Potassium is a highly useful and necessary nutrient for a healthy body. Not only is it a mineral, but an electrolyte. This element, K, is responsible for proper operation of all of your body’s cells, tissues and organs, especially the heart and brain. You can get it through meats and fish, veggies and fruits as well as dairy products. You need to have just the right amount of potassium; too little potassium can cause muscle weakness, irregular heartbeats and stomach problems; too much potassium can also cause abnormal heart rhythms and weakness. Either way, these are symptoms you’ll notice.
In addition to potassium, there’s sodium. It’s worth mentioning here because potassium and sodium have a very sensitive relationship and affect how each other work. If you have a balanced ratio of potassium to sodium, you’re fine. But if you have too much sodium (too little potassium), you can experience extra sweating, malabsorption of food and diarrhea and vomiting. Yikes. As you age, you need to be more mindful of getting too much potassium since your kidneys are slower to process it out of the body.
>> Read more: 4 Reasons to Cut Down on Sodium
Taking a potassium supplement can be beneficial in many ways, but usually isn’t necessary if you’re eating a healthy diet. Supplements come in many forms, from powders and capsules to tablets and elixirs. You are not to exceed your daily recommended dietary requirement of potassium through diet and supplements. Approximately 1600 milligrams to 2000 milligrams for adults is a healthy range.
If you’re pregnant or nursing, potassium can translate to your baby; however, there is currently no evidence that it is harmful. Either way, talk to your doctor first about taking it in supplement form. You might not even need it!