Potassium is the primary intracellular cation (positive ion) in humans, required for the normal functioning of all cells in the body. It is necessary for regulating the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and blood flow. Fruits and non-grain vegetables are rich in potassium. Potassium citrate and potassium phosphate are the two forms of potassium naturally found in foods, while potassium chloride is the form most commonly added to processed foods and used in dietary supplements. In healthy individuals, approximately 85% of dietary potassium is absorbed through the intestine. Most potassium leaves the body through the urine; however, heat exposure and exercise can cause increased loss of potassium via sweat 1.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a Daily Reference Value (DRV) of 3,500 mg potassium for adults and children 4 or more years of age (21CFR101.9). DRVs are a set of dietary references for energy-producing nutrients, cholesterol, sodium and potassium that are considered amounts sufficient to meet the daily requirements of healthy individuals. DRVs serve as the basis for calculating the percent daily value (%DV) amounts found on dietary supplement and food labels.