Why would anyone need to take potassium supplements? Potassium is an essential dietary mineral that your body requires to maintain good health. While eating a nutritional, balanced diet provides enough potassium for most healthy people, some people may need potassium supplements if they do not eat enough potassium in their diet, or if they have lost too much potassium due to illness or certain medications.
Why We Need Potassium
Potassium helps you with:
- muscle development
- nerve functions
- energy production
- blood pressure regulation
Potassium also works with sodium to maintain your body’s water balance, and potassium helps in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in your cells. Potassium also helps you balance the sodium in your cells, which helps with weight loss and provides other health benefits.
A potassium deficiency can result in hypokalemia, which can cause:
- muscle weakness
- leg cramps
- nervous disorders
- muscle damage
- irregular heartbeat
- mood changes
- weight gain
A lack of potassium may also increase acid levels in the body, which would lower the natural pH, and could potentially have far reaching effects.
Potassium in Supplements
The ideal way to make sure you are getting enough potassium is by eating a variety of potassium-rich foods including wheat, bananas, fish, poultry, and lean meat. If you don’t eat enough foods that are high in potassium, you should ask your health care provider about taking a potassium supplement.
Because too much potassium in your blood could potentially cause health problems such as hyperkalemia, which can result in stomach irritation or potentially a heart attack, you should only take potassium supplements if they are recommended for you by your health care provider. Although some forms of potassium supplements are available without a prescription, you should only take them if your health care practitioner has recommended them specifically for you. The recommended intake of potassium for healthy adults is 1600 to 3500 mg per day.
Injectable potassium is available with a prescription, and can only be administered under the supervision of your doctor.
If you take potassium supplements, be sure to monitor your potassium levels regularly, and follow any diet program your health care provider recommends for you while you are taking the supplements. This will ensure you are getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals for your body.