Potassium: Deadly or Life Saving?

Read this before you stop or start taking potassium. I hope it will give you the information you need.

I was using potassium to aid in treating my hypertension

While working at the doctor’s office full time and a pharmacy part time I found out patients can receive prescriptions for potassium. Always trying to be proactive with my health I was buying potassium over the counter and taking it because of my hypertension. The thought crossed my mind that I was buying the mineral and might be able to get it prescribed and save money. While one of the doctors I worked for waited for her next patient to get disrobed, I asked her if she thought my doctor would prescribe potassium for me.

Too much potassium can stop your heart!

She looked at me like I had asked the best way to commit suicide. Her response was along the lines that too much potassium can stop the heart and one should have their potassium levels tested prior to taking the supplement. She was then called to take care of her next patient, and I went back to the chart I was working on. During my lunch break I called to set up a doctor’s appointment and did not take another potassium tablet until I had my blood tested. The results showed my potassium levels were very low and my family physician recommended I continue to purchase potassium over the counter and take one tablet daily.

Potassium needs to be well balanced. Too much can cause irregular heart beats, slow pulse rates, paralysis, difficulty breathing and needs to be treated immediately. One of conditions brought on by too much potassium is hyperkalemia.

Why do we need potassium?

Potassium has been used in studies and found to be successful in aiding in the control of hypertension. It was also shown to reduce the risk of fatal stroke by 40% and to aid in the following body functions:

  • Growing
  • transmitting nerve impulses
  • building muscles
  • aiding the heart
  • regulating blood pressure
  • assisting by sending oxygen to the brain to improve clear thinking
  • helps to dispose of body waste 
  • helps the body in functioning with allergies

Who should not take potassium supplements?

Normally our kidneys will flush unneeded potassium from our bodies and maintain the proper level, but what if our kidneys are not functioning properly? Those with kidney disease or those who take ACE inhibitors should not take potassium supplements. Those who take ACE inhibitors should strive for proper levels by maintaining a diet high in vegetables and fruits. Those with kidney disease have to carefully monitor their potassium levels as their kidneys will not help them by flushing out excesses.  

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  1. Excellent review on potassium. This info is very important and useful for all of us. Thanks, and have my liked it, sister! :-)

  2. Excellent article about potassium.

  3. I eat a banana every day and get a good supply of tomatoes and spinach. I’ve never had my blood level tested though, and after reading this, I think I should.

  4. Chan, Papaleng, and Anne, thanks so much for your support. I wish all of you good health.

    Take care & God bless.

  5. Thanks for the info Judy :) It’s a little scary to think that one supplement can kill you and save you at the same time… yikes…

    Good info :D

  6. Great information! I learnewd a lot about potassium. Like it!

  7. Thanks for the great information Judy.

  8. Judy, I advise everybody to check with their doctor before taking potassium supplements. I am on a low potassium diet because of kidney problems. Potassium can be fatal for anyone with kidney problems. I watch my intake of potassium rich veggies. I cannot eat potatoes,tomatoes, beans, nuts, bananas and other vegetables. Those mentioned are the ones I avoid completely. You have listed very helpful information for everyone.

  9. This is interesting, Judy. Hypertension runs in my family. I didnn\’t know all of this about potassium. Thank you so much for the information.

  10. Alexa, if your kidneys are operating properly there is generally nothing to be concerned about, but if you are taking medications you should consult your doctor first. It’s always safer to speak to your doctor before taking a new supplement any way.

    Mrs. Heart & Moses, I did too. I enjoy sharing information.

    Ruby, I am sorry to hear that, but grateful that you are aware so you can be careful with your diet.

    CA, It runs in my family too, which is why I started researching. Sure enough I inherited it.

    Thanks everyone for your support. Take care & God bless!

  11. During her last three years of life, my mother was on a prescription potassium supplement because the medications she was taking constantly leached potassium from her system. However, excessive amounts of almost any mineral or vitamin has potential for harm. I’m so glad you published this important information.

  12. Excellent information!

  13. Great information to know, Judy! I also love banana, spinach, and leafy greens so I think I am doing alright!

  14. Daisy, Valli & BC, thanks so much for your support.

    Daisy, I am glad your mother was under medical care and her levels were being monitored.

    BC, sounds like you are on the right path.

    Take care & God bless!

  15. Such a good article! I was told to take potassium by one doctor and got really sick on it. I soon found out how dangerous it was. Thanks for the great article.

  16. …Hi Judy, always love your articles. We take potassium because, of a need for balance, when taking a form of water pill
    for a specific condition, but we try to keep the level low. This is very interesting, the things you don’t know can hurt you. Thank you.

  17. Deanna and Quiet Voice, I think that is what the doctor was trying to tell me “the things you don’t know CAN hurt you.”
    If our kidneys are functioning properly there is a little cause for alarm in taking too much potassium, but have you noticed supplements are only 99 mg.? If we can improve our eating habits and get our potassium naturally we are better off, but then if our potassium levels get too low we are at risk too.

    Thanks for reading and leaving comments.

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