Potassium is found in several different forms, including Potassium Chloride--the most common form. It has many functions in the body such as playing a role in protein synthesis and for the conversion of blood sugar in to glycogen (sugar). It triggers a number of enzymes, namely those concerned with energy production. Potassium also stimulates normal movements of the intestinal tract. The average human body contains about 140 g of potassium.
How This Mineral Works in Your Body:
Promotes regular heartbeat
Promotes normal muscle contraction
Regulates transfer of nutrients to cells
Maintains water balance in body tissues and cells
Preserves or restores normal function of nerve cells, heart cells, skeletal-muscle cells, kidneys, stomach-juice secretion
Treats potassium deficiency from illness or taking diuretics (water pills), cortisone drugs or digitalis preparations
Potassium is the predominant positive electrolyte in body cells. An enzyme (adenosine triphosphatase) controls the flow of potassium and sodium into and out of cells to maintain normal function of the heart, brain, skeletal muscles and kidney, and to maintain acid-base balance.
May treat alcoholism
May treat acne
Possible allergy remedy
Possible heart disease cure
May help heal burns
May prevent high blood pressure
May be beneficial in preventing kidney stone formation
May combat fatigue and mood swings in early menopause
People who use diuretics, cortisone drugs or digitalis preparations
Anyone without an adequate caloric or nutritional dietary intake or with increased nutritional requirements
People over 55 years old
Pregnant or breastfeeding women
Women taking oral contraceptives
People who abuse alcohol, tobacco or other substances
People with a chronic wasting illness
Those under excess stress for long periods
Anyone who has recently undergone surgery
Athletes and workers who participate in vigorous physical activities, especially when endurance is an important aspect of the activity
Those with part of the gastrointestinal tract surgically removed
People with malabsorption disorders
Those with recent severe burns or injuries
Where This Mineral is Found:
Juices (grapefruit, tomato, orange)
Spinach, fresh and boiled
Green peas, boiled
How to Use:
Dilute in at least 5 glass of water or another liquid. Take with meals or 1 to 1-1/2 hours after meals unless otherwise advised by your physician.
Recommended Daily Intakes:
Suggested Intake: 2000-5000 mg
Men: 2000 mg
Women: 2000 mg
Do not take if you:
Take potassium-sparing diuretics, such as spironolactone, triamterene. or amiloride
Have allergies to any potassium supplement
Have kidney disease or are taking drugs which cause the kidney to retain potassium
Have heat cramps, ulcers
Consult your doctor if you have:
A stomach ulcer
Take heart medicine
Take laxatives or if you have chronic diarrhea
Use salt substitutes or low-salt milk
Carefully watch your dosage schedule; it is critical to maintain balance of potassium levels in the body. Deviation above or below normal levels can have serious implications.
There is a greater risk of hyperglycemia.
There are no problems expected, however consult your physician before use.
Studies on risks to infants is inconclusive. Consult your physician about taking supplements
Keep in a cool and dry location and away from direct light, but do not freeze.
Keep safely away from children
Do not keep in bathroom medicine cabinet. Heat and dampness may alter the action of the mineral.
Take with food.
Symptoms of Deficiency:
Low blood pressure
Irregular or rapid heartbeat that can lead to cardiac arrest and death
Signs and symptoms : What to do
Irregular or fast heartbeat, paralysis of arms and legs, blood-pressure drop, convulsions, coma, cardiac arrest : Discontinue use of mineral. Call your physician immediately.
Dial 911 (emergency), 0 for operator or call your closest Poison Control Center for immediate attention. In the event the person's heart stops beating, render CPR until trained help arrives
Lab tests for deficiency detection:
Effect on lab tests:
ECG and kidney function studies can be affected by too much or too little potassium.
No effect is expected on blood studies, except serum-potassium levels.
Signs and symptoms : What to do
Black, tarry stool : Seek emergency treatment.
Bloody stool : Seek emergency treatment.
Breathing difficulty : Seek emergency treatment
Confusion : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician immediately.
Diarrhea : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician immediately.
Extreme fatigue : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient.
Heaviness in legs : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient
Irregular heartbeat : Seek emergency treatment.
Nausea : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient.
Numbness in hands or feet : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient.
Stomach discomfort : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient
Tingling in hands or feet : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient.
Vomiting : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician immediately.
Weakness : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician immediately.
Interacts with : Combined effect
Amiloride : Causes dangerous rise in blood potassium.
Atropine : Increases possibility of intestinal ulcers, which may occur with oral potassium.
Belladonna : Increases possibility of intestinal ulcers, which may occur with oral potassium.
Calcium : Increases possibility of heartbeat irregularities.
Captopril : Increases chance of excessive amounts of potassium.
Cortisone : Impedes on effect of potassium.
Digitalis preparations : Can possibly cause irregular heartbeat.
Enalapril : Increases chance of excessive amounts of potassium.
Laxatives : Can possibly decrease potassium effect.
Spironolactone : Elevates blood potassium.
Triamterene : Elevates blood potassium.
Vitamin B-12 : Extended-release tablets may decrease vitamin B-12 absorption and increase vitamin B-12
Diuretic drugs (thiazide variety) : Increase the output of sodium and water from kidneys, while increasing
Antibiotics : Can deplete potassium if taken on a long-term basis
Tobacco : Decreases absorption.
Alcohol : Strengthens gastrointestinal symptoms
Cocaine : Can cause an irregular heartbeat.
Marijuana : Can cause an irregular heartbeat.
Salty drinks, such as tomato juice and commercial thirst quenchers : Causes increased fluid retention
Coffee : Decreases the uptake of potassium and strengthens gastrointestinal symptoms.
Low-salt milk : Increases fluid retention.
Salty foods : Increases fluid retention.
Sugar : Decreases the body's uptake of potassium