Aid Overall Health

Potassium is an essential nutrient for good health. Involved in a variety of human body processes, potassium helps manage the amount of water within cells and aids in the release of energy from food. Potassium is plentiful in fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products. Some people need to supplement potassium due to a medical condition or an intense exercise regimen. Those living in a humid climate or at high altitudes may benefit from an increased potassium intake.

The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends a minimum daily consumption of 4.7 grams of potassium per day. Most Americans consume too much salt in processed foods. Potassium helps to ameliorate the effects of salt, lowers blood pressure and reduces risks of osteoporosis and kidney stones. According to the Food and Nutrition Board, most Americans consume less than an average of 3 grams of potassium a day.

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Potassium Recommended Dietary Allowance The USDA reflects the Institute of Medicine’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 4.7 grams of potassium for healthy adults. Lactating women should consume at least 5.1 grams of potassium each day. The USDA recommends consumption of potassium-rich... more

Potassium Recommended Dietary Allowance

The USDA reflects the Institute of Medicine’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 4.7 grams of potassium for healthy adults. Lactating women should consume at least 5.1 grams of potassium each day. The USDA recommends consumption of potassium-rich foods of up to 10 grams per day. Supplementation can help individuals meet the RDA requirements under a doctor’s supervision.

Potassium Benefits

Potassium is an electrolyte and required by the body’s processes. Along with chloride, sodium, magnesium, and calcium, potassium helps to maintain the body’s electrical activities in the nervous system and organs. According to the National Institutes of Health:

  • Potassium helps to prevent high blood pressure or manage an existing hypertension condition.
  • Diabetics benefit from consuming enough potassium. The body’s ability to metabolize carbohydratesrequires it.
  • Potassium is a crucial component of protein synthesis. Muscle growth and repair require potassium.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements in “The Role of Dietary Supplements for Physically Active People,” supplementation of macronutrients supports moderate to heavy neuromuscular recruitment required by rigorous weight training. Repeated weight training activity may create hypertrophy of muscle fibers related to protein synthesis. Potassium, as a key macronutrient, is part of this process.

Aging increases the likelihood of blood pressure sensitivity to salt-laden processed foods. Adding more potassium to the diet helps to balance the body.

Potassium Deficiency Symptoms

Hypokalemia, or a low blood serum level of potassium, may cause fatigue, bloating, intestinal distress, muscle weakness or cramps and heart arrhythmias. Even a low or moderate deficiency may promote increased blood pressure and bone calcium loss.

Mineral and electrolyte loss may be greater in athletes, according to authors Marie Dunford and J. Andrew Doyle in “Nutrition for Sport and Exercise.”

Regular use of hormones, such as birth control pills, may also contribute to a potassium deficiency. Over-consumption of alcohol and laxatives may deplete essential potassium stores. Bulimia contributes to potassium loss. Depletion of other electrolytes and nutrients, such as magnesium, contributes to potassium loss.

Eating real licorice (containing glycyrrhizic acid) or using licorice as a supplement may lower potassium levels. Similarly, the hormone aldosterone causes urinary excretion of potassium from the body.

Potassium and Bone Health

Potassium helps to combat acidity in the body. Alkaline-producing foods, such as unprocessed fruits and vegetables, are under-consumed by most Americans. When the body doesn’t have enough potassium to buffer blood acids, calcium released from the bones creates a short-term solution. However, loss of bone calcium over time contributes to osteoporosis and other health risks.

Potassium bicarbonate supplements notably increase the excretion of urinary acids while decreasing circulating calcium loss, according to author Steve Blake.

Potassium Excess

Hyperkalemia - too much potassium in the body - may result from disease conditions or over supplementation. Kidney disease may deplete the body’s potassium stores or create an excess amount. Some drugs used to manage kidney disease may cause hyperkalemia. A rare condition, hyperkalemia may be caused by tissue injury, bleeding, trauma and gastrointestinal problems. Healthy kidneys normally remove excess potassium from the body as excreted waste.

Potassium Supplements

Maximum supplemental potassium potency per tablet has been established at 99 mg. in the U.S. Supplemental potassium is available as aspartate, bicarbonate, chloride, citrate, gluconate and orotate. Chelated potassium, such as citrates, binds potassium to a larger organic molecule. When the body processes the molecule, potassium is released. To avoid stomach upset, take microencapsulated potassium with a little water and food.

Potassium Side Effects

Adding potassium supplements in normal doses to your daily regimen is usually safe. Taken on an empty stomach, potassium supplements may cause stomach pains. Ask your doctor about potential drug interactions with potassium supplements. If you’re taking diabetes, heart or cholesterol medicines, hormones or steroids, supplemental potassium may be contraindicated. Find and compare potassium and other supplement by using the free supplement finder now!


  • Side Effects
  • Other Names
  • Uses
Upset Stomach
Atomic number 19, K, Potasio, Potassium Acetate, Potassium Bicarbonate, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Potassium Gluconate, Potassium Glycerophosphate, Potassium Orotate, Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Sulfate
Lower Blood Pressure
Muscle Growth
Muscle Repair
Prevents Kidney Stones