|Description||Potassium is an essential nutrient naturally present in many foods and which is found in all of our body tissues. It is sometimes referred to as an electrolyte, alongside sodium and chloride, which play important roles in maintaining homeostasis within the body.|
|Function/ Used for||Potassium is important for the normal functioning of cells and helps to keep the nervous system and muscles working as they should, as well as keeping blood pressure on an even keel1.|
|Intake||EU NRV: 2000mg/day.
EFSA have set the adequate intake (AI) level for potassium at: 3500mg/day2.
UK average daily intake: requirements vary depending on age and gender. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey lists up-to-date intake requirements and average intakes3.
|As a supplement||Available as a single supplement. Also, commonly available as part of a combined electrolyte supplement.
Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.
|Found in (dietary sources)||Potassium is commonly found in fish, pulses, nuts and seeds, meat, milk, fruit, leafy green vegetables and potatoes.
|Deficiency||Insufficient potassium intake can cause increased blood pressure, risk of kidney stones and bone turnover. Symptoms can include constipation, muscle weakness and fatigue. Severe potassium deficiency (hypokalaemia) is often associated with increased potassium losses (e.g. from diarrhoea and vomiting), shifts in intracellular potassium levels or (rarely) from severe hypocaloric diets2.|
|Precautions and contraindications||Safe Upper Level (Guidance Level): Not established.
Those with impaired renal function should follow a low potassium diet with medical guidance and should not take supplements.
|Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding||There is no evidence of adverse effects in pregnancy at normal intakes. The adequate intake (AI) level for lactating women is set at 4000mg/day2.|
|Interactions e.g. with other medications||ACE inhibitors and potassium-sparing diuretics can reduce urinary potassium excretion, leading to hyperkalemia.
Loop diuretics and thiazide diuretics can increase urinary potassium excretion, leading to hypokalemia.
|Adverse effects||Gastrointestinal symptoms are possible with potassium supplement use in some individuals.|
|References||1 EU Community Register of Nutrition and Health Claims