with high-potassium diets had less artery hardening. They are seemingly capable of doing so as they contain potassium, which can help protect the arteries from calcification and hardening.

When thinking about foods rich in potassium, bananas are the first ones on the list, with about 425 mg contained in one serving. The study published in the journal JCI Insight, the researchers analyzed that either low, normal or high levels of potassium were given ti mice in their diets.

Spinach and other leafy greens, as well as potatoes, carrots, oranges, and grapefruit, are just some of the fruits and vegetables that are good sources of potassium.

Researchers believe that potassium affects the genes, associated with the elasticity of the arteries. The scientists divided the total into three groups and gave them different levels of dietary potassium - 0.3 percent, 0.7 percent, and 2.1 percent weight/weight, respectively.

The higher level of calcium in the cells triggered a complex signalling mechanism promoting autophagy (the intracellular degradation system) which in turn resulted in calcification. Also, the low-potassium mice had increased stiffness of their aortas, and high-potassium mice had decreased stiffness, as indicated by the arterial stiffness indicator called pulse wave velocity, which is measured by echocardiography in live animals. The findings of the new study back up this recommendation.

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