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Consensus Study Report


As essential nutrients, sodium and potassium contribute to the fundamentals of physiology and pathology of human health and disease. In clinical settings, these are two important blood electrolytes, are frequently measured and influence care decisions. Yet, blood electrolyte concentrations are usually not influenced by dietary intake, as kidney and hormone systems carefully regulate blood values.

Over the years, increasing evidence suggests that sodium and potassium intake patterns of children and adults influence long-term population health mostly through complex relationships among dietary intake, blood pressure and cardiovascular health. The public health importance of understanding these relationships, based upon the best available evidence and establishing recommendations to support the development of population clinical practice guidelines and medical care of patients is clear.

This report reviews evidence on the relationship between sodium and potassium intakes and indicators of adequacy, toxicity, and chronic disease. It updates the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) using an expanded DRI model that includes consideration of chronic disease endpoints, and outlines research gaps to address the uncertainties identified in the process of deriving the reference values and evaluating public health implications.


Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

594 pages |  6 x 9 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-48834-1
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-48837-2
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xvi
Summary 1-16
Part I 17-18
1 Introduction 19-36
2 Applying the "Guiding Principles Report" 37-60
3 Methodological Considerations 61-98
Part II 99-100
4 Potassium: Dietary Reference Intakes for Adequacy 101-124
5 Potassium: Dietary Reference Intakes for Toxicity 125-140
6 Potassium: Dietary Reference Intakes Based on Chronic Disease 141-182
7 Potassium Dietary Reference Intakes: Risk Characterization and Special Considerations for Public Health 183-204
Part III 205-206
8 Sodium: Dietary Reference Intakes for Adequacy 207-244
9 Sodium: Dietary Reference Intakes for Toxicity 245-262
10 Sodium: Dietary Reference Intakes Based on Chronic Disease 263-368
11 Sodium Dietary Reference Intakes: Risk Characterization and Special Considerations for Public Health 369-398
Part IV 399-400
12 Knowledge Gaps and Future Directions 401-420
Appendix A: Acronyms and Abbreviations 421-424
Appendix B: Open Session Agendas 425-430
Appendix C: Committee's Assessment of the "Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Systematic Review" 431-446
Appendix D: Indicators Not Relevant for Establishing Dietary Reference Intake Values 447-484
Appendix E: Supplemental Literature Searches 485-522
Appendix F: Estimates of Potassium and Sodium Intakes from Breast Milk and Complementary Foods 523-540
Appendix G: Sources of Evidence for Potassium and Sodium Intake Distributions 541-548
Appendix H: Supplemental Risk Characterization Figures 549-556
Appendix I: Committee Member Biographical Sketches 557-564
Appendix J: Dietary Reference Intakes Summary Tables 565-578

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