How Can I Raise My Potassium Level?

Reviewed on 4/27/2022
A bottle pouring out potassium supplement pills
To increase potassium in the diet when you have hypokalemia (low potassium), consuming foods high in potassium and restricting salt intake can help.

A low potassium level in the blood is called hypokalemia, and it is usually a symptom of another disease or condition or a side effect of diuretic drugs. 

The U.S. Dietary Reference Intakes state there is not enough evidence to establish a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for potassium, but the National Academy of Medicine established an Adequate Intake (AI) for potassium as follows: 

  • For females 
    • 14 to 18 years of age, the AI is 2,300 mg daily
    • 19 years and older: 2,600 mg
    • During pregnancy and lactation: AI ranges from 2,500-2,900 depending on age
  • For males
    • 14 to 18 years of age, the AI is 3,000 mg
    • 19 years and older: 3,400 mg

Treatment for low levels of potassium includes addressing the underlying cause. In severe cases, potassium chloride may be administered orally or intravenously. 

27 Healthy, Potassium-Rich Foods

To increase potassium in the diet, consume foods high in potassium such as: 

  • Artichokes
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Beans (baked, black, pinto, etc.)
  • Beet greens
  • Bran products such as cereals
  • Broccoli
  • Brown or wild rice
  • Chicken
  • Coconut water
  • Dairy and plant milks such as soy or almond
  • Dried fruits (raisins, apricots)
  • Granola 
  • Lentils
  • Melons
  • Nuts such as almonds and cashews
  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Plantains
  • Potatoes
  • Prunes 
  • Raisins 
  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes 
  • Whole-wheat bread and pasta
  • Winter squash (acorn, butternut)
  • Yogurt

Dietary restriction of salt can also help because high rates of sodium excretion can increase potassium loss in urine.

People who exercise or participate in sports in warm weather should replace potassium lost through excessive sweating. This can be done through diet, sports drinks that contain potassium, or supplements

What Are Symptoms of Low Potassium (Hypokalemia)?

Low potassium (hypokalemia) often doesn’t cause any symptoms. When symptoms occur, they may include: 

What Causes Low Potassium Levels?

Low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia) always occurs as a result of excessive loss of potassium through the urine, sweat, or stool. It is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of another disorder.

Conditions that can cause low potassium include:

  • Use of diuretics (which increases urination)
  • Magnesium deficiency in the blood
  • Excessive mineralocorticoids such as aldosterone in the blood which affect the electrolyte and fluid balance in the body (usually caused by endocrine diseases)
  • Kidney disorders
  • Use of high doses of penicillin
  • Prolonged diarrhea or vomiting
  • Chronic laxative abuse
  • Inadequate dietary intake of potassium
  • Intestinal obstruction 
  • Infections such as fistulas 
  • Excessive perspiration due to hot weather or exercise 

How Is Hypokalemia Diagnosed?

Low potassium levels are diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination, and tests such as:


Sleep Disorders: Foods That Help Sleep or Keep You Awake See Slideshow

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 4/27/2022
Image Source: iStock Images