Last updated: August 11, 2021

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You have noticed that you have a potassium deficiency and have been recommended a potassium preparation, but you are still not sure whether it is the right one for you? In our potassium test, you will not only get to know different preparations but also learn about the effect and the scientific background of potassium.

We will also show you the criteria for buying potassium supplements. At the end of the article, you can decide with a clear conscience what is best for you. We are pleased that you have found your way to our large potassium test 2021. We will provide you with all the information you need about potassium. You will not only learn which foods contain potassium but also how potassium works in the body.




The most important

  • When it comes to potassium, it is very important to check whether or not there is really a potassium deficiency in the blood. An incorrect intake of potassium can quickly lead to a potassium surplus, which is very dangerous for the body.
  • If there is a potassium deficiency, a high amount of potassium can be taken in certain foods, but if this is not enough, potassium supplements should be taken, because potassium is essential for survival.
  • Potassium can be bought everywhere and in different variations. Tablets, granules, powder and capsules with potassium are offered and all four products have their advantages and disadvantages. With granules you need a container to dissolve them and water or juice.

The Best Potassium: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying potassium

In order to inform you comprehensively about potassium and to give you an understanding of the scientific aspects of potassium, we have summarised all the important information below.

Kalium-1

Potassium preparations in tablet form are especially practical if you are often on the go and prefer a simple intake. All you need to do is have something with you to drink.
(Image source: unsplash.com / james coleman)

What is potassium?

Potassium is a mineral in the body and is essential for life. It is one of the body's most important electrolytes and most potassium is found in the cells. The bulk element is present as a water-soluble cation and is crucial for the functioning of all cells. Potassium distribution is regulated by hormones such as insulin, magnesium and the pH value in the blood.

In order for cells and nerves in the human body to function properly, we need potassium. Although potassium is found in many foods, potassium deficiency can occur due to various causes. In such cases, potassium supplements should be taken, as a potassium deficiency can have many negative consequences for health (1, 3, 5).

How does potassium work?

Together with sodium, potassium regulates the fluid balance in the body. But potassium is not only responsible for this, but for many other vital tasks(2, 3):

  • Influences the electrolyte and acid-base balance
  • Controls metabolic processes such as cell division, cell growth and energy metabolism
  • transmits nerve signals
  • releases hormones
  • involved in muscle function
  • regulates blood pressure
  • involved as a cofactor of enzymes in the formation of protein and glycogen

When and for whom is a potassium supplement useful?

Potassium supplements are useful when there is a deficiency in the body. However, it is important to discuss the intake with a doctor, as too much potassium in the body can have negative consequences. A reduced potassium level in the blood is also called hypokalaemia. Hyperkalaemia, on the other hand, is an excess of potassium and rather rare in healthy people(1, 4).

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Food supplements should never be taken just like that, especially potassium should only be taken in addition if there is a need. In addition, it is always a good idea to consult a doctor.
(Picture source: 123rf.com / Piyaprakongsri )

How can potassium deficiency be recognised?

Signs of potassium deficiency

There are many signs of reduced potassium levels in the blood. Possible signs of a potassium deficiency in the body include(3, 4):

  • Muscle weakness
  • Cardiac arrhythmia (tachycardia)
  • Paralysis
  • increased urine excretion
  • Fatigue, headaches
  • Circulatory problems with dizziness
  • increased blood pressure
  • Cardiac conduction disorders
  • Kidney dysfunction

Many signs of potassium deficiency can also mean something else, so it is always advisable to have a blood test if potassium deficiency is being considered.

Reasons for potassium deficiency

Since many foods contain potassium, dietary potassium deficiency is rare. Potassium deficiency is usually caused by vomiting, laxatives, diuretic medication or chronic diarrhoea. Hyperfunction of the adrenal glands and prolonged malnutrition can also cause a potassium deficiency(5, 6).

Recommended potassium intake

There are also recommendations for the daily intake of potassium(2, 3):

age potassium in mg/day
infants up to 4 months 600mg/day
infants 4-12 months 600mg/day
children 1-4 years 1100mg/day
children 4-7 years 1300mg/day
children 7-10 years 2000mg/day
Children 10-13 years 2900mg/day
Adolescents 13-15 years 3600mg/day
Adolescents and adults 15 years and older 4000mg/day
Pregnant women 4000mg/day
Lactating women 4400mg/day

Adults who are supposed to be on a low-potassium diet because of a certain disease should reduce their potassium intake below 2g a day.

When should potassium supplements not be taken?

Before taking potassium, you should make sure that you do not have a high blood potassium level, hypersensitivity to the ingredients of the respective preparations, fluid deficiency and impaired excretory function of the kidney.

Potassium should also not be taken in addition if you have adrenal cortical hypofunction and a muscle disease(3). In pregnancy or during breastfeeding, additional potassium can be taken if necessary, without risks. In some patients, potassium is necessary despite the above reasons, but this intake should be discussed with the doctor so as not to run any risks.

What are the side effects of taking potassium?

Too much potassium in the body is dangerous. So you should be careful not to get too much potassium. As a rule, enough potassium is taken in the diet if kidney function is intact. However, a potassium deficiency can still occur. If you want to take potassium supplements, you should be careful because very high amounts of potassium can be supplied in a short time.

Therefore, you should always consult your doctor before taking potassium supplements. Potassium oversupply can lead to intestinal obstruction, muscle weakness and paralysis, lung failure and cardiac arrhythmia. Other consequences of a potassium overdose include nausea and vomiting, general weakness, muscle twitching and paralysis, confusion and hallucination, increased urination and disturbances in heart function(1, 4).

What are the alternatives to potassium?

Potassium is found in a great many foods, so a change in diet can usually correct a slight potassium deficiency and also prevent it. However, the daily requirement can be met not only through food, but also through drinks with a high potassium content. For example, you can drink at least 1.5-2 litres of water per day, and herbal teas and spritzers made from fruit or vegetable juice are also good ways to cover your needs (5).

In addition, attention should be paid to the preparation of food. For example, if vegetables are not eaten raw, a gentle cooking method should be used and as little water as possible should be added when boiling. During cooking, a large part of the potassium is transferred from the food to the water and this is usually poured away (3, 6). Foods rich in potassium are listed again at the end of the article.

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If you drink enough water a day, you have already done a lot of good for your potassium balance. Therefore, you should drink at least 1.5 litres of water every day.
(Image source: pixabay.com / stevepb)

Decision: What types of potassium are there and which is right for you?

Potassium is sold in different varieties. Basically, potassium can be divided into these two types:

  • Potassium for direct intake (capsule, tablet)
  • Potassium for dissolving (granules, powder)

The dissolved variety can not only be dissolved in water, but also in juice spritzers and mineral water, so you can make taking it more palatable. We will show you the advantages and disadvantages of each variant in the next few paragraphs.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of taking potassium directly?

Potassium preparations can be taken as tablets and capsules. These are usually highly dosed, so it is important to pay attention to the recommended intake. Of course, there are also advantages and disadvantages with these preparations.

Advantages
  • Easy to take on the go
  • individual tablets can be taken anywhere
  • the capsules and tablets are already portioned, so you can't do much wrong when taking them
Disadvantages
  • Possibly unpleasant feeling when swallowing the tablet (depending on the individual)
  • Individual dosage somewhat difficult

What are the advantages and disadvantages of dissolving potassium?

Dissolved potassium is available as granules and powder. Granules usually consist of powder particles cemented together by binders, whereas pure powder is a finely crushed solid substance and usually contains additives such as flavour enhancers. These two forms of dissolving in a liquid also have advantages and disadvantages (6).

Advantages
  • Relaxed to take, as no capsules need to be swallowed
  • Can be dissolved in various liquids and is therefore tastier
  • Individual amount can be portioned due to the powder
Disadvantages
  • A container for dissolving the granules or powder must be available, thus not so easy to take on the go
  • The taste could be unpleasant

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate potassium supplements

Nowadays there are countless dietary supplements and you can also find many offers for potassium. Therefore, you should consider various things when buying potassium:

Dosage

The dosage depends on the individual supplement, so no general information can be given here. For this, it is best to read the additional information on your product. If you do not find any information, simply ask a doctor.

Stock

Potassium supplements are sold in different sizes and quantities. If you have never taken potassium as a dietary supplement before and are not sure how long you want to take potassium for, you should consider a smaller size.

If you have a history of potassium deficiency or have a medical condition that causes a potassium deficiency, you can of course buy a large amount.

Side effects

Make sure that you are not hypersensitive to any of the ingredients in the product and that the product is high-dose. If the product is high-dosed, a lot of potassium can get into your body in a very short time, which is only healthy if you have a potassium deficiency. Otherwise, just make sure that there is no excess potassium in your body.

Quality

Basically, you should look for high quality in all products. There are now so many different dietary supplements from different suppliers, not all of which necessarily offer high-quality products. The best thing to do is to look for the manufacturer's certificates or find out more about the supplier of the product on the internet.

When buying potassium supplements, look carefully and choose natural and organic products if possible.

How to take it

The way you take potassium depends on the preparation. If you prefer tablets or capsules and would like to take your tablet on the go, you should choose this type of potassium. However, if you prefer a dissolving product, there are also powders and granules to dissolve.

Which combination supplement?

Because there are so many supplements on the market, there are of course also combination supplements that contain not only potassium but also other additives. Therefore, when buying, you should pay attention to which ingredients are contained in the product and whether you might not tolerate them.

Doktor WeiglArzt und Schmerzforscher
The videos of the doctor Dr. Weigl deal with all topics related to medicine and health. Dr. Weigl's channel is medically and scientifically based on studies and facts. Dr. Weigl also provides a video about potassium. Dr. Weigl says that, in principle, potassium excess does not occur that often, because if the kidneys are intact, too much absorbed potassium is excreted through the urine. However, potassium supplements should only be taken in consultation with a doctor, as an excess of potassium from high-dose tablets can quickly have negative consequences. As a tip, Dr. Weigl recommends changing the diet first. (Source: https://www.youtube.de/)

Trivia: Facts worth knowing about potassium

How, when and for how long should I take potassium supplements?

How do I take potassium supplements?

There are different ways to take potassium supplements, depending on which product you choose. Tablets or capsules are simply taken with some liquid. Granules and powders have to be dissolved in liquid first. Water and juice spritzers are very suitable for this.

When do I take potassium supplements?

Potassium supplements are best taken with a meal. The amount of tablets or powder can be found on the respective product, there is no general indication.

How long should I take potassium supplements?

You should only take potassium supplements until your blood potassium levels are sufficient again. Therefore, while taking potassium supplements, you should regularly have your blood potassium checked by your doctor.

What is the shelf life of potassium supplements?

Potassium preparations can be kept for at least one month if you store them in a cool, dry place. It is best to keep them in an airtight container. However, the minimum shelf life is marked on most packaging.

Did you know that agricultural fertilisers contain potassium chloride? Important potassium is lost during harvesting, which is why potassium chloride is used as a fertiliser in industrial agriculture. Potassium has different effects on plants. In leaf cells, potassium increases the pressure of the cell sap and this leads to cell elongation and leaf area growth.

In which foods does potassium occur naturally?

Potassium is found in many foods, so a lack of potassium in the body is rare. When preparing food, you should make sure to use little table salt and little water in the preparation, as potassium is lost in the process. With foods that are very rich in potassium, however, this does not make much difference. (3, 6) Foods rich in potassium are:

  • Various fruits and vegetables (bananas, apricots, carrots, kohlrabi, avocado, tomatoes, kiwis, currants, spinach, pumpkin, radish, aubergines, mushrooms, fennel, broccoli, maize)
  • in concentrated form, the potassium content is higher (tomato paste, dried fruit)
  • Potatoes
  • Legumes
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Flours (spelt, rye, buckwheat wholemeal flour)
  • Milk, yoghurt

Dried chanterelles cover 110% of the daily potassium requirement, and wheat bran and dried apricots already account for 35% of the daily potassium requirement. You should also eat dried tomatoes, spinach, fennel and bananas if you have a potassium deficiency.

Picture source: ????????? ?????????/ 123rf.com

References (6)

1. Informationen zu Hyperkaliämie.
Source

2. Wie Kalium zu unterschiedlichen Funktionen des Körpers wie zum Beispiel das Herz steht und in welchen Lebensmitteln Kalium enthalten ist.
Source

3. Was ist Kalium und wofür braucht der Körper Kalium. Wichtige Lebensmittel mit hohem Kaliumgehalt und Informationen zu Niere im Zusammenhang mit Kalium.
Source

4. Hyperkaliämie und Hypokaliämie.
Source

5. Die Zusammensetzung von Kalium und allgemeines über Hyperkaliämie.
Source

6. Kaliumreiche Ernährung
Source

Why you can trust me?

Hyperkalemia - causes, diagnostic evaluation and treatment
Informationen zu Hyperkaliämie.
Go to source
Potassium and Health
Wie Kalium zu unterschiedlichen Funktionen des Körpers wie zum Beispiel das Herz steht und in welchen Lebensmitteln Kalium enthalten ist.
Go to source
Potassium
Was ist Kalium und wofür braucht der Körper Kalium. Wichtige Lebensmittel mit hohem Kaliumgehalt und Informationen zu Niere im Zusammenhang mit Kalium.
Go to source
Hypokalemia
Hyperkaliämie und Hypokaliämie.
Go to source
Potassium: From Physiology to Clinical Implications
Die Zusammensetzung von Kalium und allgemeines über Hyperkaliämie.
Go to source
Beneficial effects of potassium on human health
Kaliumreiche Ernährung
Go to source
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