Despite medical, dietary, and lifestyle recommendations and drug advancements, hypertension persists as among the most prevalent noncommunicable diseases in the US population, and control remains elusive. Uncontrolled hypertension may increase the risk of serious illness from various other health challenges, including cardiovascular and renal responses. Adoption of a healthy diet is a consistent core element of lifestyle modifications that are recommended for mitigation of hypertension. The dietary sodium-to-potassium ratio is recognized as having promising potential in the regulation of blood pressure. In fact, the understanding of the relation between this ratio and blood pressure was documented as a key evidence gap in the 2019 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report that revised recommended intake levels for both sodium and potassium. Although notable animal and human evidence supports this point, fundamental to developing a specific dietary recommendation for a sodium-to-potassium ratio is a well-designed human intervention trial. The successful translatability of such a trial will require careful consideration of study elements, including the study population, duration, blood pressure measurement, and dietary intervention, among other factors. This paper addresses these decision points and serves as supporting documentation for a research group or organization with the interest and means to address this important data gap, which will undoubtedly be foundational for advancing dietary guidance and would inform the next iteration of Dietary Reference Intakes for sodium and potassium.
This work was supported by the IAFNS Sodium Committee.