POTASSIUM Overview Information
Potassium is a mineral that plays many important roles in the body. Food sources of potassium include fruits (especially dried fruits), cereals, beans, milk, and vegetables.
Potassium is most commonly used for treating and preventing low potassium levels, treating high blood pressure, and preventing stroke.
How does it work?
Potassium plays a role in many body functions including transmission of nerve signals, muscle contractions, fluid balance, and various chemical reactions.
- Low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia). Taking potassium by mouth or intravenously (by IV) prevents and treats low levels of potassium in the blood.
Possibly Effective for:
- High blood pressure. Most research shows that taking potassium can decrease blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Potassium seems work best for people with low potassium levels, high sodium intake, and for African Americans.
- Stroke. Higher intake of potassium from food has been linked with up to a 20% reduced risk of stroke. Taking potassium supplements has also been linked to a reduced risk of stroke. But higher quality research is needed to confirm this association.
- Dental pain. Some research shows that using a toothpaste that contains potassium nitrite reduces tooth sensitivity. However, these toothpastes might still be less effective than other standard toothpastes.
- Alzheimer's disease.
- Blurred vision.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Fatigue and mood swings in early menopause.
- Heart attack.
- Infant colic.
- Insulin resistance.
- Menière's disease.
- Menopausal symptoms.
- Muscle weakness.
- Muscular dystrophy.
- Myasthenia gravis.
- Skin problems.
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
- Other conditions.
POTASSIUM Side Effects & Safety
Potassium is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in amounts of up to 100 mEq of total potassium, or when given intravenously (by IV) by medical professionals. In some people, potassium can cause stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or intestinal gas.
Too much potassium is UNSAFE and can cause feelings of burning or tingling, generalized weakness, paralysis, mental confusion, low blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm, or death.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Potassium is LIKELY SAFE when obtained from the diet in amounts of 40-80 mEq per day. Taking too much potassium is UNSAFE during pregnancy and breast feeding.
Allergy to aspirin or tartrazine products: Avoid potassium supplements that contain tartrazine.
Disorders of the digestive tract that might alter the speed food and supplements pass through the body (GI motility conditions): If you have one of these disorders, do not take potassium supplements. Potassium could build up to dangerous levels in your body.
Kidney disease: Use potassium only with the advice and ongoing care of a healthcare professional if you have kidney problems.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications for high blood pressure (ACE inhibitors) interacts with POTASSIUM
Some medications for high blood pressure can increase potassium levels in the blood. Taking potassium along with some medications for high blood pressure might cause too much potassium in the blood.
Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), ramipril (Altace), and others.
- Medications for high blood pressure (Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)) interacts with POTASSIUM
Some medications for high blood pressure can increase potassium levels in the blood. Taking potassium along with some medications for high blood pressure might cause too much potassium to be in the blood.
Some medications for high blood pressure include losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), irbesartan (Avapro), candesartan (Atacand), telmisartan (Micardis), eprosartan (Teveten), and others.
- Water pills (Potassium-sparing diuretics) interacts with POTASSIUM
Some "water pills" can increase potassium levels in the body. Taking some "water pills" along with potassium might cause too much potassium to be in the body.
Some "water pills" that increase potassium in the body include amiloride (Midamor), spironolactone (Aldactone), and triamterene (Dyrenium).
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- General: The adequate intake (AI) of potassium is 4.7 grams per day for most adults, 4.7 grams per day for pregnant females, and 5.1 grams per day for lactating women.
- For low levels of potassium (hypokalemia): For preventing low levels of potassium, 20 mEq of potassium is typically taken daily. For treating low levels of potassium, 40-100 mEq is typically taken in 2-5 divided doses daily.
- For high blood pressure (hypertension): The typical dose of potassium is 48-90 mEq daily.
- For stroke: For preventing stroke, dietary intake of about 75 mEq (about 3.5 grams of elemental potassium) has been taken daily.
- For low levels of potassium (hypokalemia): The dose and rate of administration for intravenous potassium chloride for the prevention or treatment of hypokalemia varies and depends on the condition of each patient. Patients should be monitored and under the care of medical professionals at the time of administration.
- General: The adequate intake (AI) is 0.4 grams per day for infants up to 6 months old, 0.7 grams per day for infants 6-12 months old, 3 grams per day for children 1-3 years old, 3.8 grams per day for children 4-8 years old, and 4.5 grams per day for children 9-13 years old.