• Essential for controlling the balance of fluids in the body.
  • Essential for the normal functioning of cells.
  • Needed for muscles contractions.
  • A diet rich in potassium may lower blood pressure as it promotes the loss of sodium in the urine.
  • It helps maintain steady heartbeat and it is vital for normal functioning of the cells and nerves.


  • Low blood potassium can be a result of severe diarrhoea.
  • Symptoms of low potassium in the blood include mental confusion, weakness and in extreme cases, heart failure.


  • High potassium intake may result to stomach pain, diarrhoea and nausea.
  • High doses of potassium from supplements may be harmful particularly if kidneys are not functioning properly.

Examples of dietary sources include:

  • Meat (e.g. beef), chicken, turkey,  fish, shellfish, milk, fruits particularly bananas, vegetables (e.g. parsnips, Brussel sprouts), nuts, seeds, pulses.

Reference Nutrient Intakes (approximate values for adults):

  • 3,500 mg a day for men
  • 3, 500 mg a day for women



British Nutrition Foundation., 2016. [online]. Available from: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/

Harvard Health Publications., 2009. Listing of vitamins. [online]. Available from: http://www.health.harvard.edu

National Health Service. 2016. [online]. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx

Department of Health. 1991. Dietary reference values for food energy and nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: The Stationery Office.



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