Potassium is More than Necessary

In combination with other minerals in the body, potassium forms alkaline salts that are important in body processes. All body cells, especially muscle tissue, require a high content of potassium and that is why we get muscle cramps when we are low in potassium. A proper balance between sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium in the blood plasma is necessary for proper cardiac function. Potassium also helps maintain healthy digestive and muscular function.

Moreover, potassium bicarbonate significantly reduces calcium excretion even in high protein diets. In addition, potassium bicarbonate reduces nitrogen secretion as well as magnesium excretion. The combined benefits of potassium bicarbonate of enhancing calcium, magnesium and protein retention, while enhancing water excretion, are beneficial. There is considerable evidence to suggest that potassium bicarbonate supplementation may well help prevent osteoporosis, reduce blood pressure, reduce weight and even improve adult onset diabetes.[1]

One paper reported during a 12-year follow-up of 356 men and 503 women, who were 50 to 79 years old,[2] showed that the relative risks of stroke-associated mortality was lower for potassium sufficient subjects. Another study[3] of 5,600 men and women older than 65 years and who were free of strokes, followed for 4 to 8 years, reported that a lower serum potassium level was associated with an increased relative risk of stroke (RR:1.5, p<0.005).

[1] Eur J Nutr, 2001, 40: 200-213

[2] Khaw et al. Dietary potassium and stroke-associated mortality. N Engl J Med316:235-40 (1987).

[3] Green et al. Serum potassium level and dietary potassium intake as risk factors for stroke. Neurology 59:314-20 (2002).