Expert Advice

Why You Should Consider Your Potassium Intake

Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC., is partnering with Lindy Ford, RD, LDN to bring greater awareness to the importance of thyroid care and education. This post is sponsored by Acella Pharmaceuticals.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice. Consult a medical professional or healthcare provider before beginning any exercise, fitness, diet, or nutrition routine. Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC does not endorse, promote or sponsor any products or brands mentioned in this article. The views expressed here are those of the author.

When I help my patients increase their consumption of potassium, it is often a game-changer for their health. Potassium is an important but often overlooked nutrient, and we have just started to fully understand its benefits in the last few years.

What is potassium and what does it do in your body?

Once inside your body, potassium functions as an electrolyte, which gives it the ability to conduct electricity. Your body uses this electricity to manage multiple functions, including muscle contractions (including the heart), nerve signals, and fluid balance.

Potassium regulates fluid balance through your body’s sodium potassium pump, which means potassium enters the cell and allows sodium to get excreted from the body.

Blood Pressure Benefits

Good blood pressure balance is essential to thyroid health. Thyroid dysfunction, both hypo- and hyperthyroidism, may increase the risk of hypertension.1 Potassium helps to ease tension in the blood vessel walls and to excrete excess sodium.

Bone Density Benefits

I am seeing more and more osteopenia (precursor to osteoporosis) and osteoporosis in women in my practice. In my experience, a lack of a nutrient-dense diet can contribute to this. Potassium may help prevent bone loss by preserving calcium in the body.2 Potassium’s other benefits include lowering the incidence of kidney stones, protecting against strokes, and decreasing muscle cramping.3

How much potassium do you need?

Focusing on a well-balanced and healthy diet will help meet potassium goals. Talk to your healthcare provider or dietician about your specific dietary needs and nutrient intake. These practitioners are best suited to tell you how much potassium is right for your specific medical situation. Don’t take potassium on your own or without your healthcare provider or dietician’s approval.

Should you supplement with potassium?

No, don’t take any potassium supplementation unless recommended by your health care provider. I advise my patients to incorporate potassium-rich foods as your intake source.

What foods should you eat to increase your potassium status?

Potassium is found mainly in vegetables, legumes, and fruits. We've been conditioned to first think of bananas, but did you know that 1 cup of lima beans or an avocado has almost twice the amount of potassium as a banana? I don’t recommend eating a lot of bananas for people with blood sugar issues.

Other great sources of potassium include cooked spinach and other dark leafy greens, baked potato with skin, lentils, sweet potato, canned tomatoes, cooked mushrooms, canned pumpkin, artichokes, cantaloupe, grapefruit, carrots, and snow peas.

To see a comprehensive list, go to: Potassium could be a game-changer for you. It directly supports your overall health and supports your thyroid indirectly. Often times when my patients eat more potassium-rich foods, their blood pressure and weight go down, and their energy and overall health go up.

REFERENCES: 1. PEszter, Berta, Lengyel ,Inez et al, Hypertension in Thyroid Disorders, Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019; 10: 482. Published online 2019 Jul 17. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2019.00482. 2. Macdonald, Helen M et al. Low dietary potassium intakes and high dietary estimates of net endogenous acid production are associated with low bone mineral density in premenopausal women and increased markers of bone resorption in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr.  2005 Apr;81(4):923-33.  doi: 10.1093/ajcn/81.4.923. 3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022, June 2). Office of dietary supplements - potassium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.


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Revised 10/2023