Canadian Medical Guide > Vitamins & Mineral Food Supplement Guide




Potassium

Vitamin / Mineral Supplement Overview:
Potassium is found in several different forms. It has many functions in the body such as playing a role in protein synthesis and for the conversion of blood sugar in to glycogen (sugar). It triggers a number of enzymes, namely those concerned with energy production. Potassium also stimulates normal movements of the intestinal tract. The average human body contains about 140 g of potassium.

How Potassium Mineral Works in Your Body:
Promotes regular heartbeat
Promotes normal muscle contraction
Regulates transfer of nutrients to cells
Maintains water balance in body tissues and cells
Preserves or restores normal function of nerve cells, heart cells, skeletal-muscle cells, kidneys, stomach-juice secretion
Treats potassium deficiency from illness or taking diuretics (water pills), cortisone drugs or digitalis preparations
Potassium is the predominant positive electrolyte in body cells. An enzyme (adenosine triphosphatase) controls the flow of potassium and sodium into and out of cells to maintain normal function of the heart, brain, skeletal muscles and kidney, and to maintain acid-base balance.
May treat alcoholism
Potassium may treat acne
Possible allergy remedy
Possible heart disease cure
May help heal burns
Potassium may prevent high blood pressure
May be beneficial in preventing kidney stone formation
May combat fatigue and mood swings in early menopause
People who use diuretics, cortisone drugs or digitalis preparations
Anyone without an adequate caloric or nutritional dietary intake or with increased nutritional requirements
People over 55 years old
Pregnant or breastfeeding women
Women taking oral contraceptives
People who abuse alcohol, tobacco or other substances
People with a chronic wasting illness
Those under excess stress for long periods
Anyone who has recently undergone surgery
Athletes and workers who participate in vigorous physical activities, especially when endurance is an important aspect of the activity
Those with part of the gastrointestinal tract surgically removed
People with mal-absorption disorders
Those with recent severe burns or injuries
Vegetarians

Foods high in Potassium Mineral:
Fruits
Vegetables
Whole grains
Asparagus
Molasses
Avocados
Nuts
Bananas
Parsnips
Beans
Peas (fresh)
Cantaloupe
Potatoes
Carrots
Raisins
Chard
Salt substitute
Citrus fruit
Sardines, canned
Juices (grapefruit, tomato, orange)
Spinach, fresh and boiled
Milk
Snapper, grilled
Prunes
Pistachios
Peanuts
Ham
Melon
Green peas, boiled
Barely
Beef

Using Potassium:
Dilute in at least ½ glass of water or another liquid. Take with meals or 1 to 1-1/2 hours after meals unless otherwise advised by your physician.

Potassium is available as:
Oral solution

Recommended Potassium Daily Intakes:
Suggested Intake: 2000-5000 mg
Men: 2000 mg
Women: 2000 mg

Medical Precautions: Do not take if you:
Take potassium-sparing diuretics, such as spironolactone, triamterene. or amiloride
Have allergies to any potassium supplement
Have kidney disease or are taking drugs which cause the kidney to retain potassium
Are dehydrated
Have heat cramps, ulcers

Consult your doctor if you have:
Addison's disease
Diabetes
Heart disease
Intestinal blockage
A stomach ulcer
Take diuretics
Take heart medicine
Take laxatives or if you have chronic Diarrhoea
Use salt substitutes or low-salt milk

Over 55:
Carefully watch your dosage schedule; it is critical to maintain balance of potassium levels in the body. Deviation above or below normal levels can have serious implications.
There is a greater risk of hyperglycemia.

Pregnancy:
There are no problems expected, however consult your physician before use.

Breastfeeding:
Studies on risks to infants is inconclusive. Consult your physician about taking supplements

Vitamin Supplement Storage:
Keep in a cool and dry location and away from direct light, but do not freeze.
Keep safely away from children
Do not keep in bathroom medicine cabinet. Heat and dampness may alter the action of the mineral.

Others:
Take with food.

Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency:
Hypoglycemia
Weakness, paralysis
Low blood pressure
Irregular or rapid heartbeat that can lead to cardiac arrest and death

Potassium Overdose:
Signs and symptoms : What to do
Irregular or fast heartbeat, paralysis of arms and legs, blood-pressure drop, convulsions, coma, cardiac arrest : Discontinue use of mineral. Call your physician immediately.

Accidental Overdose:
Dial 911 (emergency), 0 for operator or call your closest Poison Control Center for immediate attention. In the event the person's heart stops beating, render CPR until trained help arrives

Lab tests for deficiency detection:
Serum-potassium determinations
Serum creatinine
Electrocardiograms
Serum-pH determinations

Effect on lab tests:
ECG and kidney function studies can be affected by too much or too little potassium.
No effect is expected on blood studies, except serum-potassium levels.

Potassium Side Effects:
Signs and symptoms : What to do
Black, tarry stool : Seek emergency treatment.
Bloody stool : Seek emergency treatment.
Breathing difficulty : Seek emergency treatment
Confusion : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician immediately.
Diarrhoea : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician immediately.
Extreme fatigue : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient.
Heaviness in legs : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient
Irregular heartbeat : Seek emergency treatment.
Nausea : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient.
Numbness in hands or feet : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient.
Stomach discomfort : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient
Tingling in hands or feet : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician when convenient.
Vomiting : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician immediately.
Weakness : Discontinue use of mineral. Call physician immediately.

Interactions:
Interacts with : Combined effect
Amiloride : Causes dangerous rise in blood potassium.
Atropine : Increases possibility of intestinal ulcers, which may occur with oral potassium.
Belladonna : Increases possibility of intestinal ulcers, which may occur with oral potassium.
Calcium : Increases possibility of heartbeat irregularities.
Captopril : Increases chance of excessive amounts of potassium.
Cortisone : Impedes on effect of potassium.
Digitalis preparations : Can possibly cause irregular heartbeat.
Enalapril : Increases chance of excessive amounts of potassium.
Laxatives : Can possibly decrease potassium effect.
Spironolactone : Elevates blood potassium.
Triamterene : Elevates blood potassium.
Vitamin B-12 : Extended-release tablets may decrease vitamin B-12 absorption and increase vitamin B-12
requirements.
Diuretic drugs (thiazide variety) : Increase the output of sodium and water from kidneys, while increasing
potassium excretion
Antibiotics : Can deplete potassium if taken on a long-term basis
Tobacco : Decreases absorption.
Alcohol : Strengthens gastrointestinal symptoms
Cocaine : Can cause an irregular heartbeat.
Marijuana : Can cause an irregular heartbeat.
Salty drinks, such as tomato juice and commercial thirst quenchers : Causes increased fluid retention
Coffee : Decreases the uptake of potassium and strengthens gastrointestinal symptoms.
Low-salt milk : Increases fluid retention.
Salty foods : Increases fluid retention.
Sugar : Decreases the body's uptake of potassium

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