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What kind of potassium supplement?

Posted by Carol A. 
Carol A.
What kind of potassium supplement?
January 12, 2007 04:57AM
I wonder if you could tell me what kind of potassium supplements all of you take and whether you have run into problems with any of them.

I think that the kind of potassium that I just bought is causing stomach cramping and pain. I used to take the glycinate form, but Whole Foods special ordered "Country Life" Potassium Amino Acid Chelate (as potassium citrate, potassium amino chelate) by mistake, so I thought that I would take it anyway. Now I am wondering if this citrate form is causing the problem.

Thank you.

Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 12, 2007 07:04AM
Carol - I've taken potassium citrate and potassium glycinate with none of the problems you indicate.

If you get into serious potassium intake, though, I think the best product and the easiest to take is the bulk powder - potassium gluconate by NOW brands.

Hans has it through his iherb contact. It's economical - 1 teaspoon delivers 540 mg.

The taste is just a slight hint of "salty" taste. I just mix with water and drink. Saves me gobbling so many tablets or capsules.

Instructions for potassium intake usually say take with meals an I presume it is to help avoid stomach issues.

The potassium chloride is the form that is linked to problems with ulcers and should be avoided if that's the case.
Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 12, 2007 09:04AM

On the rare occasions I take supplemental potassium I use potassium citrate.
Never had a problem with it and I do have a very 'delicate' stomach.

Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 12, 2007 09:05AM
PS I always empty the pot cit out of the capsule into warm water.
Could the capsule be causing you a problem?

Sharon Glass
Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 12, 2007 11:40AM
Carol, I take the NOW powder form of potassium glycinate and I don't take it with a meal. From all I read about digestion, drinking with meals dilutes the stomach acids before they can work on the food.

I have had no problems with mixing it with water and drinking it 3-6 times a day, according to how much potassium I am getting from my food. I used to use FITDAY to determine it daily, but because my food is limited to certain things, I have just realized that because I can't eat a lot of fruit, (and you can only eat so many veggies) there is no way to get all the potassium I need, so I just automatically drink 3-6 glasses a day (unless I know I have eaten a high potassium food, then I drink less water with potassium in it.)

The good thing about combing the powder and water is you are getting the benefit of the potassium and the water. I am seeing tremendous benefits from both. Sharon
Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 12, 2007 11:44AM
Sharon, did you mean to say potassium gluconate?
Dave Facer
Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 12, 2007 02:58PM
I take potassium gluconate by NOW brands. I use to put it into a cup w/ juice & slam it down. But that would give me the "runs". So what I do now is (3 times a day, morning, afternoon, night) I out a tablespoon in a glass w/ juice or koolaid & drink in about an hours time. That works great for me.
Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 12, 2007 03:57PM
Sharon - the labeling says to take with food. I'm not sure it matters much but minerals need to ride on the results of acid breakdown in the body. This is not a chelated product so I presume it requires the same stomach acid help that other minerals do (unless chelated) in order to be made bioavailable or absorbable to the body when they arrive in the small intestine.

It could be that not taking with meals would lessen the amount of bioavailable potassium. I'm not a biochemist; just speculating as to why they direct taking with meals.

I understand your concerns about diluting stomach acid but there has to be a happy medium somewhere with either the amount of water you include or taking it a bit before meals so that the stomach acid that does come in will work well on everything. Less water with a dose before meals could be an answer. It has a very bland taste so I doubt one needs much water along with the powder. ??

Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 12, 2007 04:01PM
David - I'm sure the concoction you have made for yourself is sweet and pleasant tasting, but I worry that you are ingesting regularly something that is just sugar and chemicals (Koolaid)... I'd be worried that the additional sugar is helping to deplete potassium (and magnesium) and the artificial color chemicals and such could sabotage healthy efforts to control afib. Same with juice and the insulin response depleting potassium stores.

The powder in plain water isn't at all terrible. It just isn't like drinking a sweet drink.

Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 12, 2007 11:06PM
Hello Carol,
I've also started on the Now brand of potassium gluconate, bought from iherb via Han's website. I was delighted with the size of the container for the price - I've seen nothing like that size in Australia! It doesn't give me cramps and I normally take it about half an hour after the evening meal - however, I have sometimes left it 'til bedtime without ill effect.
Hope you soon track down what is affecting your digestive system,
best wishes,
Mary Ann from Idaho
Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 13, 2007 04:01AM
THIS thread I really appreciate! Excited about my new healing possibilities, I read as much as I could on this site & 'jumped in' - starting the supplements with what seemed to be a 'reasonable' amount...what seemed to be needed to work (for most people), but not the max. dosages. I did have many improvements fairly quickly (also I felt due to the Paleo Diet, which I had started first).
But my 'insides' rebelled! I felt like they were being ripped up...could even HEAR them complaining..and was running for the bathroom, or even the nearest bush on my walks! I knew this wasn't going to work at all.
Since I had started many things at once, I didn't know if one thing was causing it, or a combination. So I read MORE. I figured first it was the MG & stopped that. But it continued. When I next stopped the K, everything went quiet.
I also had been thrilled to get the large NOW powdered product. I'm feeling great at this point - & no stomach troubles, so am now going to start introducing it - s l o w l y. Perhaps your method, Emmie, would be good. After the evening meal. At least I wouldn't be out in the middle of the woods if it 'hit'!
And - questions: Dave - do you take your divided doses AFTER your meals, so something is in your stomach?
And, Jackie - I think Dave said he mixed it with juice, not Koolaid. Would that much juice contradict or cancel out the effects of the K? If that's the case, does fruit also cancel it out? I don't understand - because for instance bananas are such a good source.

Thanks, guys! - I think I'm coming along really well. Sometime before long I'll post some kind of a 'progress report'.

Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 13, 2007 04:49AM
Hi Carol,

I just found this on the we regarding potassium gluconate. For what its worth here it is:

What other drugs will affect potassium gluconate?
• The following drugs may increase the effects of potassium gluconate:
· angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) such as benazepril (Lotensin) and captopril (Capoten);
· other commonly used ACE inhibitors, including enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil), moexipril (Univasc), quinapril (Accupril), and ramipril (Altace);
· potassium-sparing diuretics such as triamterene (Dyrenium, Dyazide, Maxzide), spironolactone (Aldactone, Aldactazide), and amiloride (Midamor, Moduretic);
· beta-blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin) and propranolol (Inderal); and
· other commonly used beta-blockers, including acebutolol (Sectral), bisoprolol (Zebeta), carteolol (Cartrol), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), nadolol (Corgard), metoprolol (Lopressor), and pindolol (Visken).
• Do not take any of the medicines listed above with potassium gluconate except under the supervision of your doctor.
• Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
· the heart medicine digoxin (Lanoxin);
· a diuretic (water pill) such as hydrochlorothiazide (Hydrodiuril, HCTZ, others), chlorothiazide (Diuril, others), metolazone (Zaroxolyn), or indapamide (Lozol);
· a steroid such as prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone, others), cortisone (Cortone), hydrocortisone (Cortef, Hydrocortone, others), or dexamethasone (Decadron, Hexadrol); or
· an anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), or ketoprofen (Orudis KT, Orudis, Oruvail).
• Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with potassium gluconate or affect your condition. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 13, 2007 06:34AM
Mary Ann - most nutritional experts recommend whole fruit rather than juice because of the high carb content of juice. It's just too overwhelming to the glucose handling mechanism to offer health benefits. If you drink alot of juice, you will definitely stimulate the insulin response and that requires potassium. Seems to be counterproductive.

Here's my post on potassium from a few years ago that might be helpful to new readers-

Let's not forget about potassium

Author: Jackie
Date: 03-09-04 09:03

Since I’m always touting the benefits of magnesium….. I want to emphasize strongly the importance of potassium.

The current Conference Room topic deals with the ultimate loss of potassium due to urinary wasting of both K and Mg. This is very important information and if you haven’t been to the CR, by all means go there and read this new topic entitled: The Aldosterone Connection - Breakthrough?

Note this recent exchange and also see the originating thread post by Hans… We all need to pay attention to our potassium stores and daily intake.

Author: Hans Larsen (---.gv.shawcable.net)
Date: 03-07-04 16:31


I think you are right on with the urinary K and Mg wasting. Right after an episode my urinary excretion of K was 2.4 g/day and that of magnesium 178 mg/day. However, 11 days after the end of an episode (1 day before the next episode) my daily K excretion was 3.7 g and the Mg excretion was 230 mg. Over the same period my blood level of Mg went from 0.94 mmol/L to 0.87 mmol/L while my blood level of K fell from 3.6 mmol/L to 3.5 mmol/L. I guess that it is possible that the intracellular levels were similarly affected.


Continuing my post…

Salt depletes potassium. Hypokalemia will very definitely allow palpitations to occur and can even be the initiator of outright fibrillation. Adequate cellular magnesium stores are essential for potassium to do its job.

Since many people are eliminating the higher Glycemic index carbs they are likely also reducing potassium intake. Potatoes….high in potassium, but also high on the GI scale. Oranges – moderate GI but how many times do we eat an orange a day; or a banana – higher still on the GI and almost as bad for reactive hypoglycemia as potato. And smaller appetites will not consume the 3 – 5 grams required.

It’s been suggested that one easy source of potassium is the use of low sodium V-8 as an alternative to consuming huge amounts of vegetables for people with smaller appetites. It can be heated for a nice warm drink as well. Organic vegetable juice – low salt, of course, would be even more ideal But, be a label reader for other ingredients….or blend your own combo of fresh veggies or blend and then cook just a bit. However, one glass of V-8 may not be enough potassium.... read on....

Michael Murray, N.D. says: “It is critical to maintain potassium levels within the body. This can best be done by consuming foods rich in potassium and avoiding foods high in sodium. The daily intake of potassium should be at least 3 to 5 grams a day.”

“Most Americans have a potassium-to-sodium (K:Na) ratio of less than 1:2. This 1:2 ratio indicates people ingest twice as much sodium as potassium. Researchers recommend a ratio of 5:1 to maintain health….or 10 times higher than the average intake."

Some of the potassium containing foods:

Asparagus ½ cup 165 mg. potassium
Avocado ½ 680
Carrot, raw 1 225
Corn ½ cup 136
Lima beans, cooked ½ cup - 581
Spinach, cooked ½ cup 292
Tomato, raw 1 med. 444

Apple 1 med 182
Apricots, dried ¼ cup 318
Banana 1 med 440
Cantaloupe ¼ melon 341
Peach 1 med 263
Strawberries ½ cup 122

Unprocessed meat
Chicken 3 oz. 350
Lamb, leg 3 oz 241
Roast beef 3 oz 224
Pork 3 oz 219

Cod 3 oz 345
Flounder 3 oz 498
Haddock 3 oz 297
Salmon 3 oz 378
Tuna, drained 3 oz 225

Muscle weakness
Mental confusion
Heart disturbances,
Nerve conduction problems
Problems with muscle contraction -often seen in the elderly

Dietary deficiency is typically the cause – too much sodium; low potassium. However, dietary deficiency is less common than that among people who regularly exercise and have higher potassium needs.

The amount of potassium lost in sweat is quite significant, especially with prolonged exercise in a warm environment. Athletes or people who regularly exercise have higher potassium needs. Because up to 3 grams of potassium can be lost in one day by sweating, a daily intake of at least 4 grams of potassium is recommended for these individuals.

Over 95% of the body’s potassium is in the cells. A potassium shortage results in lower levels of stored glycogen. Because exercising muscles uses up glycogen for energy, a potassium deficiency produces great fatigue and muscle weakness, the first signs of potassium deficiency.

Potassium supplements are available in forms of either potassium salts (chloride and bicarbonate) potassium bound to various mineral chelates (aspartate -a no-no for afibbers-, citrate, etc.) and food-based potassium sources.

Supplements are restricted to only 99 mg. per dose because of problems associated with high-dosage potassium salts; however, popular so-called salt substitutes such as NoSalt and Nu-Salt are potassium chloride and provide 530 mg of potassium in 1/6 of a teaspoon. Potassium supplements are also available by prescription in flavored formulas but can produce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and ulcers when given at high-doses.

Dr. Murray recommends only food sources or food-based supplements.

The estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake of potassium set by the Committee on Recommended Daily Allowances is 1.9 grams to 5.6 grams. If diet does not meet body potassium requirements, supplementation is essential to good health. This statement is particularly true for the elderly, athletes, and people with high blood pressure.

Most people can handle excess of potassium. The exception is people with kidney disease and they may experience heart disturbances and other consequences of potassium toxicity. Individuals with kidney disorders usually need to restrict potassium intake and follow the dietary recommendations of their physician. Supplements are contraindicated when using a number of prescription medications, including digitalis, potassium-sparing diuretics and the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor class of blood pressure lowering drugs.


Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements
Michael T. Murray, ND.



You can follow the running commentaries here :

Carol A.
Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 13, 2007 06:55AM
Thanks, everyone for all your help.

I think I now know what I did to cause the digestive upset.

Instead of taking the magnesium and potassium and other supplements with food at breakfast and supper time as I used to do, I changed the routine by spacing them out over the day without food.

I am now back to taking them with food and the protest in my gut has stopped.

Once my tablets of potassium are used up, I will switch over to Hans' powder form. The tablets have always been just a little too large for me to swallow.

However, I still feel slightly nauseated after taking both fish oil and the B-complex.

Mary Ann from Idaho
Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 13, 2007 08:16AM
Thanks, Jackie - I'm going to print it out so I'll have the chart. Maybe through food I can get most of it & won't need much of the powder supplement. m.a.

Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 13, 2007 09:33AM
Carol - sometimes minerals and especially B vitamins can create nausea easily when taken on an empty stomach.

I like the liquid Omega 3 fish oil better than capsules. It's great just off the spoon but with the lemon flavored, you can pour over salad, veggies or even cottage cheese if you eat that. One of the Metagenics reps told me she has the liquid lemon flavored oil over cottage cheese every day for lunch.

Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 13, 2007 10:06AM
Question to Jackie:

I have been taking "Now" brand Potassium Chloride for some time without
any ill effects. Do you feel it advisable to change to Gluconate? Thanks.
Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 13, 2007 10:23AM
Bill - Yes I do.

Even though you have not had any downside to the chloride version, it still carries the reputation to cause gastric irritation. Why tempt fate and have to back pedal from there? When you get ready to replace the chloride, I'd just switch to the NOW bulk powder - potassium gluconate.... it's a great price through Han's website.

It's a very nice powder and very easy to take - even with just plain water.

Repeating again from Michael Murray's book on Nutritional Supplements:

Potassium chloride (potassium salts) can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and ulcers when given in pill form at high-dosae levels. When potassium levels are increased through diet alone, these effects are not present. Therefore the best course is to use foods or food-based potassium supplenents to meet the human body's high potassium requirements.

Many of us have opted to augment dietary potassium intake with supplements and I've used both potassium citrate, glycinate and gluconate. The powdered gluconate form is a very nice delivery.

Re: What kind of potassium supplement?
January 14, 2007 03:03AM
Hello Carol,
I had the same trouble with both fish oil and Vit B.
I changed to the Rx Omega 3 Factors caps (Natural Factors) and to a Vit B Executive Formula with herbs from Blackmores. That made a difference, so maybe a change of brands might help you?
best wishes,
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