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do you track your potassium intake?

I'm just learning about the importance of potassium in the diet, and also getting some banana and avocado in before a workout. Really has helped. How many of you track potassium intake or think it is important?

Thu. Sep 6, 11:39am

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Apparently this is not a mineral we have a problem getting enough of. My reasoning: the FDA doesn't allow more than 99mg - just 3% of the RDA - in OTC vitamin supplements, which to me means that there are fairly serious consequences to overdoing potassium.

Therefore, the only time I think about it is before running because I have problems with leg cramping. My bowl of cereal and banana give me about 1/3 of my potassium for the day and seem to do the trick.

Thursday, September 06, 2007, 12:27 PM

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not true- scientists closely link potassium levels to high blood pressure and heart disease. When potassium levels increase in people, hypertension lowers. People need both sodium and potassium for heart function, nervous system function.

This is from a university website:

Why do we need potassium?

Along with sodium, calcium and magnesium, potassium helps your body maintain a normal blood pressure and heartbeat. It helps muscles contract, nerves send messages, and in general helps cells do what they are supposed to do.

Potassium also helps the body maintain a proper fluid balance. If there's too much fluid, potassium sends it to the bladder. This can lower blood pressure because as the body gets rid of excess water, excess sodium, which tends to raise blood pressure, goes along with it.

Not everyone's body reacts to sodium in the same way. Only those who are "salt sensitive" need to worry about sodium raising their blood pressure. Unfortunately, no one knows who is salt sensitive and who isn't.

Still, even salt-sensitive people can protect themselves by consuming high levels of potassium. But, unless your doctor prescribes them, there's no reason to take potassium supplements. You can get the recommended amount -- established in 2004 at 4,700 milligrams a day for people 14 or older -- directly from food, and that's what the 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest.

A word of caution: The "Daily Value" for potassium used on Nutrition Facts labels uses the older standard of 3,500 milligrams a day, so if one of your favorite foods says it offers 10 percent of the Daily Value of potassium, it means it's giving you 350 milligrams, not 470.

Still, you'll be relieved to know that a variety of foods are high in potassium. In fact, an appendix in the Dietary Guidelines lists dozens of such foods: a five-ounce baked sweet potato contains almost 700 milligrams of potassium. A quarter-cup of tomato paste contains 664 milligrams. Five ounces of baked potato flesh has 610 milligrams. A half-cup of canned white beans contains 595 milligrams. An eight-ounce container of plain non-fat yogurt contains 579 milligrams. A half-cup of tomato puree contains 534 milligrams. Other high-potassium foods include winter squash, spinach, bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, tomato juice, tomato sauce, cod, trout, pork chops, milk and orange juice.

Thursday, September 06, 2007, 7:51 PM

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We do NEED potassium, however the first responder is right-it is dangerous to take in too much of it. Try to get "enough" potassium but don't go overboard-Excess potassium can cause abdominal distress, muscle weakness, and, in rare cases, dangerous heart events. People with conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease, that increase potassium levels, especially should not take in too much. People who take medications, such as ACE inhibitors or potassium-sparing diuretics that limit the kidney's ability to excrete potassium, should not take potassium supplements.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet w/ lots of fruits and veggies, but don't single out one nutrient to load up on. It's not natural or healthy!

Thursday, September 06, 2007, 9:56 PM

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Heh! This thread has reminded me of the perils of banana overdosing a la Peter Andre. See a short synopsis in the link below. It's from a blog, but it sums it up succinctly and I cannot find anything more detailed about it...


Friday, September 07, 2007, 9:17 AM

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which university? where's the link to the study so we can check out who participated and who conducted it? who monitored the results and interpretted them? overdosing on potassium is deadly. think about it, OP. if this is the first time you've learned about the importance of potassium, how'd you get by so long before eating more bananas and avocadoes? you would have been taught that it's essential in certain doses that food cannot provide if that was actually true. most americans have no issues with absorbing enough from the foods, beverages and fortified products that are in most markets. stop panicking people.

Friday, September 07, 2007, 10:10 AM

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Potassium overdose is definitely real, it's called "hyperkalemia." Usually it happens when
people have bad kidney functions, or become dehydrated, suffer trauma, or don't consume
enough sodium. Just eating a lot of potassium usually won't cause it- your body has
mechanisms to deal with the excess- but if you don't consume enough sodium (from leafy
greens, etc) to balance it out then there might be a problem. Without enough sodium, your
cells will expand too much and possibly burst. In your body the ratio is about 3/1 potassium
to sodium.

Friday, September 07, 2007, 10:19 AM

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If your thinking of a high potassium diet read this first

Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 12:09 PM

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I do. I get wicked narsy leg cramps if I don't track it. If you don't seem to be getting them, you're probably getting enough.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007, 12:54 AM

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I take huge amounts of diuretics a day (200 mg ) and so I have to take a large amount of potassium but for me that wasn't enough I also have to take magnesium. After about 6 months without it I was jerking and having a really bad time of it.
And I have also noticed that sometimes even that wasn't enough and I had to have a banana. I have also seen where salt is necessary for a while.
Our bodies are complex and individual.
I suggest if you are concerned see your doctor.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007, 2:25 AM

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