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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.
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 4,700 mg. So if one serving of a food has a daily value of 20% of potassium, that food has 940 mg of potassium in one serving. Potassium may not be listed on all food labels.
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.
National 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.
Current as of:
February 28, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
Current as of: February 28, 2023
Clinical Review Board:
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
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