Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Food and Allergy

Potassium - assessment of suggested maximum limits in food supplements


Report no: 2017: 17

Published: 30.05.2017

Key message:

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety suggests that a provisional tolerable upper intake level for potassium is set at 3000 mg per day.

VKM has, at the request from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, evaluated the intake of potassium in the Norwegian population in relation to upper intake levels. VKM has also evaluated the consequences of amending the maximum limit for potassium in supplements to 300, 2000 or 3000 mg per day. Today's maximum limit is 1000 mg per day.

Potassium in food and supplements

Intake of potassium from regular food and drink has not caused adverse health effects in the healthy population, and therefore no tolerable upper intake levels are established for potassium in food and drink. This applies to both children and adults.

On the other hand, potassium chloride supplementation has led to hypercalcaemia (high levels of potassium in the blood). Both too much and too little potassium in the blood is associated with increased mortality.

3000 mg in dietary supplements

VKM proposes to use 3000 mg/day of potassium as an upper guidance level for daily dose of supplemental potassium in adults since this dose has not been shown to cause hypercalcaemia or heart failure, and has not resulted in gastrointestinal lesions.

VKM proposes that upper guidance levels is set at 2630 mg per day for adolescents from 14 to 18 years, 1860 mg per day for children from 10 to 14 years and 990 mg per day for children from 3 to 10 years.

"All doses of potassium in nutritional supplements that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has asked us to assess, are acceptable for adults," says Alice Margareta Haugen, who has lead the work team at VKM.

The assessment is conducted by the Panel on Nutrition, Dietetic products, Novel food and Allergy.


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