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Potassium and blood pressure

(October 2015)

FSANZ is considering 32 health claims authorised in the European Union (EU) for possible inclusion as food-health relationships in Standard 1.2.7 – Nutrition, Health and Related Claims.
 
The EU has authorised the following health claim about potassium and blood pressure:
  • Potassium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure

Decision

FSANZ has decided not to include a food-health relationship about increased potassium intake and reduction in blood pressure in Schedule 2 of Standard 1.2.7 – Nutrition, Health and Related Claims.

Outcomes from systematic review

The key findings of FSANZ’s systematic review on the relationship between increased potassium intake and reduced blood pressure are as follows:
  • In hypertensive adults, increased potassium intake reduces blood pressure (with a ‘High’ degree of certainty).
  • In normotensive adults, there is no change in blood pressure with increasing potassium intake (with a ‘Moderate’ degree of certainty).

Decision rationale

The relationship between increased potassium intake and reduced blood pressure is established to a ’High’ degree of certainty only in hypertensive people. The evidence does not support extrapolating the substantiated food-health relationship in hypertensive people to healthy (normotensive) people.
 
Under the framework in Standard 1.2.7, a statement about the relevant (i.e. hypertensive) population would have to be made in conjunction with a claim about the effect of potassium and blood pressure. This may result in the construction of a claim that is therapeutic in nature. Claims that are therapeutic in nature are prohibited (clause 7 of Standard 1.2.7). 

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