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.
According to experts, potassium shows benefit in reducing risk of such conditions as:
- High blood pressure
- Kidney stone size and risk of new kidney stones
- Type 2 diabetes
- Low bone mineral density
Although potassium is a natural compound, it can still cause side effects in some people.
Common side effects of potassium supplements include:
- Stomach upset
- 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.