Potassium

By: Moira Watson on Apr 9, 2015

Potassium is an important mineral and electrolyte, both inside and outside of the cells. Right now in your body, there is about 140 g of potassium. Potassium has a role in the making of proteins, converting blood sugar to glycogen, and the activation of enzymes. It also helps to controls the movements that occur in the intestinal tract.

On March 3, 2014, in the Federal Register, the Food and Drug Administration proposed to require the declaration of potassium on the Nutrition Facts Panel. The notice in the Federal Register stated the reason for the proposed declaration of potassium was “Adequate potassium intake is beneficial in lowering blood pressure and intakes of this nutrient also are low among some population groups.” You can read more about the proposed revision of the Nutrition and Supplements Facts Labels here.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 also may change its recommendations for potassium intake. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, in a report dated Dec. 15, 2014, identified potassium one of the nutrients which may pose a public health concern due to its deficiency in diets across the United States. The data the committee reviewed in this meeting was made public in a PDF entitled “Food and Nutrient Intakes and Health”, you can access it at this link.

The Watson on-line encyclopedia and database, Nutri-Knowledge℠, is also an excellent source of information on potassium and the current RDI’s.

That being said, Potassium poses a big challenge for Food and Beverage manufacturers looking to fortify their products with Potassium. Perhaps the problem was best explained in the January 20th issue of Food Business News, in an article by Jeff Gelski entitled 'Potassium: Promising yet problematic.'

In this article, many of the considerations described in our webinar 'Selecting the Right Nutrient Form' come into play. Potassium’s 3500 mg DV makes it difficult to work into fortification systems at a level that would have an impact on the Nutritional Facts Label, or allow for other front of label claims such as “A Good Source of Potassium”. Another challenge is the very poor flavor - when coupled with the high use-rate, the flavor impact on the end product can be very dramatic. Potassium will also affect the pH of your finished product, which may also present a challenge.

None of the available forms of Potassium are 100% active. The two most common forms used are Potassium Phosphate or Potassium Citrate. For example, tripotassium citrate is 36.2% potassium. Therefore, you would need to incorporate 967 mg of tripotassium citrate per serving to claim a good source of Potassium on your label.

Learn how Watson can help you navigate the challenges of selecting the right form of each nutrient in our 10 minute on-demand webinar.

View Choosing Nutrient Form Video