Before you start taking Potassium supplements, it’s very important that you get to know more about it and how to best choose the proper ones for your body.
- Know what Potassium is and what it is for. Potassium is an important mineral that is essential to the healthy function of the heart, skeletons and muscles. A person who consumes the ideal 4,700 mg/ day of potassium can enjoy the health benefits of having reduced blood pressure, minimized risk of having kidney stones, and decreased salt sensitivity.
- Know whether you need to take Potassium supplements. Potassium is very easily found in an average person’s diet: some of the sources of this mineral include chicken, beef, fish, potatoes, and most fruits and vegetables. That’s why it’s not very common for an average person to be deficient in potassium because of his diet; usually, potassium deficiency (or hypokalemia) is because of another condition, such as diarrhea, vomiting, an eating disorder, or hyperthyroidism. Those who take certain medications – such as cortisones and diuretics – may also be prone to becoming potassium deficient.
- Know some of the symptoms of potassium deficiency. Some of the most common symptoms include the following: fatigue, muscle weakness, irritability, dry skin and slow reflexes. In extreme cases, potassium deficiency may lead to cardiac arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, kidney disease (such as acute renal failure) and disorders of the nervous system. If you suspect that you have hypokalemia, it’s very important that you seek medical opinion right away. Do remember that you should consult your doctor before you consider taking potassium supplements (do know that too much potassium can lead to serious health problems as well, such as abdominal cramping, muscle paralysis or irregular heartbeats).
- Know the type of potassium supplement you should take. There are three major types of potassium supplements available: Potassium Citrate, Potassium Bicarbonate and Potassium Chloride. Potassium Citrate is the most commonly-used supplement, which is used mainly to reduce kidney stones. Potassium Bicarbonate is used to reduce blood pressure, increase muscle mass and decrease bone loss. Potassium Chloride is most effective at raising potassium levels in the blood.
- Inform your doctor about any type of condition that you may have. Do know that taking Potassium supplements may be detrimental to your health if you have some previously-existing conditions such as stomach ulcer, chronic diarrhea or kidney disease. Also know that some drugs may also have a negative reaction to potassium supplements; for example: taking Potassium supplement with laxatives may decrease the effectiveness of the supplement; with calcium and you may suffer from heartbeat irregularities; and with Captopril and you may have a higher chance of suffering from potassium overdose.
The bottom line is, when you’re choosing between different Potassium supplements, it’s very important that you follow the advice of your doctor. It is never wise to self-medicate on supplements such as these, specially when too much can cause severe health problems. Make sure that you inform your doctor in detail about your allergies, symptoms, and other medication that you are taking, so he can make the best decision about which supplement is most appropriate for you. Good luck, and hope this helped!