Potassium

Potassium (K) is an essential dietary mineral and electrolyte.

Potassium is necessary for the function of all living cells, and is thus present in all plant and animal tissues. It is found in especially high concentrations in plant cells, and is most highly concentrated in fruits.

Normal body function depends on tight regulation of potassium concentrations both inside and outside of cells (1).

 

Authored by Dr Peter Engel in 2010, reviewed and revised by Dr. Volker Elste on 15.09.2017

Health Functions

Potassium plays a role in muscular and neurological health, and the maintenance of normal blood pressure.

Disease Risk Reduction

A considerable beneficial link between potassium consumption and bone mineral density (BMD) in premeno-pausal, menopausal, and postmenopausal women, as well as in elderly males has been noted in four cross-sectional studies (9, 10, 11).

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Things to know about Potassium

  • Other Applications

    A number of studies indicate that groups with relatively high dietary potassium intakes have lower blood pressures than comparable groups with relatively low potassium intakes (21).

  • Intake Recommendations

    The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of potassium is dependent on age, gender, and other factors.

  • Supply Situation

    The average dietary intake of potassium according to European food consumption studies is in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 mg/day (26).

  • Deficiency

    Potassium deficiency symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness and cramps, bloating, constipation, and abdominal pain. Severe cases can be fatal.

  • Sources

    Foods high in potassium (K) include bananas, dried plums, prunes, raisins, and oranges, baked potato with skin, cooked spinach and artichoke.

  • Safety

    Abnormally elevated blood serum potassium concentrations (‘hyperkalemia’) occur when potassium intake exceeds the capacity of the kidneys to eliminate it.

  • References

    Consult the full list of scientific references.