How Much Potassium is Needed for Your Health Per Day?


Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body, and it plays an important role in various body processes. However, very few people consume enough. In fact, almost 98% of all adults in the US They do not meet the recommendations of daily intake. This article proposes the amount of potassium you need per day, as well as the – Why is it important for health?

What is Potassium?

Potassium is an incredibly important mineral and electrolyte. It is found in a variety of whole foods, including leafy vegetables, legumes and fish, such as salmon. About 98% of the potassium in the body is inside the cells. In other words, of the 98% potassium in the body, 80% is found within the muscle cells, while 20% is found in the bones, liver and red blood cells. This mineral plays a vital role in the various processes in the body. It is involved in muscle contractions, in cardiac function and in the management of water balance.

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Despite its importance, very few people worldwide consume enough of this mineral. A diet rich in potassium is associated with a lower risk of high blood pressure, kidney stones and osteoporosis, in addition to other benefits.

 Summary: Potassium is an important mineral and electrolyte. It is involved in muscle contractions, cardiac function and regulation of water balance.

Is it a Common Deficiency?

Unfortunately, most adults do not consume enough potassium. In most countries it is regularly due to the fact that they are mainly governed by a western diet, which generally consists of processed foods, and are very poor sources of this mineral. However, just because people are not getting enough does not mean they are deficient. A potassium deficiency, also known as hypokalemia, is characterized by a blood level of potassium below 3.5 mmol / l (millimol per liter). Surprisingly, deficiencies are rarely caused by lack of potassium in the diet. They usually occur when the body loses too much potassium, such as with chronic diarrhea or vomiting. You can also lose potassium if you are taking diuretics, which are medications that cause your body to lose water.

Deficiency symptoms depend on blood levels. Here are the symptoms of three different deficiency levels:

  • Mild deficiency: When a person has blood levels of 3-3.5 mmol / l. It usually has no symptoms.
  • Moderate deficiency: It happens at 2.5-3 mmol / l. Symptoms includes cramping, muscle pain, weakness and discomfort.
  • Severe deficiency: occurs at less than 2.5 mmol / l. Symptoms include irregular heartbeats and paralysis.

Summary: A potassium deficiency is uncommon. However, most adults do not consume enough of this important mineral.

The Best Dietary Sources of Potassium:

The best way to increase your potassium intake is through the usual diet. Potassium is found in a variety of natural foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Due to insufficient evidence behind the mineral, nutrition experts have not determined a Daily Reference Intake (IDR). An IDR is the daily amount of a nutrient that probably meets the needs of 97-98% of healthy people. Below are some foods that are excellent sources of potassium, as well as the amount they contain in a 3.5-ounce (100 grams) serving:

  • Cooked beet leaves:909 mg
  • Yam, baked:670 mg
  • Baked white potatoes:544 mg
  • Soy, cooked:539 mg
  • Avocado:485 mg
  • Sweet potato, baked:475 mg
  • Spinach, cooked:466 mg
  • Edamame Beans:436 mg
  • Salmon, cooked:414 mg
  • Bananas:358 mg

Summary: A variety of whole foods are excellent sources of potassium, including beet leaves, potatoes, potatoes and spinach.

Health Benefits of Potassium:

A diet rich in potassium is associated with some impressive health benefits. It can prevent or lessen a variety of health problems, such as:

  • High blood pressure:Many studies have shown that potassium-rich diets can lower blood pressure, especially for people with high blood pressure.
  • Salt sensitivity:People with this condition may experience a 10% increase in blood pressure after eating salt. A diet rich in potassium can eliminate salt sensitivity.
  • Stroke:Several studies have shown that a diet rich in potassium can reduce the risk of stroke by 27%.
  • Osteoporosis:Other studies have shown that a diet rich in potassium can help prevent osteoporosis, a condition associated with weak bones.
  • Kidney stones:Studies have found that potassium-rich diets are associated with a significantly lower risk of kidney stones than low-mineral diets.

Summary: A diet rich in potassium can relieve high blood pressure and salt sensitivity and may reduce the risk of stroke. In addition, it can help prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.

How Much Potassium Should be Consumed Per Day?

Daily potassium needs may depend on a variety of factors, including your health status, activity level and ethnicity. Although there is no IDR for potassium, organizations around the world have recommended consuming at least 3,500 mg per day through food (6, 30). These organizations include the World Health Organization (WHO), and countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico and Belgium. Other countries, including the US, Canada, South Korea and Bulgaria, recommend consuming at least 4,700 mg per day through regular feeding.

“Interestingly, it seems that when people consume more than 4,700 mg per day, the additional health benefits are few or none”.

However, there are several groups of people who can benefit more than others by complying with the highest recommendation in terms of potassium consumption. These people include:

Athletes: Those who participate in long and intense exercise can lose a significant amount of potassium through sweat.

African Americans: Studies have found that consuming 4,700 mg of potassium daily can eliminate salt sensitivity, a more common condition among people of African-American ethnicity.

High-risk groups: People at high risk of high blood pressure, kidney stones, osteoporosis or stroke can benefit from consuming at least 4,700 mg of potassium per day.

To recap, the goal is to try to consume 3,500-4,700 mg of potassium per day through natural foods. People who need more potassium should lean toward consuming at least 4,700 mg of potassium.

Summary: A healthy adult should try to consume between 3,500 and 4,700 mg of potassium daily through regular feeding. Certain groups of people should aim to consume at least 4,700 mg per day.

Should I Take Supplements?

Surprisingly, potassium supplements are not usually the main sources of potassium. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits over-the-counter potassium supplements to less than 100 mg per serving, that is, only 2% of the daily recommendation from United States. The amount in over-the-counter supplements is probably restricted due to the risks of overdose. Drinking too much of this mineral can cause excess amounts to accumulate in the blood, which is known as hyperkalemia. In some cases, this can cause an irregular heartbeat, called cardiac arrhythmia, which can be fatal. In addition, studies have found that potassium supplements that provide high doses can damage the lining of the intestine. However, people who are deficient or at risk of deficiency may require a higher dose of potassium supplement. In these cases, doctors can prescribe a higher dose supplement and control it to be alert to any reaction.

Summary: Potassium supplements are not necessary for a healthy adult. However, some people need a doctor to prescribe a higher dose of potassium supplement.

How Much is too Much?

An excess of potassium in the blood is known as hyperkalemia. The condition is characterized by a blood potassium level exceeding 5.0 mmol per liter, and can be dangerous. For a healthy adult, there is no significant evidence that potassium in food can causes hyperkalemia. For this reason, potassium in foods does not have a tolerable higher level of intake. Moreover, a healthy adult can consume more than the margin recommended above in terms of the amount of daily potassium without suffering adverse effects. Hyperkalemia usually affects people with kidney failure, or people taking medications that can affect kidney function. This is because excess potassium is mainly eliminated by the kidneys. Therefore, renal malfunction can result in an accumulation of this mineral in the blood. However, insufficient renal function is not the only cause of hyperkalemia. Taking too many potassium supplements can also cause that risk. Compared to food, potassium supplements are small and easy to take too much. Taking too many at once can overwhelm the kidneys’ ability to eliminate excess potassium. In addition, there are several groups of people who may need less of this mineral than others, including:

  • People with chronic kidney disease: This disease increases the risk of hyperkalemia. People with chronic kidney disease should ask their doctor how much potassium is adequate.
  • Those who take blood pressure medications: Some blood pressure medications, such as ACE inhibitors (Angiotensin-converting Enzyme), may increase the risk of hyperkalemia. People who take these medications may need to keep potassium intake under control.
  • Elderly people: As people get older, their renal function decreases. Older people are also more likely to take medications that affect the risk of hyperkalemia.

Summary: It is difficult for an adult to suffer risk of potassium overdose of food. However, people with kidney problems, as well as the elderly and those taking blood pressure medications, may need to keep potassium intake under control.

In Conclusion:

Potassium is an essential mineral and electrolyte that is involved in cardiac function, muscle contraction and water balance. High consumption can help reduce high blood pressure, salt sensitivity and the risk of stroke. In addition, it can protect against osteoporosis and kidney stones. Despite its importance, very few people worldwide consume enough potassium. A healthy adult should try to consume between 3,500 and 4,700 mg of food daily. To increase your intake, incorporate a few foods high in potassium in your diet, such as spinach, beet vegetables, potatoes and fish, such as salmon.