Potassium is one of the vital minerals in your body. It plays a crucial role in cardiovascular health and water balance, and is the third most abundant mineral in the body, after calcium and phosphorus.
Even though potassium is present in many foods, individuals who aren’t consuming enough plants and veggies are more prone to developing mild to severe deficiency. In this case, the best way of replenishing your potassium levels may be external supplementation. In this guide, you will learn about five best potassium supplements with a balanced formula and get all the information about this mineral and its role in your body.
- 1 5 Best Potassium Supplements for the Money
- 1.1 NOW Potassium Citrate Caps
- 1.2 Nature Made Potassium Gluconate Tablets
- 1.3 Hi-Lyte Electrolyte Concentrate
- 1.4 NaturaSlim Potassium Citrate Caps
- 1.5 Bulk Supplements Potassium Chloride Powder
- 1.6 What Is Potassium and Why Do You Need It?
- 1.7 Signs and Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency
- 1.8 Natural Sources of Potassium
- 2 What’s the Best Form of Potassium Supplementation?
- 3 Can You Overdose on Potassium? Safety, Interactions, and Warnings
5 Best Potassium Supplements for the Money
NOW Potassium Citrate Caps
The first manufacturer on the list of the best potassium supplements is NOW, a company known for its quality products. The supplement provides you with 99 mg of potassium citrate per pill. Potassium citrate has great bioavailability and is the natural form found in food.
One jar contains 180 caps, but you can also choose a pack of 500 and even 1,500 caps. The manufacturer advises you to take 1 to 5 caps per day with food, which leaves room for flexible dosing.
The only issue with NOW caps is that they aren’t vegan-friendly because gelatine is used for making capsule shells.
Nature Made Potassium Gluconate Tablets
Nature Made provides you with 550 mg of potassium gluconate per tablet, which contains 90 mg of elemental potassium. Potassium gluconate is water-soluble salt, which allows you to quickly replenish your levels of this mineral.
One bottle of Nature Made contains 100 tablets with the serving size being one tablet. Thus, you can supplement yourself for more than three months, or opt for a 3-pack on Amazon if you want to stock up for longer.
Now, even though these tablets are both gluten-free and vegan-friendly, they do contain some binding agents, which may result in chalky texture, so individuals with sensitive palate may experience some inconveniences when trying to swallow the tablet.
Hi-Lyte Electrolyte Concentrate
Hi-Lyte is the best potassium supplement for athletes and active people. In fact, this is a concentrated electrolyte cocktail that contains potassium along with zinc, magnesium, sodium, chloride, and sulfates derived from sea minerals.
One serving of Hi-Lyte is equal to a ½ tablespoon or 2,5 ml. You need to dissolve it in 32 oz of water. Note that the concentrate is slightly salty because of sodium and chloride ions, so you may want to add it to juices or smoothies to mask the taste.
You can drink as much as it takes you to replenish the fluid intake, but do not exceed eight servings per day. Hi-Lyte is suitable for people with any dietary needs but may cause an upset stomach in individuals with sensitivity to zinc.
NaturaSlim Potassium Citrate Caps
NaturalSlim offers you potassium as a blend of two most absorbable salts — citrate and aspartate. One capsule contains 99 mg of elemental potassium, and the whole bottle of NaturalSlim will last you more than a year, making it an excellent investment.
The manufacturer states that their potassium will work great for individuals that experience electrolyte deficiency resulting in water retention during weight loss.
The only downside of this supplement, however, is that it isn’t suitable for vegans because the capsules contain gelatine.
Bulk Supplements Potassium Chloride Powder
Bulk Supplements can offer you the best potassium supplement in the form of potassium chloride. It’s here because of its versatility.
Since this supplement comes in the form of powder and the serving size is only 135 mg, which is equal to a 1/32 tablespoon, you can just use it as a salt substitute and add it to your meals to make them more nutritious.
Also, potassium chloride powder helps balance the levels of sodium in your body, which could be great for individuals who suffer from hypertension and muscle cramps.
What Is Potassium and Why Do You Need It?
Potassium is a mineral that works in your body as an electrolyte.
Electrolytes are compounds that, when in water, dissociate into positively or negatively charged ions. Other most known electrolytes are sodium, calcium, and magnesium.
Potassium produces positively charged K+ ions, which are used in a variety of physiological processes:
- synchronizing the muscle contractions;
- maintaining the fluid balance inside the body cells;
- supporting bones;
- promoting cardiovascular health;
- aiding in the transmission of nerve impulses.
“98% of all potassium in your body is stored in cells. 80% of this amount is found in muscles, while the remaining 20% of all potassium is distributed in the liver, bones, and red blood cells.”
Signs and Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency
Normally, people get potassium from their diet. However, according to the Nutrition Facts data, 98% of US adults have a potassium deficiency, while the remaining 2% only reach a minimum recommended daily intake.
Well, mainly because US adults don’t have a diverse diet with various plants.
But along with that, certain groups of people are more prone to developing potassium deficiency:
- Athletes and those who work physically. These people lose a lot of electrolytes with sweat, and potassium is one of them.
- People who use diuretics and laxatives. Certain diuretics are used to treat high blood pressure, but they can also increase the excretion of potassium through the urine and cause hypokalemia.
- Individuals with eating disorders. People with eating disorders typically are depleted of many micronutrients and minerals because of their poor eating habits.
- People with malabsorption. Potassium is secreted through the colon. Certain health conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, may increase the secretion of potassium and lead to low levels of this mineral in the body.
Typical signs of low potassium levels in your body are the following:
- fatigue and muscle weakness;
- cramps and spasms;
- bloating and constipation;
- heart palpitations and arrhythmia;
- numbness and tingling sensations.
The good thing is, you won’t develop a severe deficiency if you meet the RDI.
The problems can begin when your body suddenly loses too much potassium during dehydration and global electrolyte loss, which can happen in the following situations:
- intestinal infections;
Severe potassium deficiency is called hypokalemia. During this condition, the levels of potassium in your blood drop lower than 3.6 mMol/L. People with hypokalemia can experience muscular paralysis, glucose intolerance, breathing problems, and renal dysfunction.
“Hypokalemia is rare among people with normal kidney function and those who maintain a healthy and diverse diet.”
Natural Sources of Potassium
Not only is potassium abundant in your body, but it’s also present in a variety of whole foods. While most people traditionally are looking for potassium in banana, this fruit is actually not the best source of this mineral, as it only contains around 422 mg or 12% of the recommended daily intake.
You can look for this mineral in many other foods instead. Beans, dried fruits, and animal-based products are the best sources of potassium and can easily be incorporated into your daily diet:
- dried apricots — 1,510 mg per cup;
- cooked lentils — 737 mg per cup;
- acorn squash — 644 mg per cup;
- baked potato — 925 mg per 1 medium potato;
- orange juice — 496 mg per cup;
- 1% milk — 366 mg per cup;
- grilled chicken breast — 332 mg per cup;
- Greek yogurt — 240 mg per 6 oz.
Thus, consuming potassium-rich foods is an incredibly easy way to provide yourself with an adequate amount of potassium on a daily basis.
“Getting potassium from food also allows it to go right into body cells, without building up in the plasma.”
What’s the Best Form of Potassium Supplementation?
Generally, people who are following a healthy and balanced diet don’t need extra supplementation with potassium. But if you fall into the category of individuals that are at risk of developing potassium deficiency, you might need to take supplements for maintaining healthy levels of this mineral.
But what is the best form of potassium to rely on?
Today, there are three most common potassium salts used as a supplement: citrate, gluconate, and chloride. Below, you will find their main features outlined:
- Potassium citrate. This is the most ‘organic’ potassium form to your body, as it is usually found in foods. Potassium citrate has the highest bioavailability among all types, which in some cases can be a problem: for example, for people with kidney diseases. But in healthy individuals, the same potassium citrate is used as an alkalizing agent for treating urinary tract diseases, such as cystitis.
- Potassium gluconate. This form of potassium is a result of binding potassium atoms with gluconic acid, which in turn is a result of glucose fermentation. Potassium gluconate is the most common form used in supplements, as it has a longer shelf life and slower release time so that you wouldn’t experience spikes in your potassium levels.
- Potassium chloride. This salt naturally occurs in foods but can be synthesized in a lab too. Potassium chloride is typically used as an intravenous solution in medically fragile patients and people with hypokalemia caused by eating disorders or severe electrolyte loss.
“Potassium citrate and potassium chloride can provoke allergic reactions in sensitive people. That’s why it’s highly advised to discuss potassium supplementation with your physician.”
When it comes to release forms, you can expect various ways of consuming your potassium supplements, with the most common of them being pills, tablets, fluids, and powders:
- Potassium pills. Pills or capsules are the best forms of oral supplementation, as they have a hard shell or coating which won’t affect the taste. Also, pills contain strictly measured dosage, so it won’t be difficult to stick to a certain daily intake. However, some pills aren’t suitable for individuals with specific dietary needs, such as vegans or gluten intolerant people.
- Potassium fluids. Fluids often come in the form of concentrates for replenishing electrolytes. These are commonly used by people with high levels of physical activity or as infusions during surgeries and hospitalization.
- Potassium tablets. Tablets typically don’t have a coating, so you can dissolve them in your mouth. The most common tableted form of potassium supplements is potassium gluconate. However, the binding agents used to form a tablet can unpleasantly alter its taste.
- Potassium powders. Potassium powders aren’t a common form of supplementation and typically are used as a salt substitute to dilute the amount of sodium in the diet.
Health Benefits of Potassium
Since potassium has a wide range of functions inside your body, you can unlock some impressive potassium benefits for your health just by meeting the daily intake.
So, here’s what potassium does in your body.
Aids in Maintaining Fluid Balance
It’s a proven fact that a body of an average adult is approximately 60% percent water, and almost half of that is found inside your cells. This is the intracellular fluid (ICF).
The remaining amount of fluids is called extracellular fluid (ECF) and is distributed outside the cells, particularly in blood, spinal fluid, and lymph.
Two electrolytes regulate the balance between these two main groups:
- sodium, which is the primary electrolyte present in ECF;
- potassium, which is the main electrolyte in ICF.
The levels of these electrolytes are called osmolarity, and typically, this parameter is the same for both ICF and ECF. But if this balance disrupts, then the fluid will move from more diluted area to a less diluted area to restore it, which can result in either dehydration or swelling.
Studies on older people confirmed that consuming potassium from natural sources or through supplementation can help reduce water retention by reducing sodium levels and increasing urine production.
Regulates Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke around the world and in the US.
Elevated sodium levels are also associated with high blood pressure, and scientists view a low-sodium diet as a promising complementary treatment for individuals with chronic hypertension and cardiovascular problems.
The Journal of the American Society of Hypertension reported that taking potassium for high blood pressure treatment resulted in reducing systolic and diastolic pressure by 6 and 4 mmHg, respectively. Along with that, scientists discovered that when people get enough potassium in their diet, the adverse effects of sodium on blood pressure become less pronounced.
Supports Neural Health
Neural cells produce electrical impulses that help coordinate your vital bodily functions: breathing, heartbeat, reflexes, and muscle contractions.
The thing is, potassium, along with sodium, plays a crucial role in generating these impulses inside and outside the cells respectively.
Low potassium intake may affect the ability of neural cells to produce impulses because of the imbalanced sodium-potassium equilibrium, which may result in the following problems:
- tingling or itching sensations;
Scientists suggest taking adequate amounts of potassium to restore and maintain normal neural reactions and prevent problems.
Your muscle fibers are regulated by neurons, and low levels of potassium can impair their proper functioning by weakening the neuromuscular response. In this case, you can experience the following symptoms:
- excessive muscle weakness;
- loss of balance;
- spasms and pain.
“Our heart is also a muscle, and potassium is incredibly important for maintaining a healthy regular heartbeat. Low levels of this mineral can result in arrhythmia, which is a potentially fatal condition.”
May Help Strengthen the Bones
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that affects 25% of women and 5% of men over 65 years old.
The main symptom of osteoporosis is bone thinning, which increases the risk of fractures or other traumas.
Typically, osteoporosis is linked to low calcium levels, as it’s the primary mineral needed for bone structure and integrity.
However, a recent study with a sample of 62 healthy women at 45-55 years showed that taking high amounts of potassium and magnesium resulted in lesser excretion of calcium through the urine and hence better bone tissue metabolism.
May Prevent the Formation of Kidney Stones
Certain types of potassium salts, such as potassium citrate, can be helpful for people who are prone to kidney stones.
Kidney stones form in concentrated urine and often contain calcium and other insoluble minerals.
The Clinical Nutrition Research review shows that potassium citrate can act as an alkalizing agent and increase the pH level of the urine. Thus, it can increase the excretion of calcium and prevent kidney stones from forming.
How Much Potassium Do You Need Per Day?
While potassium is undoubtedly an essential mineral for your body, the suggestions as for the recommended daily intake (RDI) vary:
- The National Institute of Health states that adequate daily potassium intake is equal to 4,700 mg.
- The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey also reports that adult people should take 4,700 mg of potassium per day.
- The World Health Organization, however, suggests a lower amount of 3,510 mg per day.
Yet, there’s one thing in common:
Most people don’t even meet the minimum daily dosage.
Can You Overdose on Potassium? Safety, Interactions, and Warnings
Although most Americans don’t meet the daily potassium intake in their diets, chronic potassium deficiency with pronounced symptoms isn’t a common thing, but the same cannot be said about potassium overdose.
Because of potential dangers, the FDA has restricted all over-the-counter potassium supplements from packing one serving with more than 100 mg of this mineral, which is equal to only 2% of the RDI. This should have served as an encouragement to eat potassium-rich foods, but instead, people often do the opposite and consume too many pills at once.
Consuming too much potassium can cause a condition called hyperkalemia. This is a potentially life-threatening condition, as high levels of potassium can cause the following symptoms:
- abnormal heartbeat and arrhythmia;
- kidney failure;
- drop in blood pressure levels.
If you noticed the following signs, you should seek medical help right away. The treatment of hyperkalemia focuses on the removal of excess potassium from the blood and its transportation into cells by using various medications and other electrolytes.
Along with that, you may experience potassium side effects if you’re taking specific groups of medications:
- ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers. These drugs are used for treating hypertension and myocardial infarction. They also reduce the excretion of potassium through urine, so consuming potassium supplements along with them may lead to hyperkalemia.
- Potassium-sparing diuretics. These medications contain potassium and may reduce its excretion. Taking potassium supplements with these drugs is recommended under a doctor’s supervision.
Potassium is one of the most important minerals in the body. Unfortunately, only 2% of US adults reach the minimum daily intake, while others may require additional supplementation with this element.
Too low potassium levels in the body are called hypokalemia. This condition manifests in excessive muscle weakness, respiratory problems, and problems with the cardiovascular system.
However, taking too much potassium isn’t good for your body either, as it can result in the opposite condition, hyperkalemia, which increases the risk of cardiac arrest or stroke.
Thus, the best way to determine if you need to take potassium supplements is to consult with your doctor and follow their recommendations.