Potassium bicarbonate is available in the form of supplements. It is an alkaline mineral supplement used to prevent or treat low level of potassium in blood.
As we know that potassium is an important electrolyte, found in vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, bananas, spinach etc. Normal level of potassium is very essential for the proper functioning of muscles and to maintain the health of bones and heart. In addition, it is essential to maintain a healthy digestive system as it counters the negative effect of an acidic diet.
If you eat a well-balanced diet, you get enough potassium for the proper functioning of heart, kidney, nerves and muscles. However, due to certain health conditions such as severe prolong diarrhoea, hyperaldosteronism or due to certain medications such as diuretics if the level of potassium decreases to an abnormally low level, it causes muscle weakness, cramps, gastric distress, low energy and irregular heartbeat.
Thus, in patients suffering from potassium deficiency, potassium bicarbonate supplement helps to counter the above symptoms.
Those who do not get enough potassium in their diet are also suggested to take potassium bicarbonate supplements.
Benefits of potassium bicarbonate supplement includes
- Improves the health of heart – Studies indicate that including potassium bicarbonate in the diet reduces blood pressure and improves the health of the heart. Participants taking potassium bicarbonate supplement showed improvement in the function of the endothelium. Blood flow improves, and eventually, the risk of stroke lowers.
- Dissolves uric acid stones in Kidney – People who consume lots of purines are likely to develop uric acid stones in the kidney. Potassium being alkaline neutralizes the acid, reduces the level of uric acid and dissolves the stones in kidney-formed due to excess of uric acid. However, along with the supplement you also require to bring dietary changes.
- Strengthens Bone – Studies show that consumption of potassium bicarbonate supplement reduces the loss of calcium from bones and thus strengthens bones. In addition, studies show that there is an increase in calcium absorption on taking this supplement. Potassium bicarbonate reduces the acid level in blood and thus protects musculoskeletal damage.
- Manages hypokalaemia – Long term or excessive diarrhoea or vomiting or conditions of bowels such as ulcerative colitis or hypokalaemia results in potassium deficiency. So your doctor may recommend potassium bicarbonate supplement if level of potassium is too low
Although there is so many benefits of taking potassium bicarbonate supplements consumption of too much potassium leads to hyperkalaemia that is so dangerous that it can even lead to death.
Symptoms of hyperkalaemia include
- Low blood pressure
- Numbness and tingling
- Irregular heartbeat
- nausea and vomiting
- weakness and paralysis of limbs
- cardiac arrest
This is why it is suggested to discuss your medical need with your health care provider before taking potassium bicarbonate.
Potassium bicarbonate may not be recommended or you may need special test or dose adjustment if you have health conditions discussed below:
- Stomach ulcers
- Intestinal blockage
- Kidney disease
- Addison’s disease.
*Pregnant women should not take potassium bicarbonate. Tell your doctor if you are planning to get pregnant or if you are pregnant. Potassium bicarbonate belongs to FDA pregnancy category C and can harm unborn baby.
*It is unknown whether potassium bicarbonate can pass into breast milk or not and if it passes it harms nursing baby or not. This is why do not use it if you are breast-feeding without consulting your doctor.
In addition, it is important to note that potassium bicarbonate may interact or interfere with certain medications such as:
- Blood pressure medications
- ACE inhibitors
- A beta-blocker
- A steroid
If you are taking these medicines, you need to tell this to your healthcare provider.
Side effects of potassium bicarbonate
Potassium bicarbonate supplement may cause less serious side effects such as:
- Upset stomach
- A rash
- Slight tingling in feet and hands
Nevertheless, if you experience any of the symptoms discussed below after taking potassium bicarbonate supplement immediately see you doctor:
- Uneven heartbeat
- Tiredness, weakness
- Abdominal cramp or pain
- Tarry, black or bloody stool.
Get emergency help if you experience symptoms of allergy such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty in breathing
- Swelling of tongue, lip, face or throat.
How to take potassium bicarbonate supplement
Do not exceed the dose of potassium bicarbonate as recommended by your doctor. Do not take the supplement longer than recommended. To lessen the stomach upset take it with milk or food.
Dissolve the effervescent tablet in a glass of water and drink the solution when tablet is completely dissolved. Do not save to drink later.
Do not stop medicine without consulting your doctor or your condition may get worse.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you are two or more hours late in taking potassium bicarbonate supplement, skip the missed dose and take the next dose as scheduled. No need to take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.
If you think, you had by mistake had overdose seek emergency medical attention.
The symptoms of overdose includes
- Numbness and tingling in feet and hands.
- Uneven heart rate
- Feeling like you might pass out
- Heaviness in chest
- Chest pain
- Seizures or convulsion
Dear Readers potassium bicarbonate supplements are available over the counter, but we do not recommend you to take it unless prescribed by your doctor.
*Store Potassium Bicarbonate supplement at room temperature away from heat and moisture.