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Does Potassium Aid in Weight Loss?

By Adam Cloe Ph.D./M.D. ; Updated July 18, 2017

Electrolytes such as potassium have many important roles in the human body. Not getting enough potassium can cause you to feel tired and worn down, making it harder for you to stay active enough to lose weight effectively. Although supplemental potassium on its own won't aid weight loss directly, it can help you avoid potassium deficiencies. Always talk to your doctor before taking any sort of supplement.

Function

Potassium is an electrolyte, so it has an electrical charge when it is dissolved in water-based substances such as blood and the fluid inside of cells. Electrolytes are important for conducting electricity, and your cells can generate and maintain an electrical charge by controlling the amount of potassium inside and outside of cells. Potassium is particularly important for the health of nerve and muscle cells.

Importance For Weight Loss

The main way that potassium can help you lose weight is by keeping your muscles from getting fatigued and tired. When you don't get enough potassium from your diet, you can develop a condition known as hypokalemia, which causes your muscles to become weak and cramp more easily. This can make it hard for you to stay physically active, causing you to burn fewer calories. Getting enough exercise is a critical part of losing weight, so be sure you get enough potassium in your diet.

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Sources

If you are concerned that you aren't getting enough potassium and that it's hindering your ability to lose weight, stock up on high potassium foods. A medium baked potato with its skin on has 926 mg of potassium. Bananas, prune juice, plums, orange juice and tomato juice also provide high levels of potassium. Potassium also can be found in significant levels in raisins, artichokes, squash, cooked spinach, lima beans, almonds and molasses.

Considerations

Although potassium can help your muscles stay healthy, allowing you to burn more calories, potassium will not result in weight loss on its own. In fact, consuming large amounts of potassium supplements can be dangerous and result in a condition known as hyperkalemia, which can disrupt your heart's rhythm and affect the function of your muscles. Talk to a doctor before taking any sort of supplement to try to help you lose weight.

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