Potassium is a mineral that plays many critical roles in the body. Food sources of potassium include fruits (especially dried fruits), cereals, beans, milk, and vegetables.
Potassium is used for treating and preventing low potassium levels. It is also used to treat high blood pressure and prevent stroke.
Some people use it to treat high levels of calcium, a type of dizziness called Menière's disease, thallium poisoning, insulin resistance, symptoms of menopause, and infant colic. It is also used for allergies, headaches, acne, alcoholism, Alzheimer's disease, confusion, arthritis, blurred vision, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, an intestinal disorder called colitis, constipation, dermatitis, bloating, fever, gout, insomnia, irritability, mononucleosis, muscle weakness, muscular dystrophy, stress, and with medications as treatment for myasthenia gravis.
Healthcare providers give potassium intravenously (by IV) for treating and preventing low potassium levels, irregular heartbeats, and heart attack.
How it works
Potassium plays a role in many body functions including transmission of nerve signals, muscle contractions, fluid balance, and various chemical reactions.
EffectiveLow levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia)
Taking potassium by mouth or intravenously (by IV) prevents and treats low levels of potassium in the blood.
Potassium is LIKELY SAFE for most people when given intravenously (by IV) and appropriately or when taken by mouth in amounts of up to 90 mEq of total potassium from the diet and supplements combined. Potassium can cause stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, intestinal gas, and other side effects
Too much potassium is UNSAFE and can cause feelings of burning or tingling, generalized weakness, paralysis, listlessness, dizziness, mental confusion, low blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm, and death.
Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Potassium isLIKELY SAFEwhen obtained from the diet in amounts of 40-80 mEq per day. Taking too much potassium isUNSAFEduringpregnancyandbreast feeding.Are there any interactions with medications?
Disorders of the digestive tract that might alter the speed food and supplements pass through the body (GI motility conditions): If you have one of these disorders, do not take potassium supplements. Potassium could build up to dangerous levels in your body.
Allergy to aspirin or tartrazine products: Avoid potassium supplements that contain tartrazine.
Some medications for high blood pressure can increase potassium levels in the blood. Taking potassium along with some medications for high blood pressure might cause too much potassium in the blood.Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), ramipril (Altace), and others.Some medications for high blood pressure can increase potassium levels in the blood. Taking potassium along with some medications for high blood pressure might cause too much potassium to be in the blood.Some medications for high blood pressure include losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), irbesartan (Avapro), candesartan (Atacand), telmisartan (Micardis), eprosartan (Teveten), and others.Taking succinylcholine might increase blood levels of potassium too much. Therefore, taking potassium supplements with succinylcholine might increase the risk for side effects. People taking succinylcholine should avoid potassium supplements.Water pills (Potassium-sparing diuretics)
Some "water pills" can increase potassium levels in the body. Taking some "water pills" along with potassium might cause too much potassium to be in the body.Some "water pills" that increase potassium in the body include amiloride (Midamor), spironolactone (Aldactone), and triamterene (Dyrenium).