Potassium is the primary intracellular cation (positive ion) and electrolyte in humans, required for the normal functioning of all cells in the body 1. It is necessary for regulating the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and blood flow 1, 2, 3. “A diet rich in potassium from fruits and vegetables favorably affects acid-base metabolism because these foods are rich in precursors of bicarbonate” 2, 4. Some food sources of potassium include leafy greens (i.e. spinach, kale), fruit of vine-based plants (i.e. tomatoes, pumpkin), root vegetables (i.e. carrots), and dried fruit 1. The kidney regulates the amount of potassium in the body, and most potassium leaves the body through the urine, some is lost in the stool, and a small amount is lost in sweat 1, 2. Heat exposure and exercise can cause increased loss of potassium via sweat 1. 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 1. In healthy individuals, approximately 85% of dietary potassium is absorbed through the intestine 1, 3.

The Food and Nutrition Board for the National Institute for Medicine has established that the Adequate Intake (AI) of potassium for adults and pregnant women is 4.7 grams per day (5.1 grams/day for lactating women) 1, 2, 4. Likewise, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a Daily Reference Value (DRV) of 4700 mg (4.7 g) potassium for adults and children 4 or more years of age starting in January 2020 (21CFR101.9) 5, 6 (updated from 3500 mg potassium/day 7, 8). DRVs are a set of dietary references for energy-producing nutrients, vitamin D, cholesterol, sodium and potassium that are considered amounts sufficient to meet the daily requirements in healthy individuals. DRVs serve as the basis for calculating the percent daily value (%DV) amounts found on dietary supplement and food labels 5, 6, 8, 9.

This ingredient can be found in the following products in United States:


  1. Instiitute of Medicine (IOM). Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Water, Potassium, Sodium Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academies Press (NAP). Washington, DC: 2005. Chapter 5: Potassium.
  2. Natural Medicines database. Professional monograph. Potassium. Product ID no. 851. Last reviewed 2/7/2019. Last updated 2/5/2019. Subscription required.,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=851
  3. Agarwal R, Afzalpurkar R, Fordtran JS. Pathophysiology of potassium absorption and secretion by the human intestine. Gastroenterology 1994;107(2):548-571.
  4. Institute of Medicine (IOM). Food and Nutrition Board (FNB). National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Elements. (Note: Table taken from DRI reports, Retrieved 4/16/2019.
  5. Dietary Supplement Label Database. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Office of Dietary Supplements ()DS). National Library of Medicine (NLM). (note: Labels must comply with the “new” DVs by July 26, 2020).
  6. U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR). 21CFR101.9. Current as of 4/15/2019.
  7. U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide, 2013.
  8. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). National Institutes of Health (NIH). Office of Dietary Supplements. Potassium. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated March 5, 2019.
  9. U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Labeling and Nutrition. Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. Last updated 2/08/2019.