What Are the Benefits of a Potassium Supplement?

Potassium supplements can come in effervescent tablet form.
Some people take supplements to make up for the lack of potassium in their diet.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jackie Myers
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Potassium is a required nutrient for the body. People who do not meet the minimum daily intake requirement from their diet benefit from taking a potassium supplement. Potassium helps the vital organs and systems in the body to function properly, and taking a potassium supplement also helps those with diseases to replace the potassium lost during depletion. Physicians usually prescribe potassium supplements to their patients as needed.

Various forms of potassium supplement are available. The most common types are oral liquids, effervescent tablets, extended-release tablets, and powder. Experts recommend that people who require a supplement take it two to four times a day, either with their meals or immediately after. Patients who are prescribed the extended-release tablets must never dissolve or chew the tablets in their mouth.

Many people do not meet the minimum requirements for the recommended daily intake of potassium. Taking a potassium supplement can greatly benefit those who have a hard time keeping up with the daily intake amount. Individuals who eat more processed foods instead of whole foods have an increased risk for potassium deficiency, which also occurs in people who have physically demanding jobs, take diuretics, or smoke.

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Taking a potassium supplement helps to improve bone density and prevent osteoporosis. It benefits both elderly men and also women who are premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal. When people take potassium supplements over time, however, bone mineral density decreases. Short-term supplementation with potassium is effective in decreasing urinary acid excretion. Potassium also lessens the negative effects of a high-salt diet on bone metabolism.

A potassium supplement decreases urinary calcium excretion. As a result, it lowers the risk of developing kidney stones. Kidney stones occur when abnormally high amounts of calcium are present in the urine. Potassium deprivation increases the level of urinary calcium excretion.

Studies have shown that groups of people with high-potassium intake have lower blood pressure than those who take in lower amounts. Potassium supplementation helps to support healthy blood pressure, and hypertension caused by sodium can be treated with potassium supplements. Experts recommend that people who wish to lower their blood pressure with potassium supplementation consult their physician for a consultation.

Potassium has been helpful in treating allergies, infant colic, and headaches. Taking potassium supplements after and during diarrhea helps to replace lost potassium in the body. Supplemental potassium also alleviates weakness and fatigue in the elderly. It may also be necessary to increase potassium levels after fluid loss due to dehydration.

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