|0-6 months||Male||0.4 g/day|
|0-6 months||Female||0.4 g/day|
|7-12 months||Male||0.7 g/day|
|7-12 months||Female||0.7 g/day|
|1-3 years||Male||3 g/day|
|1-3 years||Female||3 g/day|
|3-7 years||Male||3.8 g/day|
|3-7 years||Female||3.8 g/day|
|7-11 years||Male||4.5 g/day|
|7-11 years||Female||4.5 g/day|
|11-18 years||Male||4.7 g/day|
|11-18 years||Female||4.7 g/day|
|18 years and older||Male||4.7 g/day|
|18 years and older||Female||4.7 g/day|
|Lactating women||Female||5.1 g/day|
This essential mineral plays an important role in the human body where it acts as an electrolyte. It is contained mostly in cells.
Potassium is necessary for maintaining healthy electrolyte and fluid balance, assisting in protein synthesis, building muscles, and helping proper functioning of heart, tissues, cells, and other organs. It takes part in muscular contraction, regulates heart rate and arterial tension, helps to transfer oxygen to brain, and promotes clearing the body from chemical waste.
It is very important for athletes and people who go into hard physical labor.
Many foods contain much potassium, so its deficiency is not often observed. But it can occur in people who suffer from some diseases and take certain medications (like diuretics).
Lack of potassium can lead to serious consequences. It causes irritability, fatigue, high blood pressure, diarrhea, vomiting, adrenal gland problems, and kidney disorders.
It is almost impossible for a healthy person to have too much potassium from foods, but you can experience an overdose of the mineral, called hyperkalemia, if you suffer from reduced kidney function or are on dialysis. In this case, vomiting and nausea are the most common side effects, though sometimes it can lead to cardiac arrest.
Very many foods are excellent sources of easily absorbed potassium. It is contained in various products of animal and plant origin. Thus, any healthy diet will provide the necessary amount of potassium.
You should be especially careful about the level of potassium in your body, if you have problems with the kidneys or take certain medicines – like steroids, laxatives, or diuretics – that can lead to loss of the mineral. Do not forget to check its level regularly if you belong to one of these categories.