Potassium Deficiency and Supplement Benefits

Potassium is an essential mineral that plays a variety of important biochemical roles in the human body. Potassium's most important roles include the transmission of nerve impulses, contraction of muscles, production of energy, maintenance of intracellular tonicity, and regulation of blood pressure. Evidence suggests that diets high in potassium may help to protect against hypertension, strokes, cardiovascular disease, and quite possibly other degenerative diseases.

While modern diets do not offer the same amounts of potassium as so-called primitive diets, gross deficiencies are rare. Potassium deficiency usually occurs when excessive amounts of potassium are lost through the alimentary tract or through the kidneys. Potassium depletion usually occurs as a consequence of prolonged use of diuretics, from prolonged diarrhea and hyperaldosteronism, diabetic ketoacidosis, or in those on long-term total parenteral nutrition. Individuals that experience hypokalemia, metabolic alkalosis, anorexia, weakness, fatigue, or cardiac dysrhythmias may be suffering from potassium deficiency.

Potassium Supplementation

There are several potassium supplemental forms available, including potassium chloride, potassium citrate, potassium gluconate, potassium bicarbonate, potassium aspartate, and potassium orotate. However, most people can get sufficient amounts of additional potassium by eating liberal amounts of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.