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Potassium is an essential mineral that your body needs for many functions 1. Having too much potassium in your body or having too little can both be dangerous to your health 1. If you’re concerned that your potassium levels are too low, consult your doctor about the treatment that’s right for you 12.
You can get potassium in your diet from many fruits and vegetables, as well as milk and beans, according to the University of Michigan Health System 1. Meats and many kinds of fish contain potassium as well 1. Potassium helps control the water in your body and your blood pressure 1. The mineral also acts as an electrolyte and controls electrical impulses in your body, particularly in your heart and muscles, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Your sodium and magnesium blood levels control your potassium levels 1.
Furosemide & Potassium
A low potassium level in your blood is known as hypokalemia, says the University of Maryland Medical Center 12. You can have a potassium deficiency due to excessive sodium intake, malnutrition, vomiting or diarrhea, or Crohn’s disease and other conditions that inhibit your absorption of nutrients 1. You can also develop a potassium deficiency from taking loop diuretics for heart problems 1. Potassium deficiencies are somewhat common among people who consume Western diets, due to the high amount of sodium consumed, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center 1.
If your potassium levels become too low, you might experience symptoms like constipation, fatigue or weakness and heart arrhythmias, the Mayo Clinic says 12. Because these symptoms are easy to confuse with other health conditions, most people don’t realize that they have low potassium levels until their health-care provider performs a blood test 12. Extremely low potassium levels can potentially become fatal 12.
Does Potassium Thicken Your Blood?
Low potassium levels in your blood can cause blood pressure problems, so potassium supplements are sometimes recommended for people with hypertension, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center 12. Dozens of medical studies have found that taking potassium supplements reduced blood pressure in hypertensive patients, according to a 1997 review of clinical trials in the Journal of the American Medical Association 1. Potassium supplementation may also help in treating kidney stones and premenstrual syndrome, as well as cardiovascular problems like congestive heart failure, stroke and cardiac arrhythmia, says the University of Michigan Health System 1. People with malabsorption conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis might also benefit from taking a potassium supplement, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 1. Talk with your doctor before taking potassium to treat or prevent any health condition 1.
If you have a potassium deficiency, you might take 10 to 20 milliequivalents three to four times daily, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center 1. You may also need to take magnesium and vitamin B12 supplements along with potassium 1. Ask your physician about the dosage that’s right for you before taking a potassium supplement, however 1. Your doctor might advise against taking potassium if you’re also taking ACE inhibitors like Monopril or Capoten, the blood-thinner heparin, cyclosporine, beta-blockers like Inderal or Lopressor, and certain antibiotics like Bactrim, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 1. Also, if you have impaired kidney function, taking potassium supplements might not be safe, especially if you’re also taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 1.
Furosemide & Potassium
Does Potassium Thicken Your Blood?
Benicar & Potassium
Water Pills & Muscle Cramps
Potassium & Magnesium Citrate
Foods With Potassium Bicarbonate
Muscle Pain Due to Low Potassium
How Much Potassium Does a Female Need?
What Supplements Are Good for Water Retention?
Influenza Virus Characteristics
- UMMC: Potassium
- Mayo Clinic: Low Potassium
- Potassium. Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health
- Lambert H, Frassetto L, Moore JB, et al. The effect of supplementation with alkaline potassium salts on bone metabolism: a meta-analysis. Osteoporos Int. 2015;26(4):1311-8. doi:+10.1007/s00198-014-3006-9
- Chatterjee R, Slentz C, Davenport CA, et al. Effects of potassium supplements on glucose metabolism in African Americans with prediabetes: a pilot trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017;106(6):1431-1438. doi:10.3945/ajcn.117.161570
- Potassium. Fact Sheet for Consumers. Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health
- Health Claim Notification for Potassium Containing Foods. US Food and Drug Administration
- Aburto NJ, Hanson S, Gutierrez H, Hooper L, Elliott P, Cappuccio FP. Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease: systematic review and meta-analyses. BMJ 2013;346:f1378.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. What Is Potassium?
- ConsumerLab.com. Potassium Supplements Review.
- Curhan GC, Willett WC, Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ. A prospective study of dietary calcium and other nutrients and the risk of symptomatic kidney stones. N Engl J Med 1993;328:833-8.
- Curhan GC, Willett WC, Speizer FE, Spiegelman D, Stampfer MJ. Comparison of dietary calcium with supplemental calcium and other nutrients as factors affecting the risk for kidney stones in women. Ann Intern Med 1997;126:497-504.
- D’Elia L, Barba G, Cappuccio FP, Strazzullo P. Potassium intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease a meta-analysis of prospective studies. J Am Coll Cardiol 2011;57:1210-9.
- O’Neil C, Keast D, Fulgoni V, and Nicklas T. Food sources of energy and nutrients among adults in the US: NHANES 2003-2006. Nutrients. 2012;4:2097-120. DOI: 10.3390/nu4122097.
- Stone M, Martyn L, and Weaver C. Potassium intake, bioavailability, hypertension, and glucose control. Nutrients. 2016;8: E444. DOI: 10.3390/nu8070444.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Health Claim Notification for Potassium Containing Foods.
- Weaver CM. Potassium and health. Adv Nutr 2013;4:368S-77S.
- Yong Sun, et al. Dietary potassium regulates vascular calcification and arterial stiffness. JCI Insight. 2017;2(19):e94920.
Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.