We have to get about 3,400 mg of potassium a day. Even much higher doses are considered pretty safe. Only people with certain health issues shouldn’t consume more than the maximum safe dose.
Health benefits of potassium
Potassium is an essential nutrient. We have to get it from our diet. In fact, it’s naturally present in many foods.
Potassium is necessary for our health. Actually, it’s present in all body tissues. The total amount of potassium in the body is about 140g for a 175 pound adult.
Also, a high-potassium diet may prevent or at least slow the progression of renal disease!
Moreover, potassium manages calcium metabolism. Hence, it may decrease the risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones.
Additionally, high potassium intake may prevent the development of diabetes and obesity, as it plays a key role in glucose sensitivity.
Furthermore, potassium is crucial for the maintenance of normal fluid levels in the body. It regulates intracellular fluid volume.
Last, potassium deficiency may lead to muscle cramps. It’s important for muscle contraction and for the transmission of nerve impulses. Strenuous exercise may significantly deplete potassium levels. Hence, athletes should replenish it as soon as possible. Following a high-potassium diet is vital for muscle recovery and sport performance.
What’s the recommended daily intake?
The recommended daily dose of magnesium is 2,600 mg for women and 3,400 mg for men.
Pregnant women require about 2,900 mg of magnesium a day, while lactating women require 2,800 mg.
Teenagers and children require slightly lower potassium, depending on the age and sex.
What’s the maximum dose of potassium I can safely take a day?
Actually, there isn’t a maximum safe dose of potassium. Healthy people are unlikely to have any adverse effects. Excess potassium is easily excreted in the urine.
But, people with certain diseases, such as chronic kidney disease, or people under certain medication, should be pretty careful about the consumed amount of potassium. They should follow a low-potassium diet. People with type 1 diabetes, congestive heart failure, adrenal insufficiency, or liver disease should closely check their potassium intake as well. Even moderate doses of potassium from food may cause adverse effects!
Side effects of exceeding the daily upper dose of potassium
In fact, high potassium intake may cause adverse effects on people with health issues, or people who under certain medication. In this case, even low doses may cause serious adverse effects such as muscle weakness and cardiac arrhythmias.
Hence, patients should consult their physician about the ideal potassium dose. Either from food or dietary supplements.
Do dietary supplements contain a safe dose of potassium?
Most dietary supplements contain a small potassium dose of 99 mg because the Food and Drug Administration requires that supplements containing more than 99 mg of potassium to be labeled with a warning.
These doses are considered pretty safe for healthy people, though. There are highly unlikely to cause any adverse effect.
You’ll find a wide variety of potassium supplements on Amazon.
Normal serum concentrations of potassium
Serum concentrations of potassium between 3.6 and 5.0 mmol/L are considered normal.
Serum levels below 3.6 mmol/L are known as hypokalemia. In contrast, serum levels above 5.0 mmol/L are known as hyperkalemia.
Healthy people don’t exceed these normal serum concentrations.
Do I need dietary supplements?
As a rule of thumb, healthy people who follow a well-balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, get enough potassium.
Potassium is excreted in the urine and stool. Also, it’s lost in sweat. Hence, athletes and people who sweat a lot may need more potassium than the recommended daily intake.
Athletes may benefit from potassium supplements as well. Intense exercise increases potassium losses. According to a study, elite athletes improved sport performance after taking 1000 mg potassium citrate twice a day for a short period of time.[5,6]
Can I get too much potassium from food?
Healthy people can eat high doses of potassium from food. It won’t cause toxicity.
Fruits and vegetables are the best dietary sources.
Until recently, humans consumed a diet high in potassium. Unfortunately, the standard Western diet is poor in vegetables and fruits. Hence, many people fail to consume the required amount of potassium nowadays.
It’s estimated that in modern societies, we consume only one third of our ancestors’ potassium intake.
Seeds, nuts, beans, and vegetables are the richest dietary sources of potassium. Spinach, lentils, potatoes, watermelon, and bananas are only a few common foods rich in potassium. See the whole list here.