Dr. A Ascherio and colleagues studied the association of potassium and related nutrients with risk of stroke among 43.738 men. These men were 40 to 75 years old, nad had never been diagnosed with any cardiovascular diseases or diabetes. These men completed a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. During 8 years of follow-up, 328 strokes (210 ischemic, 70 hemorrhagic, 48 unspecified) were documented.
The multivariate relative risk of stroke of any type for men in the top fifth of potassium intake (median intake, 4.3 g/d) versus those in the bottom (median, 2.4 g/d) was 0.62. Results for ischemic stroke alone were similar. Intakes of cereal fiber and magnesium were also inversely associated with risk of total stroke. These inverse associations were all stronger in hypertensive than normotensive men. Use of potassium supplements was also inversely related to risk of stroke, particularly among men taking diuretics (relative risk, 0.36).
The doctors at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston concluded that albeit these data does not prove a causal relationship, they are consistent with the hypothesis that potassium rich foods, magnesium, and cereal fiber reduce the risk of stroke. This is particularly true among hypertensive men. Potassium supplements may also be beneficial, however, because of potential risks; use should be carefully monitored and restricted to men taking potassium-losing diuretics to compensate that intake.