Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium


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Potassium and sodium are interrelated, essential nutrients that play vital roles in the body to maintain physiological homeostasis. Both nutrients have been linked to risk of chronic disease, particularly cardiovascular disease. Additionally, a possible association of sodium intake with other adverse health outcomes has been suggested. The coexistence of essen­tiality with a relationship to adverse health effects, including chronic disease, called for a new approach to establishing intake recommen­dations for potassium and sodium within the context of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs).

The DRIs are a set of reference values developed jointly for the United States and Canada by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The DRI model, which was developed in recognition of the need for a safe and adequate range of intakes, had intended that evidence on chronic disease risk be incorporated in the process. How­ever, relationships between nutrient intakes and chronic disease risk, in particular, are often more complex than the relationships observed for adequacy and toxicity effects. Using evidence on chronic disease risk in the DRI model proved to be challenging.

To overcome methodological limitations, guidance for expanding the DRI model to include a new category of values specific to chronic disease risk reduction was provided in the 2017 National Academies report, Guiding Principles for Developing Dietary Reference Intakes Based on Chronic Disease (the Guiding Principles Report).

In this report, Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium, a National Academies committee reviews the current evidence and updates the DRIs for potassium and sodium that were established in 2005. The committee also applies recommendations from the Guiding Principles Report for establishing a new category of DRIs based on chronic disease, called the Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Intakes (CDRRs).

Watch the report release here: