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  • Potassium suppliment help

    Hi all

    I've come to find out that my diet causes me to be VERY low in potassium. I can't eat most of the foods that people eat for potassium intake (Blood sugar issues). The foods that I can eat, I can't eat them in the quantities required.

    From reading around, adults are supposed to have around 4,800mg a day. barely hitting 1,000 is my high number most days. *Yikes!*

    So, I bought some Potassium gluconate(NOW brand) and figured out the dosage I'd need.
    After punching in my food for tomorrow, I found that I will have barely over 400mg's. I added in the suppliment and found that I'd need to take 6 teaspoons.

    It says that it's best taken with food, but I only eat 1 meal a day.

    Would it be bad to take all that at once? (o.d.?! Nasty taste!)
    Or, can I take it with all my glasses of water through the day? (1 tsp, instead of 2Tbsp)

    Does it not absorb well without food, or is it an irritation factor?
    I just had 1 tsp in a glass of water, 6.5 hours post meal. I feel fine.

    Anyone have any insight?

  • #2
    How many avocadoes are you eating per day? Try doubling it if one or two really isn't enough. Sounds like a digestive issue, though, since primal foods in general are loaded with potassium.
    Crohn's, doing SCD

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    • #3
      Get your doctor's advice on how much.

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      • #4
        I have to eat under 30 grams of carbs a day and under 90 grams of protein - due to keeping my blood sugars from getting too high.
        I can't eat multiple fruits or potatoes or anything in extra quantities.

        4,800 seems really high - someone would have to eat 10 high potassium fruits a day to get that amount.
        I think most people do fine on 2,500 to 3,000. I'm going to try out 2500 for now, but I'm still wondering if it'll be a waste to take on an empty stomach.

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        • #5
          I take potassium chloride crystals. I take it dissolved in water in the evening. It doesn't bother me to take in on an empty stomach as long as I dilute it in enough water. If it is too concentrated I get a horrible burning in my throat and stomach.

          I take about 1/2 teaspoon in 4 oz of water which gives me about 1400 mg. I would like to do this twice a day instead of once, but I never can do it in the morning.

          I have no problems with absorbing it on an empty stomach. I have problems with really bad muscle fatigue if I don't take potassium, so I know it is doing its job. I've never tried any other form of potassium other than the salt.
          Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

          http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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          • #6
            Potassium requirements also depend on sodium intake. It's really mostly the ratio that matters if you're going to be deficient or not. The 4800 number is based on getting a ratio of 1:2 of sodium to potassium for most people.

            You're right, if your diet is fat-heavy you aren't getting much potassium, but you probably also aren't getting a lot of sodium. I strive to rely on fat a lot (also blood sugar issues) so I've added the NOW brand Potassium Chloride (also called table salt replacement). It has 750mg of potassium per 1/4 teaspoon. I just replace a little bit of salt in my food with it and I feel fine.

            It's actually very easy to get a lot of potassium with very little carbs if you rely on dark leafy greens for your veggie intake.

            Potassium is very hard on the stomach and if not diluted correctly, can hurt your esophagus/stomach lining.

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            • #7
              Ok, so I did some more searching. Taking it all at once is not a good idea. With the whole "Stopping your heart" and such as an od symptom.

              I was using a lot of un processed sea salt and my blood pressure has been really high. I figured that was why, so I've not been adding any salt to my food for about 4 or so days. It may not have been the salt at all, but the lack of potassium in my diet.

              I'll continue with the 1 teaspoon with at least 8oz of water at a time and see how that makes me feel. If I get irritation and such - I'll have to figure something else out.

              I do need to start incorporating more leafy greens into my diet. Spinach sounds really good right about now.

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              • #8
                In your local grocery store... In the herbs and spices area... next to the salt. It's called NoSalt. Easy to get, pure potassium chloride.

                I have to use it daily due to a medication that causes me to have low potassium to the point that my feet, hands, and sometimes around my mouth will feel numb and tingly. Also nausea and greatly increased thirst.

                I use small doses throughout the day. 1/8th to 1/4 tsp at a time. It's easier on my body to take it this way IMO.
                Also, part of my issue/medical condition is that in addition to taking potassium I have to really strictly limit salt intake.
                Magnesium is very important, more so than sodium, in the proper assimilation and function of potassium. To solve this issue I soak in heavily dosed Epsom salts (mag. sulfate) baths at least a couple of times a week.

                I honestly believe that the key is small regular doses.
                I also believe that one should only be taking the amount that is needed to relieve the low potassium issue/symptoms occurring and not simply dosing the same large amount each day.
                I think that most of a single large dose may be wasted through excretion via the kidneys quite quickly.

                It's not hard to carry the NoSalt with you if you buy a small shaker for on the go. It dissolves easily in liquids... it tastes like BUTT, but you get past that pretty quick. If you really don't like it make it in a small amount of liquid, "shoot" it, and chase it with something tastier... like tea with lemon.

                My 2c. Which is in coordination with my doctors advice on how to maintain my potassium given my particular situation.
                Last edited by cori93437; 02-01-2012, 09:55 PM.
                “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
                ~Friedrich Nietzsche
                And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.

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                • #9
                  Spinach can be a good source. I bought some frozen spinach a while ago that had about 500mg per 100g which is quite a bit.

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                  • #10
                    I drink low-salt V8 with my breakfast, which contains 500mg of potassium per cup and avocado contains approx 800mg.

                    I sometimes added NoSalt to my V8 to boost the potassium content without tasting the NoSalt bland taste.

                    Make a Salsa salad with cherry tomatoes and lot of parsley, which contain TONS of potassium.

                    With the above suggestions, you can easily get approx 1,500mg of potassium per meal.

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                    • #11
                      Don't forget the vitamin B6~ it helps balance the sodium and potassium in your body~

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the info, guys. It's really helpful

                        Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I was having symptoms of low potassium. I had tingling in my fingers, but it was only on one hand. So, I figured it was nerve damage or something stemming from my accident 7 years ago. The thing is, it would come and go. That's not really how the rest of my permanent nerve injuries work. haha

                        I'm getting plenty of B6 through foods, so no worries there.

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                        • #13
                          I used to wake up in the middle of the night with random toe pain. I figured it was from walking so much over uneven surfaces in hiking boots when I'm working, but I thought potassium was worth a shot anyway. That was about 2 weeks ago, and I haven't had a problem so far...
                          Durp.

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                          • #14
                            My husband has been struggling to raise his potassium levels, because he tends to get a fast heartbeat when his levels fall too low, so I've spent a lot of time trying to find foods that are good sources of potassium for him, most of which you can't have due to the sugar content. However, you might want to try eating lots of kale, because 100 grams of raw kale (not sure what the weight of it would be after cooking) has 450 mg of potassium, so if you had a few servings throughout the day, you could probably get close to the level you need and wouldn't have to take as much in supplement form.

                            I agree with the salt/potassium ratio - this is also true with other minerals like magnesium and calcium - the amount you need is related to your sodium intake, so the more salt you use, the more minerals you need to balance the ratio. You may notice that now that you've reduce your salt intake, you won't require so much potassium.

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                            • #15
                              I had some potassium difficulties early on this diet as I was going low carb. I got really bad cramping in my arms and legs. I started taking potassium supplements in tablet form and using more lite salt. It really didn't help until I also took some regular sodium salt. Anyway, because I had already been getting leg and foot cramps for a couple of years (seriously, if I moved my foot or leg a certain way I could bring on a major cramp instantly), I stayed on the tablets for a few months. The leg and foot cramps are so much better so now I'm just taking the tablets on days I exercise a lot.

                              I think since they put potassium (and sodium and other things) in sports rehydration drinks, it is okay to consume it intermittently through the day and that all at once isn't necessary. Nuun tablets are my only totally fake thing I consume now. I make sure I make at least one Nuun drink when I am hiking to keep the cramps at bay. Then later before bed I take my potassium tablets. So far so good.
                              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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