Potassium is one of the essential minerals needed by all tissues in the body. According to the University of California San Francisco, normal urine potassium values for adults are generally 20 mEq/L in a random urine sample and 25 to 125 mEq per day in a 24-hour collection. Your potassium level (and whether its higher or lower) could be based on diet or the amount of potassium in your body.
Urinary potassium is important because it's associated with blood pressure (BP) and cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanisms that link these traits together are not exactly clear. To understand the genetic and physiological pathways underlying these potassium and their link to BP and cardiovascular events, researchers did a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on urinary sodium and potassium excretion among 446,237 European individuals in UK Biobank (UKB).
This study measured sodium and potassium concentrations in stored urine samples by the ion-selective electrode method. They identified 50 sodium and 13 potassium novel loci with statistical significance. Most of these loci had already been established to be important for lipid levels, anthropometric and lifestyle traits such as dietary intake, smoking-related behavior, and alcohol consumption at significance level. Those genetic variants related to urinary potassium included rs2472297, rs4410790 in the LOC101927609 gene, rs10854166 in the FKBP8 rs6467447 CHCHD3 gene. In pathway analyses, sodium and potassium excretion loci are over-represented in biological functions involving behavioral response to stimuli, thermoregulation, and weight loss. In addition, a subset of loci involved in the behavioral response to stimuli supports a link to BP and coronary artery disease based on Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis.
Scientists know that sodium and potassium are vital for cellular function and are typically exchanged between intra- and extra-cellular space using ATP-dependent sodium/potassium pumps, which actively transport sodium in and potassium out of the cell. This analysis indicated that urinary trait loci are correlated with lipids and anthropometric traits. If you would like to know more about this research, you can read the study here:
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