Calcification happens when calcium builds up in the body tissue, blood vessels or organs. This build-up can harden and disrupt your body’s normal processes. A potassium rich diet may also reduce the risk of aortic stiffness which is a classic cardiovascular risk factor.
“The findings have important translational potential, since they demonstrate the benefit of adequate potassium supplementation on prevention of vascular calcification in atherosclerosis-prone mice, and the adverse effect of low potassium intake,” said Paul Sanders, professor at the University of Alabama. The hardening or stiffening of the arteries is known as arteriosclerosis. The stiffness of arteries influences how hard the heart has to work to pump blood through the body.
The team of researchers analyzed mice that were at a risk of heart disease when fed a high-diet. These mice were given diets that were either low, normal or had high levels of potassium. The results suggested that arteries of mice fed a low-potassium diet were significantly harder, as compared to those who fed on a high potassium diet and had substantially less artery hardening.
The mice that were fed potassium rich foods also had reduced stiffness in their aorta- body’s main artery. This may have been due to low potassium levels in the blood preventing the expression of genes that maintain the artery flexibility.
With Inputs from IANS