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potassium


Potassium


In diet

Adequate intake
A potassium intake sufficient to support life can generally be 
guaranteed by eating a variety of foods. Clear cases of 
potassium deficiency (as defined by symptoms, signs and a 
below-normal blood level of the element) are rare in healthy 
individuals. Foods rich in potassium include parsley, dried 
apricots, dried milk, chocolate, various nuts (especially 
almonds and pistachios), potatoes, bamboo shoots, bananas, 
avocados, soybeans, and bran, although it is also present in 
sufficient quantities in most fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.

Optimal intake

Epidemiological studies and studies in animals subject to
hypertension indicate that diets high in potassium can reduce 
the risk of hypertension and possibly stroke (by a mechanism 
independent of blood pressure), and a potassium deficiency 
combined with an inadequate thiamine intake has produced 
heart disease in rats.[69] There is some debate regarding 
the optimal amount of dietary potassium. For example, 
the 2004 guidelines of the Institute of Medicine specify 
a DRI of 4,000 mg of potassium (100 mEq), though most 
Americans consume only half that amount per day, which 
would make them formally deficient as regards this particular 
recommendation.[70] Similarly, in the European Union, 
particularly in Germany and Italy, insufficient potassium 
intake is somewhat common.[71] Italian researchers 
reported in a 2011 meta-analysis that a 1.64 g higher 
daily intake of potassium was associated with a 21% 
lower risk of stroke.[72]

Medical supplementation and disease

Supplements of potassium in medicine are most widely used
in conjunction with loop diuretics and thiazides, classes of 
diuretics which rid the body of sodium and water, but have 
the side effect of also causing potassium loss in urine. A 
variety of medical and non-medical supplements are available. 
Potassium salts such as potassium chloride may be dissolved 
in water, but the salty/bitter taste of high concentrations of 
potassium ion make palatable high concentration liquid 
supplements difficult to formulate.[50] Typical medical 
supplemental doses range from 10 milliequivalents (400 mg, 
about equal to a cup of milk or 6 US fl oz (180 ml). of 
orange juice) to 20 milliequivalents (800 mg) per dose. 
Potassium salts are also available in tablets or capsules, 
which for therapeutic purposes are formulated to allow 
potassium to leach slowly out of a matrix, as very high 
concentrations of potassium ion (which might occur next 
to a solid tablet of potassium chloride) can kill tissue, and 
cause injury to the gastric or intestinal mucosa. For this 
reason, non-prescription supplement potassium pills are 
limited by law in the US to only 99 mg of potassium.

Individuals suffering from kidney diseases may suffer
adverse health effects from consuming large quantities 
of dietary potassium. End stage renal failure patients 
undergoing therapy by renal dialysis must observe strict 
dietary limits on potassium intake, as the kidneys 
control potassium excretion, and buildup of blood 
concentrations of potassium (hyperkalemia) may 
trigger fatal cardiac arrhythmia.



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