No RDA. RNI is 3,500 mg.
Potassium is an essential macro-mineral. Most of it is in the cells of skeletal muscle.
Potassium is not stored in the body, but as much as 90% of the potassium in food is easily absorbed
Where do you get potassium?
You can get if from many fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and meat. The list includes apricots, bananas, melon, citrus fruit, asparagus, potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, red meat, poultry, seafood, lentils and peas.
The amount we get from food varies greatly, with vegetarians getting around 8,000 mg or more a day.
It regulates (along with sodium and chloride) the normal balance of water throughout the body. It helps maintain normal blood pressure, makes your heart and muscles work properly, keeps the intestines moving and works with sodium to transmit nerve impulses.
Too much potassium
The kidneys remove excess potassium but if they are not working properly it can build up, causing muscle weakness, bowel ulceration and heart problems.
Too little potassium
Deficiency is rare, but can happen due to a poor diet, chronic diarrhoea and vomiting, some diuretic drugs, excessive tea, coffee and cola drinking, excessive sweating, major burns or skin damage and some medical conditions such as diabetes, severe heart disease and anorexia.
Symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, vomiting, no appetite, dry skin, depression, low blood pressure, and drowsiness. Severe depletion results in confusion, high blood sugar, slow heart rate and even death in extreme cases. A balanced diet with potassium-rich foods is the answer to suspected lack of potassium.
Supplements can send levels soaring – consult your doctor first.