What is Potassium Citrate
Potassium citrate is a potassium salt combined with citric acid. It’s a white crystalline powder that attracts and holds water absorbed from the atmosphere (hygroscopic). Potassium citrate is a good source of potassium, as it is 38.28% potassium by weight. Potassium is an essential nutrient and electrolyte that people must obtain by eating potassium-rich foods like bananas, avocados, and sweet potatoes or taking potassium supplements. However, most people don’t consume enough potassium to meet their daily needs. Insufficient potassium can cause cramping, circulatory disorders, and more.
Types of Potassium Salt
Manufacturers use a variety of potassium salts to synthesize potassium supplements. Some of the most common include potassium citrate, potassium gluconate, potassium chloride, and potassium bicarbonate.
Potassium Citrate vs Potassium Gluconate
Potassium gluconate is a potassium salt of gluconic acid. Unlike the citrate type, potassium gluconate isn’t hygroscopic. At 16.69% potassium by weight, potassium gluconate isn’t as rich in potassium as the citrate form.
Potassium Citrate vs Potassium Chloride
Potassium chloride is a combination of potassium and chlorine. Potassium chloride’s primary use is to increase potassium levels affected by medications, diet, or diarrhea. At 52.45% potassium by weight, it is a superior source of potassium. However, potassium citrate is more effective at supporting kidney health.
Potential Potassium Citrate Benefits
Potassium and Calcium
Potassium helps support bone health and sustain bone mass by helping the body retain more calcium.
Potassium Citrate and Kidney Health
Potassium citrate is an alkaline salt that regulates acidity in foods and in the body, which helps support healthy kidney and urinary tract function. Potassium improves how well the body retains calcium, which reduces the urinary loss of calcium. Reducing urinary calcium may help reduce the risk of kidney stones. Elevated uric acid and cysteine levels in urine also contribute to the formation of kidney stones, as they increase urine acidity. Potassium citrate is an alkaline salt that can help neutralize uric acid and cysteine.
Potassium for Leg Cramps
The body needs electrolytes to maintain proper muscle function. Intense physical exercise, sweating, and dehydration can all deplete electrolytes. Attempting to rehydrate can worsen electrolyte imbalances, as water typically only contains trace amounts of electrolytes. Potassium citrate acts as an electrolyte and may relieve muscle cramps and spasms due to an electrolyte imbalance. The vast majority of potassium (80%) exists in muscle tissue, which can help deliver much-needed electrolytes directly to the source.
Potassium and Sodium
Potassium helps reduce fluid buildup and water retention by increasing urine production and sodium excretion.
Potassium and Heart Health
Potassium citrate may improve heart health. Studies have noted the beneficial effects of potassium-rich diets on blood pressure. Potassium citrate functions as a diuretic and may help the body excrete excess sodium. Excess sodium levels elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke.
Potential Potassium Citrate Side Effects
Potassium citrate may cause mild gastrointestinal side effects. These include nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, or diarrhea. Individuals with kidney disorders, impaired kidney function, or adrenal gland disorders should not take potassium citrate supplements. Consult with a physician before starting any new supplement.
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