North Carolina | Holistic Medicine Providers by City
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.
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. 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. Similarly, in the European Union,
particularly in Germany and Italy, insufficient potassium
intake is somewhat common. 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.
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. 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.
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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