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chloride forms of potassium—the forms found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and other potassium-rich foods.

An EAR could not be set for potassium because the data currently available do not provide multiple dose levels within the range to determine the point at which the diet of approximately half of those evaluated would be inadequate for potassium. Thus an AI is given. The AI for potassium is set at 4.7 g (120 mmol) per day for adults (see Table S-3). Available evidence indicates that this level of potassium intake should lower blood pressure, blunt the adverse effects of sodium chloride on blood pressure, reduce the risk of kidney stones, and possibly reduce bone loss. It is important to note that the beneficial effects of potassium in these studies appear to be mainly from the forms of potassium that are associated with bicarbonate precursors—the forms found naturally in foods such as fruits and vegetables.

At present, dietary intakes of potassium by all groups in the United States and Canada are considerably lower than the AI. In recent surveys, the median intake of potassium by adults in the United States was approximately 2.9 to 3.2 g3 (74 to 82 mmol)/day for men and 2.1 to 2.3 g (54 to 59 mmol)/day for women; in Canada, the median intakes ranged from 3.2 to 3.4 g (82 to 87 mmol)/day for men and 2.4 to 2.6 g (62 to 67 mmol)/day for women. Because African Americans have lower intakes of potassium and a higher prevalence of elevated blood pressure and salt sensitivity, this subgroup of the population would especially benefit from an increased intake of potassium.

It should be noted that individuals with chronic renal insufficiency, who may be taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, certain diuretics, individuals with type 1 diabetes, and those taking cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX 2) inhibitors or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs, should consume levels of potassium recommended by their health care professional, which may well be lower than the AI.

Sodium Chloride

Sodium and chloride are normally found together in most foods as sodium chloride, also termed salt. For that reason, this report presents data on the requirements for and the effects of sodium and


To convert g of potassium to mmol of potassium, divide g by 39.1 (the molecular weight of potassium) and multiply by 1,000.

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