Q:

For whom do doctors recommend taking potassium supplements?

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Quick Answer

Most people do not need to take potassium supplements, but doctors suggest that those with low potassium due to smoking, alcohol abuse or athletics take supplements, according to WebMD. Others who may need potassium supplements include those on certain medications or those with physically demanding jobs.

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Full Answer

There are guidelines for how much potassium a person should take, which is based on age, claims WebMD. Adults and children over the age of 14 should get 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day. The only exception to this is for women who are breastfeeding. These women should get 5,100 milligrams a day.

Supplements are not the only way to get enough potassium in the diet, states WebMD. There are a number of foods that are high in potassium, too. Bananas, avocados and nuts, such as peanuts and almonds, are good sources of potassium. Citrus fruits, milk and leafy, green vegetables are also good for potassium intake. Potatoes contain potassium, but people are advised that boiling food can destroy potassium.

Most potassium supplements are safe, but some may interact with other drugs, explains WebMD. Patients who are taking medications for diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure should not take potassium supplements without consulting a doctor. Those with kidney disease, stomach ulcers or Addison's disease should also talk to a doctor before taking potassium supplements.

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