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Potassium

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What is Potassium and how it works

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Potassium: Main Image

How to Use It

The best way to obtain extra potassium is to eat several pieces of fruit per day, as well as liberal amounts of vegetables. The amount of potassium found in the diet ranges from about 2.5 grams to about 5.8 grams per day. The amount allowed in supplements—99 mg per tablet or capsule—is very low, considering that one banana can contain 500 mg. Check with your physician before taking large amounts of potassium since it may irritate the stomach.

Where to Find It

Most fruits are excellent sources of potassium. Beans, milk, and vegetables contain significant amounts of potassium.

Possible Deficiencies

So-called primitive diets provided much greater levels of potassium than modern diets, which may provide too little. Gross deficiencies, however, are rare except in cases of prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, or use of “potassium-depleting” diuretic drugs. People taking one of these drugs are often advised by their doctor to take supplemental potassium. Prescription amounts of potassium provide more than the amounts sold over the counter but not more than the amount found in several pieces of fruit.

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