As a nation, we are divided on adequate potassium intake. Articles either suggest we get plenty from food daily or we are deficient. Although this statement can be said about the articles on most vitamins and minerals, in the case of potassium, we are a divided nation for a reason. Once you research potassium further, you’ll see that even the United States health agencies don’t agree on the adequate daily intake.
So what is adequate potassium intake? The answer is that it depends upon which health agency’s information you follow. Intake recommendations for potassium are provided in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI’s) developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). NASEM uses the term Adequate Intake (AI) for recommended intakes of potassium. The NASEM has an Adequate Intake of potassium (AI) of 2,600 mg for females 19 years or older and 3,400 mg for males 19 years or old. Simple, right? Not so fast. You also have the FDA that has developed Daily Values (DV). The FDA’s Daily Value is 4,700 mg for anyone over four years old.
This is a huge discrepancy.
Who is right? Why the gender difference in the NASEM’s AI? Why the discrepancies in the age difference? Why do we use AI and DV over RDA and who created all this new alphabet soup? I wish I could tell you there is logic to all of this information. Basically, it boils down to two government agencies trying to establish their expertise in this area. In the link below, the National Institute of Health addresses both these agencies’ adequate potassium intake but leaves the consumer wondering which is right. Sheer confusion.
Potassium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
On top of this, we know that potassium in pill form is dangerous. A potassium supplement contains only 95 mg. The recommended dose is only one pill. YET! There is no tolerable upper limit set for potassium. Because there was insufficient data to set an upper tolerable limit, none has been set. Confused yet?
What does this mean to those who are dehydrated and suffering from vitamin B6 toxicity? It requires that we educate ourselves a bit more on the matter.
A percentage of the FDA’s Daily Value (DV) is the value that is required on packaging. Again, the DV of potassium is 4,700 mg. If you look at any packaged food, it will have a percentage of DV of potassium on the label. The full liter of Pedialyte that is recommended in the B6T Protocol on the first two days, will be a good example to clarify this information. There is 780 mg of potassium in a liter of Pedialyte. That is considered 15% of Daily Value (DV) of potassium. BUT!!! The nutritional database that we recommend, Cronometer, uses Adequate Intake (AI). That same 780 mg for a liter of Pedialyte is a very different percentage for Adequate Intake values. This 780 mg of potassium is considered 30% AI for females 19 years or older and 23% AI for males 19 years or older.
When we look at the leaders of hydration (Pedialyte is an example), they are using 45% sodium to 15% potassium. This is about a 3 to 1 ratio. Notice the word used is sodium. Salt is sodium and chloride. Pedialyte also has 50% chloride. When we use salt we are getting both the sodium and chloride we need for hydration. The B6T Protocol with a total of 3/8 teaspoon in the water (total), 1/2 liter of coconut water and 1/3 liter of Pedialyte has an about 2 to 1 ratio. The reason for the 2 to 1 ratio is that it is easier to get salt from your diet than potassium.
The reason it is harder to get potassium from the diet is that most high potassium foods are also high B6 foods. Thanks to the B6T Smart – Understanding B6 Toxicity Facebook group, we have a list of the higher potassium foods that are also lower B6. The list below is going to list the potassium in mg form and the B6 as a percentage of RDA (for most adults). The reason is the confusion discussed over how much potassium is right.
|Food||Amount||Potassium||% RDA B6|
|Almonds, Oil Roasted Salted||15 each||135 mg||2%|
|Apricots, Dried Uncooked||.5 cup||755 mg||7%|
|Arugula||2 cups||147 mg||2%|
|Black Cherry Juice||1 cup||550mg||6%|
|Cherries, Sweet Raw||15 each||273 mg||5%|
|Clams||6 Large||706 mg||1%|
|Coconut water, Sweet, Not Fortified||1 cup||508 mg||5%|
|Coconut water, Unsweet, Not Fortified||1 cup||404 mg||6%|
|Cottage Cheese, Low Fat||1/2 cup||116 mg||5%|
|Figs, Dried Uncooked||.5 cup||506 mg||6%|
|Goat Meat||3 oz.||344 mg||0%|
|Goat Milk||1 cup||489 mg||9%|
|Heart of Palms||1 cup||258mg||2%|
|Nectarine, Raw||1 Large||313 mg||3%|
|Peach, Raw||1 Large||332 mg||3%|
|Pear Juice||1 cup||326 mg||2%|
|Pear, Raw||1 Medium||206 mg||4%|
|Split Peas, Cooked from Dried||1 cup||709 mg||7%|
|Tilapia, Cooked||3 oz.||323mg||8%|
Finally, here is a good link for high potassium foods. You will need to check the B6 content of each.
Food Sources of Potassium
We recommend a monthly metabolic panel (checks potassium, sodium, chloride). We operate better if our potassium is a high normal. If you are having problems getting to a high normal, then work with your doctor. Doctors can prescribe a high dose of potassium in a pill form, but they need to know your medical history.
As you settle into the Protocol, you will want to dig deeper into your potassium intake. The solution is for you to decide how much potassium is best for you. Females need to decide on a value of adequate potassium intake between 2,600 mg (AI) and 4,700 (DV). Males need to decide on a value of adequate potassium intake between 3,400 mg (AI) and 4,700 (DV).
Orange Juice Overdose – A Quirky Case History of Potentially Fatal Hyperkalemia
Potassium Intake of the U.S. Population
See also: Hydration!!! Water, Salt, Potassium, Sugar
Desperation Causes Desperate Decisions