Potassium is an electrolyte, meaning that it conducts an electrical current. In the body, potassium conducts nerve impulses. Along with sodium and chlorine, potassium helps maintain the body’s normal hydration level and degree of acidity. Potassium is an essential mineral.
What does potassium do?
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will provide the adequate daily intake.
This intake is based on the quantities considered necessary to lower blood pressure and counteract the adverse effects of excessive sodium consumption, minimizing the risk of developing bone loss or kidney stones.
Adequate Intake (AI)* of Potassium:
|Adequate Intake of Potassium|
|Infants||0 to 6 months||400mg|
|7 to 12 months||700mg|
|Children||1 to 3 years||3000mg|
|4 to 8 years||3800mg|
|Preteens||9 to 13 years||4500mg|
|Teens||14 to 18 years||4700mg|
|Adults||19 and up||4700mg|
|Pregnant women|| ||4700mg|
|Nursing mother|| ||5100mg|
Source: Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Potassium, Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate, Washington, DC: National Academies Press, États-Unis, 2004. This data reflects a consensus between Canadian and U.S. health authorities.
*Because data from scientific studies does not make it possible to establish a precise recommended daily allowance, experts chose instead to establish an adequate intake.
Fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy greens, root vegetables, and vine fruit, are good food sources for potassium.
Food Sources for Potassium (Partial List):
|White beans, cooked||250ml (1 cup)||1 189mg|
|Baked potato, peel on||1 medium-sized (175g)||1 081mg|
|Soy or lima beans, cooked||250ml (1 cup)||955-970mg|
|Beans: pinto, red, navy, lentils, split peas, cooked||250ml (1 cup)||658-746mg|
|Beet greens, boiled||125ml (0.5 cup)||655mg|
|Clams, canned||100g (3.5oz)||628mg|
|Baked potato, peeled||1 medium-sized||610mg|
|Tomato purée, canned||125ml (0.5 cup)||580mg|
|Halibut filet, baked or grilled||100g (3.5oz)||573mg|
|Yellowfin (albacore) tuna, baked||100g (3.5oz)||569mg|
|Atlantic cod, grilled or canned||100g (3.5oz)||451mg to 524mg|
|Pacific redfish, baked||100g (3.5oz)||520mg|
|Winter squash, cooked||125ml (0.5 cup)||448mg|
|Spinach, boiled||125ml (0.5 cup)||443mg|
|Plain yogurt, 0–4% fat||175ml (0.75 cup)||434mg|
|Artichoke, boiled||1 medium-sized (125g)||425mg|
|Banana||1 medium-sized (120g)||422mg|
|Salmon, cooked or canned||100g (3.5oz)||300mg to 400mg|
|Haddock, baked||100g (3.5oz)||399mg|
|Plantain, cooked||125ml (0.5 cup)||378mg|
Source: Health Canada, Canadian Nutrient File , (2001b, 2005);
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
Potassium deficiency is rare. Side effects of potassium deficiency can stem from a simple lack of potassium, a lack of the salt that works with it (e.g., citrate), or a lack of both elements. The term hypokalemia refers to a low potassium level in the blood.
Causes of potassium deficiency include the following:
Signs of potassium deficiency:
No data demonstrates adverse reactions to excessive potassium intake from food sources. Potassium supplements, however, can cause acute toxicity in healthy individuals. The term hyperkalemia refers to a high potassium level in the blood.
Signs of excess potassium (due to supplementation):
Natural health products or vitamin supplements:
Drugs that can lead to potassium deficiency (hypokalemia):
Drugs liable to lead to excessive potassium levels (hyperkalemia):
Potassium, Potassium acetate, Potassium bicarbonate, Potassium citrate, Potassium chloride, Potassium gluconate, Potassium phosphate, Potassium chelate, K