Reason for the post: Massive, life-altering change, almost immediately. Data indicates it may be happening to many people, esp athletes. Now holding solid after 4 - 6 mo trial. Want to share.
[K = Potassium, Na = Sodium.]
Background: Competitive swimmer young, and then runner early teens to early twenties. Doing 10K 3-5 x / week from 18 – 26 yo. Salt is bad for your health, K is just in your diet, no need to augment.
Approx 22 yrs old having digestive trouble. Fast style. 10 s countdown, in public. Multiple intolerable public events. Go to Doc. Diagnosed w “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”. Friend of mine had same diagnosis. Slow style. 4 days, no action. “IBS” is just a term they use when they don’t know what’s up.
WHAT is up? Docs can’t do anything past this. “IBS”. Suffer for 18 ish years, playing terrible game of diet changes, elimination diets, etc. Nothing works.
Approx 18 years, “normal” happens less than once a month. 99% of the time, washroom time is definitely very off, NOT OK. About 60 – 80% of days, washroom happens 3 – 8 x / day, and NOT nicely.
Approx 20 yrs old, “Restless Leg Syndrome”. Twitchy legs at night, can’t sleep. Leg cramps during the day. Continues for 20 years. Docs: “Nothing we can do.”
TrainerRoad Nov 2022. Started reading about Na loss, learned quickly K also lost. Much less than Na, but in large amounts, esp vs. non-active people. Body has ability to regulate K, if no sweating. In sweating, it looses that ability, and will lose K no matter what. But you DO lose a basal rate to urine. There IS a daily required value.
So, first I Jacked Na consumption through the roof. Salt on everything. Trying for 5 – 10g / day. Minor changes, but not much. Pretty much the same.
EDITED: ORIGINAL: Started taking K 800 mg / day total, 400mg w lunch and dinner. NEW EDIT: @Pbase pointed out: 800 mg Potassium Gluconate [my mistake, not citrate], not 800 mg K. Looks like it is approx 16.7% K by wgt = 134 mg K.
It took approx. 3 days. Gone . Washroom 0 – 3 x / day, extremely well. Whenever I want, zero countdowns. Can wait for a few hrs, if needed, for the first time in my life. Zero leg cramps. And sleeping better. [?] Holding steady for 4 – 6 months now. I have a new life.
Govt of Canada says 3.4 GRAMS per day: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/public-involvement-partnerships/notice-proposal-update-nutrition-labelling-table-daily-values/document.html
USA says 4.7 GRAMS: Potassium - Health Professional Fact Sheet.
[Here’s another tag from Harvard, pegging it at 2300 – 3400, depending on age and sex. Not accounting for loss due to heavy sweat. Potassium | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health ]
Let’s take an average of 4 g:
Context, high K rated foods per day, to reach this target:
Bananas: 358 mg K / 100g. Avg Banana wgt = 118 g = Approx 11 bananas.
Raisins: 749 mg K / 100g. = 530 g = 1.1 lbs of raisins
Potatoes: 535 mg K / 100g. = Six and a half potatoes.
We don’t need to go on. For fun, to cut these in thirds, you’d need 3.6 bananas, 0.4 lbs of raisins and 2.1 potatoes in one day to meet this. Other foods are way lower in K.
This is for an average individual; one not losing additional K through sweat.
Although you def don’t want to be onboarding 5 – 10 x your daily requirements for K, as this will overload your kidneys, you will expel additional K through urine. My current understanding is it’s a “You can have too little, but within reason, you can’t have too much.” situation.
At 800 mg / day, with an ideal DV of somewhere between 3400 – 4000, I’m def not on the “too much” line.
And my life is night and day different. I can go into public without fear. No leg cramps. Sleep like the dead. Completely subjectively, I also felt like my energy was always low, especially on the bike. I have been killing it since this change, and feeling great in recovery.
3 – 4 mo after starting, and originally was taking 1000 mg 2 x / day, had blood test, K values exactly where they should be. NOT over.
So… are / were we all just K deficient?
Only 2 possibilities: 1 – We’re all K deficient. 2 – Can & USA govt values are WAY off; you don’t need anywhere near 3.4 – 4 g / day. And I magically got better, by some star alignment thing, while simultaneously adjusting my daily K values, and changing nothing else.
Bottom line / point of post: Taking 800 – 2000 mg K Citrate per day [on top of tons of Na, already in the mix] changed my life. It sounds like I might not be alone, and that there’s a minimal / zero risk level to trialing it.