Supplement Forms/Alternate Names :
- Potassium Chloride
- Potassium Bicarbonate
- Chelated Potassium (Potassium Aspartate, Potassium Citrate)
Principal Proposed Uses
Potassium is a mineral found in many foods and supplements. But you will never see pure potassium in a healthfood store or pharmacy—it is a highly reactive metal that bursts into flames when exposed to water! The potassium you eat, or take as a supplement, is composed of potassium atoms bound to other nonmetallic substances—less exciting, perhaps, but chemically stable.
Potassium is one of the major electrolytes in your body, along with sodium and chloride. Potassium and sodium work together like a molecular seesaw: when the level of one goes up, the other goes down. All together, these three dissolved minerals play an intimate chemical role in every function of your body.
The most common use of potassium supplements is to make up for potassium depletion caused by diuretic drugs. These medications are often used to help regulate blood pressure, but by depleting the body of potassium, they may inadvertently make blood pressure harder to control.
Potassium is an essential mineral that we get from many common foods.
True potassium deficiencies are rare except in cases of prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, or with the use of diuretic drugs.
However, in one sense, potassium deficiency is common, at least when compared to the amount of sodium we receive in our diets. It is probably healthy to take in at least five times as much potassium as sodium (and perhaps 50 to 100 times as much). But the standard American diet contains twice as much sodium as potassium. Therefore, taking extra potassium may be a good idea in order to balance the sodium we consume to such excess.
Bananas, orange juice, potatoes, avocados, lima beans, cantaloupes, peaches, tomatoes, flounder, salmon, and cod all contain more than 300 mg of potassium per serving. Other good sources include chicken, meat, and various other fruits, vegetables, and fish.
Potassium pills can cause injury to the esophagus if they get stuck on the way down, so make sure to take them with plenty of water.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- Loop diuretics or thiazide diuretics : You may need more potassium.
- ACE inhibitors (eg, captopril , lisinopril , enalapril ), potassium-sparing diuretics (eg, triamterene or spironolactone ), or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole : You should not take potassium except on the advice of a physician.
- Potassium: You may need extra magnesium and vitamin B 12 .
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 09/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/18/2014 -