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Potassium is a mineral. It helps keep the right mix of fluids in your body. It also helps your nerves, muscles, and heart work properly.
The recommended daily amount of potassium varies by age. Most people need the following amount each day.footnote 1
Daily potassium intake (in milligrams)
Females, 9–13 years
Males, 9–13 years
Females, 14–18 years
Males, 14–18 years
Females, 19 and older
Males, 19 and older
If you are pregnant, you need an extra 300 mg of potassium per day than what is usually recommended for your age. If you are breastfeeding, you need 200 mg more potassium per day than what is usually recommended for your age.
If you have a chronic health condition, talk to your healthcare provider about how much potassium you need.
Here are some ways to get more of this important nutrient into your diet.
Potassium is in many foods, including vegetables, fruits, and milk products. Bananas, baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, milk, and lentils are all good sources.
You can figure out how much potassium is in packaged foods by looking at the percent daily value section on the Nutrition Facts label. The food label assumes the daily value of potassium is 3,400 mg. So if one serving of a food has a daily value of 20% of potassium, that food has 680 mg of potassium in one serving.
A potassium level that is too high or too low can be serious. It may cause symptoms such as muscle cramps or weakness, nausea, diarrhea, frequent urination, and dehydration. It may also cause low blood pressure, confusion, paralysis, and changes in heart rhythm. A blood or urine test can be done to find your potassium level.
Healthy kidneys keep the right amount of potassium in the blood. Your potassium level can be affected by many things, including how well your kidneys are working and certain medicines.
CitationsNational Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2019). Dietary Reference Intakes for sodium and potassium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25353. Accessed July 27, 2021.
Adaptation Date: 6/12/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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