Diets rich in potassium may help protect the heart and kidney health of patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

Shin-ichi Araki, MD, PhD (Shiga University of Medical Science, in Japan) and his colleagues studied a group of 623 patients with type 2 diabetes and normal kidney function. Patients were enrolled between 1996 and 2003 and were followed-up until 2013.

Higher levels of urinary potassium excretion, which closely correlate with intake amounts, were linked with a slower decline of kidney function and a lower incidence of cardiovascular complications. Sodium levels were not associated with kidney or heart health during follow-up.

“For many individuals with diabetes, the most challenging part of a treatment plan is to determine what to eat. The results in our study highlight the importance of a diet high in in diabetes nutrition therapy,” said Dr. Araki.

The article, entitled “Urinary Potassium Excretion and Renal and Cardiovascular Complications in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Normal Renal Function,” appears online at http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/