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Finding the best potassium supplements. An expert opinion.

By Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD

Potassium is a nutrient often linked to heart health, but it’s also involved in kidney function, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission. Sources of potassium include certain produce, like bananas and tomatoes as well as protein-rich foods like beans, nuts, milk, fish, poultry, and meats. A low level of potassium in the body, known as hypokalemia, can lead to symptoms like irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, and high blood glucose levels.  Although most potassium intake will come from your diet, read below to see if your health could improve by adding a potassium supplement.

Best for Thyroid Health

OPTIMOX Iodoral

This potassium supplement may provide support for those with thyroid issues related to iodine deficiency. It only contains 7.5 mg of potassium iodide, but research shows that not much is needed to support thyroid health.

Summary of OPTIMOX Iodoral:
  • 5 mg potent potassium iodide and 5 mg of iodine
  • Only one tablet per dose
  • Supports hormone health
  • Small, easy to swallow tablets
  • Vegetarian and gluten-free friendly

Best for Bone Health

BulkSupplements Potassium Citrate Powder

This pure potassium citrate supplement may help with bone health. Research shows that this form of potassium can help increase bone mineral density. Also, researchers have found that this type of supplement can improve the effects of calcium and vitamin D on bone health in women with bone weakness and in turn, it may help strengthen bones.

This powder supplement can be added to any drink such as flavored water, juice, or a smoothie to provide easy intake of your daily dosage.

Summary of BulkSupplements Potassium Citrate Powder:
  • 99 mg of potassium citrate per 275 mg serving
  • No fillers or additives
  • Factory-sealed foil zip pouch
  • Lab-tested to make sure the product you buy has what is on the label
  • Helps control blood pressure and boosts bone health
  • Free of sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, and gluten
  • Added citric acid can support urinary tract and kidney health

Best for Hydration

Hi-Lite Electrolyte Supplement

This easy-to-use bottle of liquid potassium also includes magnesium, chloride, and sodium from sea minerals as well as zinc. Together, this supplement helps to restore any lost electrolytes from sweat. In doing so, it can prevent muscle cramps and help you recover after a workout.

This formula also claims to provide the highest potassium, magnesium, and zinc potency you can buy on the market. It may also help relieve keto diet flu symptoms, leg cramps, heat stress, and the zinc and magnesium content can provide antioxidant properties.

This liquid supplement does have a natural salty taste. If you prefer, you can add to lemon water, juice, or your smoothie to help with intake.

Summary of Hi-Lite Electrolyte Supplement:
  • No artificial additives
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified
  • Vegan
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Convenient liquid drop bottle
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • No maltodextrin
  • All-natural ionic sea minerals that are small and easy to absorb

What You Need to Know

Most adults need around 2600 to 3400 milligrams of potassium daily for optimal health. Experts suggest that doses of potassium up to 90 milliequivalents (mEq) are generally safe for most people. This amount is equal to around 3510 milligrams (mg) of potassium.  Most dietary supplements contain no more than 99 mg of potassium. 

For those women who are breastfeeding or pregnant, potassium is safe to consume in the form of food or supplements in amounts of potassium 40 to 80 mEq or 1560 to 3120 mg of potassium.

If you are thinking of taking a potassium supplement, you should talk to your doctor first to see if you would benefit from it as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned about people having cardiac arrest from a potassium overdose. Because of this potential risk, potassium supplements are limited to less than 100 milligrams per serving, thus, most of the potassium you need to meet daily values will come from your diet.

Common rich sources (10% or above of daily recommended value) of potassium include:

  • ½ cup of dried fruit like apricots, prunes, and raisins
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 cup mashed acorn squash
  • Baked potato flesh of 1 medium potato
  • 1 cup of canned kidney beans
  • ½ cup cooked soybeans
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 1 cup orange juice

Types of Potassium

There are several forms of potassium in food like potassium phosphate, sulfate, and citrate, among other in fruits and vegetables. However, the most common form of potassium found in dietary supplements is potassium chloride. Other forms of potassium that are used in supplements include potassium aspartate, bicarbonate, iodide, and gluconate.

Benefits

According to experts, potassium shows benefit in reducing risk of such conditions as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Kidney stone size and risk of new kidney stones
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Low bone mineral density

Cons

Although potassium is a natural compound, it can still cause side effects in some people.

Common side effects of potassium supplements include:

  • Stomach upset
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Intestinal gas

Also, those people who are taking blood pressure medicines or diuretics should not take potassium supplements unless advised by their doctor. Therefore, be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any potassium supplement routine.

Just like with any dietary supplement purchase, be sure to read the label carefully. You will want to make sure the product has been third-party tested to ensure that the ingredients and dosages you read on the label are in the product you buy. One way to ensure the potency and purity of the supplement product you buy is a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification.

Why Would You Take Potassium?

The major reason would be that you don’t consume enough potassium in your daily diet. A dietary supplement may prevent you from having weak bones and high blood pressure, which occurs when you have a potassium deficiency. Potassium supplements may also help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, if you don’t consume enough potassium each day, you may want to consider adding a potassium supplement to help keep your body in its best health.

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