Potassium: Did You Know It Is A Nutrient of Public Health Concern

Potassium: Did You Know It Is A Nutrient of Public Health Concern

After discussing multivitamins in our previous posts, there is one mineral that deserves a little more attention than the rest. Potassium! Why? Because today, nearly everyone does not consume enough potassium. In fact, blood potassium levels have been on a decreasing trend in this country for a long period of time. Which is why it is now listed as a nutrient of public health concern!

We can not live or function without potassium. All of your cells actually need it to function normally! It serves two main purposes within the body, while working hand-in-hand with sodium. One, it maintains intracellular volume. This matters because it helps keep your blood pressure down. Everyone with high blood pressure hears about how they should decrease their sodium levels, but what is not emphasized enough is that they also need to focus on increasing their potassium levels. Two, it maintains transmembrane electrochemical gradients. Potassium and sodium are well known electrolytes, meaning they carry electrical charges. This is important because it allows your body to have an electrical system, otherwise known as your nervous system. Without potassium, your nervous system will not work. 

Why have supplements not helped the potassium crisis? Because products almost never have more than 99 mg per pill. The Adequate Intakes (AI) for potassium are 3,400 mg and 2,600 mg for men and women respectively. So why do the pills have such a low dosage? Because it is an unwritten rule companies follow.  The FDA frowns upon dietary supplement pills including more than 99 mg in a product. This is because some potassium drugs are limited to 99 mg. There is also a fear of hyperkalemia, or very high blood potassium levels. 

However, the Institute of Medicine has stated there in no need for an Upper Limit for potassium. They also state that healthy people with normal kidney function have no health risks from very high amounts. So it is not only safe, but most people can take as much as they want!

Now we have also decided to keep the dosage for potassium at 99 mg for our Pinnacle Women's and Men's Multis to keep the FDA happy. However, we need to do something to help resolve this potassium crisis. So, we will be selling potassium powder on its own very soon! Powder is not only less expensive than pills, but it is so much easier to incorporate into all your different foods, beverages, and other supplements you take. In the meantime, try and increase your potassium intake from your diet by eating lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, or meats.