The effect of orally administered nitrate on renal function and blood pressure in a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study in healthy subjects

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Background: Several studies have shown inorganic nitrate/nitrite to reduce blood pressure in both healthy subjects and hypertensive patients. An effect presumably caused through bioconversion to nitric oxide. However, studies on inorganic nitrate/nitrite have shown inconsistent results on renal functions such as GFR and sodium excretion. The current study investigated whether orally administered nitrate would decrease blood pressure and increase GFR and urinary sodium excretion. Methods: In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, crossover study, 18 healthy subjects received a daily dose of 24 mmol potassium nitrate and placebo (potassium chloride) during 4 days in a randomized order. Subjects also ingested a standardized diet and completed a 24-h urine collection. GFR was determined by the constant infusion technique and during GFR measurement, brachial blood pressure (BP) and central blood pressure (cBP), heart rate, and arterial stiffness were measured every half hour using the Mobil-O-Graph®. Blood samples was analyzed for nitrate, nitrite, cGMP, vasoactive hormones and electrolytes. Urine was analyzed for nitrate, nitrite, cGMP, electrolytes, ENaCγ, NCC, CrCl, CH2O and UO. Results: No differences in GFR, blood pressure or sodium excretion were found between the treatments with potassium nitrate and placebo. However, both nitrate and nitrite levels in plasma and urine were significantly increased by potassium nitrate intake and the 24-h urinary excretion of sodium and potassium were stable, showing adherence to the standardized diet and the study medication. Conclusion: We found no decrease in blood pressure or increase in GFR and sodium excretion of 24 mmol potassium nitrate capsules as compared to placebo after 4 days of treatment. Healthy subjects may be able to compensate the effects of nitrate supplementation during steady state conditions. Future research should focus on long-term studies on the difference in response between healthy subjects and patients with cardiac or renal disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNitric Oxide - Biology and Chemistry
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Blood pressure
  • Glomerular filtration rate
  • Nitrate
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nitrite
  • Sodium excretion


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