Potassium Tablets – Needed Supplements?

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Potassium is a key ingredient in cellular function. You cannot live without it. Proper cellular function, from membrane maintenance to mitochondria energy production, requires potassium. Its that simple. Most Americans consume half as much potassium (abbreviated K) as they do sodium (abbreviated Na). This leads to a K:Na ratio of 1:2. The ideal anti-aging K:Na ratio should be 5:1. To put it another way – most people today are getting only one-tenth of the potassium needed for optimum health.

What can you do?

1. Reducing sodium (sodium chloride, or NaCl) in your diet by reducing salt intake. This will reduce the sodium intake. Alternatively, switch to salt substitutes made with potassium chloride (such as NoSalt and Nu-Salt, both of which provides about 530 mg of potassium per one-sixth teaspoon)

2. At the same time, increase intake of fruits and vegetables. The ration of K:Na in most of these foods are at least 100:1. For example, the K:Na ratio in apples is 90:1, asparagus 165:1, bananas 440:1, orange 260:1, and oranges 260:1

A simple blood test can tell you if you need potassium tablets Potassium supplementation in the form of oral potassium tablets are generally not needed if you are on a good anti-aging diet with at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If you are excreting potassium because of certain drugs like diuretics ( for blood pressure control), you potassium supplementation may be considered. Due to potential side-effect of potassium on cardiac function, the FDA limits the amount of potassium permitted in nutritional supplements to 99 mg per serving. If you are taking a high-potency multivitamin and mineral cocktail, chances are you are fully protected. If you suspect potassium deficiency, consult your physician for a blood test.

Potassium Tablets