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Potassium Gluconate for Weight Loss

By Erin Beck ; Updated July 18, 2017

No evidence suggests that potassium gluconate helps you lose weight, but it's important for dieters to get enough potassium. Potassium gluconate is a type of potassium salt that people use as a supplement. It's typically used to treat hypokalemia, or low potassium.

Function

Potassium is an electrolyte, a substance that conducts electricity in the body. You need potassium for the beating of your heart. It assists in acid-base balance, protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. It's also important for heart function and skeletal and smooth muscle contraction. Potassium deficiency can lead to salt sensitivity and high blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Identification

Potassium gluconate is a chelated mineral. Chelated minerals are bound to amino acids or other organic components to prevent interaction that would render the supplement useless. Some companies that sell chelated minerals advertise that they are absorbed better, but a healthy body can complete the chelation process on its own. According to Gabe Mirkin, M.D., chelated vitamins offer no advantage.

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Effects

If you're trying to lose weight by exercising, you need to get enough potassium. Potassium helps build muscle, according to the National Institutes of Health, while too little potassium can lead to painful muscle cramps, muscle weakness and fatigue. Potassium is also important for dieters because it helps you get energy from food. It is necessary for carbohydrate metabolism.

Side Effects

Discontinue taking potassium gluconate and check with your health care provider if you experience side effects. These may include confusion, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, unexplained anxiety, unusual tiredness or weakness and heaviness of legs, according to MayoClinic.com. Less common side effects include abdominal pain, cramping or soreness and chest or throat pain, especially when swallowing, or stools with signs of blood.

Warning

Take supplements only under the supervision of a health care provider to prevent problems, such as interactions with medications or other supplements. Do not take this supplement if you have "kidney failure, a urinary tract infection, uncontrolled diabetes, a peptic ulcer in your stomach, Addison's disease, severe burns or other tissue injury," warns Drugs.com. You should also avoid potassium gluconate if you are dehydrated, take certain diuretics or have high levels of potassium in your blood. Don't lie down for at least 30 minutes after you take this supplement.

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