Low Potassium and African Americans

Potassium doesn’t get enough credit as a very beneficial nutrient to good health and potassium deficiency (low potassium) has been directly related to high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, muscle weakness, fatigue and much more.

Multiple studies have confirmed that African Americans are much more likely to lack potassium and low potassium can be linked to higher blood pressures, diabetes and a number of other health problems that impact the Black community.

As much as high sodium (“salt”) can be a problem, low potassium can also be a problem . . . a big problem. Potassium is an essential mineral that has many functions in your body. For example, it is central to muscle contraction, it maintains healthy nerve function, and regulates water balance in your body. With all of those essential functions, it is a wonder that so many people, including African Americans are low in potassium. 

Curiously, low potassium has also been linked as a diabetes risk in African Americans. A large study at John Hopkins found that African Americans with lower potassium levels had a higher risk for diabetes.  The author said “”we now know lower serum potassium is an independent risk factor for diabetes and that African-Americans have, on average, lower potassium levels than whites.” 

Previous studies have also found that lower potassium was directly linked to higher blood sugar levels. The higher the blood sugar, the higher the risk for diabetes . . . and high blood pressure. Yet another study found that taking a potassium supplement directly lowered the blood pressure of Black patients. Lowering your blood pressure reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The CDC says that increasing your potassium intake can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure. Conversely, consuming too little potassium (and too much sodium) can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Foods that are rich in potassium include beans, leafy green vegetables (greens, spinach, etc.), potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, squash, beets, broccoli, and bananas.

Low Potassium, African Americans

It is important to note that salt-substitutes are generally swapping potassium for sodium so using them in moderation can also be a benefit.

Always check with your doctor before changing your potassium intake because people with kidney problems, heart problems, or take certain medications may make things worse if their body has trouble processing the increased potassium. People on dialysis or have poor kidney function, for example, have to be vigilant about not getting too much potassium (as well as protein and sodium), and are frequent prescribed a low potassium diet.

Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans were formulated to replace science-confirmed vitamin and mineral deficiencies seen in our community . . . AND has added POTASSIUM.

Low Potassium, African Americans

Vitamin D Deficiency is Associated with Stroke Risk in African Americans

Recent studies have found a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and stroke risk as well as stroke severity. A study just published found that people with the highest vitamin D levels had fewer strokes and if they had a stroke, it was less severe.  People with low vitamin D levels had more strokes with more severe symptoms. 

As you know, we get most of our vitamin D from the sun, but urban living, colder/cloudy weather, and lactose intolerance (so we can’t drink “Vitamin D Milk”) have all resulted in wide-spread African American vitamin D deficiency.

African Americans Have Low Vitamin D Levels

Four of five African Americans have low levels of vitamin D, and we also have the highest rates of heart attack, stroke, and circulation problems. Risk factors for low vitamin D levels include older age, darker complexion, obesity, and limited sun exposure.

Studies have shown that hemorrhagic stroke patients (those strokes caused by a bleed rather than a blood clot) often suffer from low vitamin D levels. Another study suggested that putting stroke victims on vitamin D helped their recovery somewhat.

Biologically, vitamin D reduces total cholesterol and fat in blood as well as improves inflammation which helps your blood vessels stay healthy.

A Direct Effect Has Not Been Shown

To be clear, there has yet to be a study that showed taking a vitamin D supplement led to fewer strokes. These research studies are only able to find correlations and from these associations, they “suppose” that raising your vitamin D level will lead to better health.  Some researchers believe that poor health leads to low vitamin D levels and that is the reason sicker people have low vitamin D. 

Vitamin D levels have been positively associated with improved cardiovascular health, especially with reduction of stroke risk. Until the controversy is settled, everyone agrees that leaving a low vitamin D alone is not a reasonable option. 

Vitamin D is best increased through natural means . . .  sun exposure, a healthy diet, etc. Foods high in vitamin D include salmon, herring/sardines, cod liver oil, tuna, mushrooms, and fortified beverages (milk, orange juice, and cereal).

Good Vitamin D Levels Help in COVID Patients

Another study looked at COVID patients and vitamin D deficiency and found COVD illness directly related to vitamin D level.  COVID-19 is greatly associated with increased stroke and heart attacks so having a normal vitamin D level was somewhat protective against severe COVID disease.  Obviously the absolute best way to avoid COVID-19 is through getting an approved vaccination.

Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans have a science-based formula to best replace deficiencies in the Black community. Go to SequenceVitamin.com for more information on the multivitamin that is best for you.