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Can Potassium (K) Reduce Blood Pressure? An N=1 Experiment

re: potassium
re: blood pressure

Real science is never settled, and anyone who has certainty on such things is not qualified to discuss it.

I’ve read in various places that potassium (K) when increased relative to sodium* can decrease blood pressure significantly (and without cutting sodium). Even the mainstream acknowledges that idea.

...people who already have high blood pressure can significantly lower their systolic (top number) blood pressure by increasing their potassium intake when they choose to eat healthy foods...Most Americans get barely half of the recommended amount of potassium — 4,700 milligrams (mg) a day...

The usual recommendation is to eat more fruits and veggies, but I eat what I eat (a fair amount of fruit, not so many veggies, not easy to change it much in any ongoing way). Furthermore, what your body absorbs can be radically different than that naive nutritional label claim.

A boilerplate generic nutritional label state can make some claim about how much of what nutrients are present, but this can have very little do do with what the body can actually absorb. Absorption can be highly variable ,and impaird or interfered with too. The science on it is pretty poor (“if I eat an X with 300mg of K, how much does my body absorb?” = voodoo).

Comparison of the prediction by 27 different factors of coronary heart disease and death in men and women of the Scottish heart health study: cohort study

...unexpectedly powerful protective relation of dietary potassium to all cause mortality.

* Too-little sodium can greatly increase risk of heart attack and stroke and can accelerate atherosclerosis. OTOH, most people get way too much sodium. Consult your doctor.

An N=1 experimental of potassium vs blood pressure

This is a description of a personal test. There are lots of things to consider in individual cases. I disclaim what follows as being advice or recommendation. it is purely informational. Work with your doctor.

As a first assay, I wanted a short and sweet N=1 experiment—could I find any indication of a benefit by doing something simple?

After all, a large study has zero applicability to any particular individual*. A study can suggest what might work on average when tried, and that’s about it. And the study might be wrong anyway. And totally wrong or even opposite for some.

All that matters is what works for YOU, not some hypothetical average person. Even if a placebo works, that’s what counts! And that’s why the only valid test for you or me is trying things and seeing what works. Doctors know this; they try one medication and if it isn’t working well or has too many side effects, they try another. This is also known as guessing science, very popular in medicine, and great for repeat business.


It is not feasible to determine how much potassium I am getting from food (highly dependent on foods, microbiome, high variability... and the soil it was grown in), nor can I reasonably expect to change my eating habits much, which are already good.

For an experiment, I wanted to add a known quantity of absorbable potassium eg potassium chloride (KCl). I chose Nutricost Potassium Chloride, and I took it with my typical amounts of sodium and magnesium.

I was only loosely scientific on amount; I went with "large pinch" which I estimate at 1000mg to 1500mg total (dosed twice per day). Yes, I should be more precise. But to start, I wanted to see if there might be any effect at all.


This short experiment has zero scientific validity. It’s an exploratory test. BP moves around enough that probably weeks of readings are needed to establish a trend.

Taking two BP readings in each arm, a few minutes apart (similar time, same chair, etc as typical):

DAY 1:
left arm
: 109/76, 110/76
right arm: 126/73, 122/78

This systolic blood pressure is as low as I have seen for a very long while. Could just be a fluke of course. Will I see this effect tomorrow and thereafter? If so, I can then cut out the KCl and look for a change.

Day 2: Did not get a morning reading. Auto-immune weariness came at me hard, sending mid-day BP as 160/100 for a short while.

DAY 3, alternating readings on arms:
left arm
: 115/76, 132/76, 110/73 @ 45, 47, 49 bpm
right arm: 112/79, 118/74, 115/75 @ 48,48, 49bpm

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