Potassium for high blood pressure? Study to test dietary alternatives to medication

November 13, 2019

When a doctor tells someone with high blood pressure to eat more fruits and vegetables, they mean “eat more potassium.” Potassium is a mineral that helps lower the blood pressure. It’s found in foods like potatoes, beans and beets.

 Drs. Swapnil Hiremath and Marcel Ruzicka are leading a clinical trial to identify the best way for people with high blood pressure to eat more potassium on a regular basis. The clinical trial will offer personalized dietary advice and weekly coaching to individuals with high blood pressure who have had low potassium levels in the past. If the dietary method doesn’t work after four weeks, potassium supplements will be prescribed. 

The participants’ potassium levels will be measured again a year later to see if these methods are sustained. This trial has the potential to help some people avoid medication for high blood pressure by offering an effective dietary solution. People with hard-to-manage high blood pressure interested in the trial should ask their doctor to refer them to The Ottawa Hospital Renal Hypertension Clinic (613 738-8400 ext 82480). 

A private Canadian Foundation that is asking to stay anonymous provided $287,000 to fund this research. Researchers at The Ottawa Hospital are also supported by generous donations to the hospital.

Co-investigators: Dean Fergusson, Greg Knoll, Tim Ramsay

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The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care. See for more information about research at The Ottawa Hospital.

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Media Contact

Amelia Buchanan
Senior Communication Specialist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73687
Cell: 613-297-8315



Disease and research area tags: Hypertension, Vascular, heart and metabolic disease

Scientific Program tags: Inflammation and Chronic Disease Program