Potassium Levels may be Possible Link to why African Americans are at a Higher Risk for Developing Diabetes

A new study performed by Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that lower potassium levels in the blood may help explain why African-Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than Caucasians.

Hsin-Chieh "Jessica" Yeh, Ph.D

"This research doesn't mean people should run out and start taking potassium supplements," says Hsin-Chieh "Jessica" Yeh, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an author of the study, which appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "But we now know lower serum potassium is an independent risk factor for diabetes and that African-Americans have, on average, lower potassium levels than Caucasians.” Type 2 diabetes affects more than 8 percent of Americans, or 23.6 million people, and the burden of the disease falls disproportionately on African-Americans.

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Conclusion

The researchers are not suggesting that African Americans start taking a potassium supplement just yet. A current study is examine if an increase in potassium rich foods will raise the potassium levels and prevent some African Americans from developing diabetes. This research also takes into consideration that there are many factors that can contribute to the onset on type 2 diabetes and more testing is needed.

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