Diet - potassium; Hyperkalemia - potassium in the diet; Hypokalemia - potassium in the diet; Chronic kidney disease - potassium in diet; Kidney failure - potassium in diet
Potassium is a mineral that your body needs to work properly. It is a type of electrolyte.
Potassium is a very important mineral for the human body.
Your body needs potassium to:
Many foods contain potassium. All meats (red meat and chicken) and fish, such as salmon, cod, flounder, and sardines, are good sources of potassium. Soy products and veggie burgers are also good sources of potassium.
Vegetables, including broccoli, peas, lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes (particularly their skins), sweet potatoes, and winter squash are all good sources of potassium.
Fruits that contain significant amounts of potassium include citrus fruits, cantaloupe, bananas, kiwi, prunes, and apricots. Dried apricots contain more potassium than fresh apricots.
Milk, yogurt, and nuts are also excellent sources of potassium.
People with kidney problems, particularly those on dialysis, should not eat too many potassium-rich foods. Your health care provider will recommend a special diet.
Having too much or too little potassium in your body can cause serious health problems.
A low blood level of potassium is called hypokalemia. It can cause weak muscles, abnormal heart rhythms, and a slight rise in blood pressure. You may have hypokalemia if you:
Too much potassium in the blood is known as hyperkalemia. It may cause abnormal and dangerous heart rhythms. Some common causes include:
The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends these dietary intakes for potassium, based on age:
CHILDREN and ADOLESCENTS
Women who are pregnant or producing breast milk need slightly higher amounts (2600 to 2900 mg/day and 2500 to 2800 mg/day respectively). Ask your provider what amount is best for you.
People who are being treated for hypokalemia may need potassium supplements. Your provider will develop a supplementation plan based on your specific needs.
Note: If you have kidney disease or other long-term (chronic) illnesses, it is important that you talk to your provider before taking potassium supplements.
Mozaffarian D. Nutrition and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann, DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 49.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine website. Dietary reference intakes for sodium and potassium (2019). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi.org/10.17226/25353. Accessed June 30, 2020.
Ramu A, Neild P. Diet and nutrition. In: Naish J, Syndercombe Court D, eds. Medical Sciences. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 16.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 5/26/2020
Reviewed By: Meagan Bridges, RD, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 09/30/2021.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2022 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.