Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that’s essential for proper muscle function. Potassium supplements are particularly popular for people on ketogenic diets, because spending long periods of time in ketosis can cause your potassium levels to drop.
There are also a host of side effects of the ketogenic diet that might be able to be mitigated by a potassium supplement.
Looking for an easy way to sustain your potassium intake on a restrictive diet? We’ve got you covered. Our researchers have ranked the ten best potassium supplements on the market.
1. Solimo Potassium
Solimo, Amazon’s foray into supplement manufacturing, has a pretty basic potassium supplement that’s delivered in the highly soluble gluconate form.
It’s a standard-dose, easily-absorbed form of potassium that’s a good bet if all you need is the basics. If just potassium is what you want, this should be your top pick.
2. Keto Vitals Electrolyte Capsules
With calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, Keto Vitals Electrolyte Capsules are the best choice if you want to take care of all of your electrolytes in one fell swoop.
Since many people on ketogenic diets feel that they are electrolyte deficient, combining these main electrolytes into one supplement seems like a smart idea.
With a super-clean capsule design, it’s an excellent and very pure choice for an all in one electrolyte solution.
3. Code Age Keto Electrolytes
Code Age Keto Electrolytes provides a comprehensive electrolyte supplement designed specifically for the needs of keto dieters.
It has a high dose of magnesium and sodium as well as the standard 100 mg of potassium, so you won’t be lacking any of the key electrolytes your body needs.
This supplement might help combat what some people call the “keto flu,” a listless feeling of fatigue that some keto dieters attribute to a lack of electrolytes.
4. Pure Encapsulations Potassium Citrate
Pure Encapsulations Potassium Citrate delivers a pretty straightforward potassium supplement, albeit with a slightly less common form of potassium.
It’d be a good call if potassium gluconate supplements are upsetting your stomach, or if you don’t feel like you are getting the optimal benefit from other potassium supplements.
5. Thorne Research Potassium Citrate
Thorne Research Potassium Citrate is a pretty straightforward citrate-based potassium supplement. It delivers the usual 99 mg dosage, though the list of additives is a little longer than you might like.
If you are particular about clean supplement design and purity, this isn’t the best option, but it does get the job done.
6. Zenesis Labs Potassium with Iodine
Zenesis Labs delivers potassium alongside iodine, which is a nutrient you may be low in if you are restricting your daily sodium intake.
It’s a good combo if you are taking potassium to reduce leg cramps and muscle spasms, as some people find the addition of iodine helpful. For keto dieters, though, the iodine may not be necessary.
7. Spring Valley Potassium
Spring Valley Potassium is a fairly basic potassium supplement with a lower dosage (90 mg) of the electrolyte per capsule.
It’s not the most minimally designed or cleanest potassium supplement, and because it doesn’t really set itself apart from the crowd, it’s hard to rank this supplement much higher.
8. Hi Lyte Advanced Electrolyte Salt Caps
Hi Lyte Advanced Electrolyte Salt Caps take a maximalist approach to electrolytes. These capsules provide the basics, including potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium, but also a litany of other nutrients, like manganese, tyrosine, and vitamin B6.
While these won’t be necessarily needed if you are just taking potassium for the keto diet benefits, it may be useful if you are looking for a sports-specific electrolyte supplement that comes in capsule-based form.
9. Solgar Potassium
Solgar Potassium uses potassium gluconate and a standard dosage, but the capsules are full of a lot of additives, like silica and dicalcium phosphate, that probably aren’t necessary if all you want is to increase your potassium intake a bit.
Still, it does accomplish what it sets out to do, which is deliver an easily absorbed form of potassium.
10. Nature Made Potassium Gluconate
Nature Made Potassium Gluconate has 90 mg of potassium, which is slightly lower than usual. That’s all right if you only need to boost your intake by a small amount, but purists may not like the rather long list of ingredients other than potassium.
Since other supplement makers manage to make potassium supplements without these additives, you might want to opt for something else if clean supplement design is important to you.
Potassium benefits and side effects
Potassium is a common electrolyte that your muscles use to contract, and it plays a role in just about every biological function in your body.
Many people take potassium supplements as part of a ketogenic diet, as many of the foods that are high in potassium are a no-go on a ketogenic diet.
That includes things like potatoes, yogurt, and of course, bananas. If you’re extra strict, you won’t even be able to include something like coconut water, a natural electrolyte source. Some people on a ketogenic diet develop what they call a “keto flu,” a lethargic sense of listlessness that many people in the keto community attribute to low levels of electrolytes.
It’s possible that a potassium supplement could help correct this, as dysregulated potassium levels are a known complication of keto diets.
Potassium supplements might be able to sustain your body better on a ketogenic diet. Keto diets have been studied for a long time, since they were initially developed to treat intractable epilepsy in children.
Thus, the potential adverse effects of remaining in ketosis for long periods of time have been studied in detail. A scientific report published by doctors at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York in 1998 detailed some of these complications, which can include low or dysregulated potassium levels (1).
Interestingly, the doctors in this study often treated their patients with potassium supplements to help normalize their blood potassium levels.
Now, while it’s hard to draw too many conclusions from these data, as they are from children with epilepsy and often other medical problems, it does still suggest that dysregulated potassium could be one adverse effect of a ketogenic diet that you might be able to address with a potassium supplement.
A potassium supplement might help reduce the risk of kidney stones while on a ketogenic diet. Another adverse effect of the keto diet that’s fairly well-known is an increased rate of kidney stones.
These buildups of calcium in your kidneys can be extremely painful, so anything that can decrease your chance of getting one is a welcome opportunity.
Fortunately, it appears that potassium supplements can also fill this role. Again, research on this phenomenon first surfaced during the course of research on epilepsy, because so many doctors were able to closely supervise people on ketogenic diets.
One study published in 2007 in the Journal of Child Neurology by a team of doctors at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine reported some observational notes on the incidence of kidney stones in children on a ketogenic diet (2).
After observing a group of almost 200 children on a ketogenic diet, the researchers noticed that kidney stones were far less common in children who were taking an oral potassium supplement. They hypothesized that the potassium was able to prevent the buildup of calcium in the kidneys, which can otherwise occur during the unusual metabolic conditions created by the ketogenic diet.
To test this idea, they initiated a formal study that tested the effects of a potassium supplement on over 300 children on a ketogenic diet (3).
The study was published in 2017 in the scientific journal Pediatrics. The researchers found that the potassium supplement was able to decrease the incidence of kidney stones from over six percent to less than one percent.
Thanks to this dramatic improvement, the same group at Johns Hopkins now prescribes a potassium supplement to all of its pediatrics patients who are on a ketogenic diet for the purpose of reducing the risk of kidney stones.
Again, though it’s difficult to draw a direct analogy to adults who are on a ketogenic diet to lose weight, the substantial reduction in risk makes it worth considering.
Some people find that potassium helps with the “keto flu.” Since ketogenic diets for weight loss are such a new popular phenomenon, there isn’t much medical literature on their adverse effects.
One set of symptoms that people on keto diets occasionally report is fatigue, listlessness, and mild aching that some in the keto community ascribe to potassium deficits.
The “keto flu,” as it’s called, might be able to be treated with potassium; however, that’s all speculation and anecdotes right now.
Given the long and slow process of scientific publication, it will likely be a few years before any studies come out on this phenomenon, but in the meantime, it might be worth giving a potassium supplement a try if keto diets are leaving you fatigued, tired, and sore.
Too much potassium is not a good thing. Since it’s so critical to regulating the function of your muscles—which includes your heart—excessive levels of potassium can be quite dangerous.
According to Deepak Bhatt, a medical doctor at Harvard University, it’s for this reason that the United States Food and Drug Administration limits the potassium content of most over the counter supplements to 100 mg or less (4).
However, when taken at normal supplement doses, there are no serious side effects that you need to worry about if you are a healthy adult.
The clinical trials of potassium supplements in people with epilepsy did not note any adverse effects, even though they were used in hundreds of people in fragile health.
The only people who do need to worry about side effects at normal supplemental doses are those who are taking medications to regulate their blood pressure.
These prescription drugs may dysregulate your potassium levels, but it’s not always clear which way it will be dysregulated: too higher or too low.
As such, you should talk to your doctor before taking a potassium supplement if you take drugs like ACE inhibitors or diuretics to control your blood pressure.
Extrapolating from clinical studies, it appears that the FDA limit of 100 mg of potassium per capsule is actually somewhat close to what’s effective at reducing the risk of kidney stones in a ketogenic diet.
It’s a very rough order-of-magnitude calculation, but 100 mg per day is a good place to start. If you are having a doctor oversee your ketogenic diet, he or she might ask you to increase your potassium supplementation regimen, but this will likely be based on specific bloodwork done at the doctor’s office.
Though most people get enough potassium in their diet normally, people who are on a ketogenic diet seem particularly vulnerable to health effects that can be treated by potassium supplementation.
Low or dysregulated potassium levels are somewhat common in people who are on a ketogenic diet, and there is quite robust evidence that supplementing with potassium is a very effective way to reduce the risk of kidney stones while on a ketogenic diet.
You should avoid excessively high doses of potassium, but given that supplements bought over the counter don’t exceed 100 mg of potassium, it’d be hard to take too much.
At these doses, potassium causes no adverse side effects, at least in healthy people. If you take blood pressure medication, however, you should talk to your doctor first.
For people on a ketogenic diet, a potassium supplement is an easy way to help reduce some of the adverse effects associated with the dramatic metabolic changes that can occur during long periods of ketosis, and is worth considering as a part of your keto diet routine.