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Potassium replacement and foods rich in potassium


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#1 quilterpam

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 07:59 PM

I know I didn't spell that right! My doctor said that I was low in potassium and gave me some liquid to drink every day, a real pain in the neck. I looked up pot in foods and it in alot of fruits and veggies. I have not eaten much of either since the surgery (9-28-09). My question is, can my pouch absorb the potassium in these foods or will I have to drink the liquid?:confused:

Edited by John, 24 January 2010 - 06:10 PM.

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#2 Karen Merdinger

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:56 PM

You have asked a very good question. Id like to break the answer down into parts. First there is the issue of bringing your potassium level back into the normal range, and second there is question of maintaining it there with the minimal amount of medication if any.

Since low blood potassium is associated with muscle weakness, mental confusion, and may adversely affect your heart it is important that you follow your doctors recommendation and take the potassium replacement as prescribed. You wont be able to get enough from your foods to get the job done without the supplement.

Then there is the matter of keeping your potassium in the normal range. You are right that potassium is found in green leafy vegetables and fruits. Some that I would suggest include spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, and cantaloupe.

Heart healthy V-8 juice contains more potassium and less sodium, so that is also a good choice. The good news is that potassium is absorbed in the small intestine and perhaps in the right colon, so you should be able to take in the potassium in your food after bariatric surgery.

If you are on a diuretic such as Lasix or hydrochlothiazide (HCTZ), your kidneys will secrete potassium. You may well need a potassium supplement as prescribed. You can minimize the amount of replacement or perhaps eliminate the need by eating potassium rich foods. Discuss this with your doctor. She or he will measure your potassium level from time to time, and will tell you if you need a supplement.

One warning: dont use over the counter potassium supplements on your own. Only use what your doctor prescribes. Its hard to get too much potassium though your diet, but you can overdose on over the counter supplements. High potassium levels can cause heart problems and in the extreme can be lethal. You wont over dose on fruits and vegetables, so dont worry there!

#3 ardita

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 03:31 PM

Thanks for that useful info, Karen.

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#4 sherry7

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 08:56 PM

I know I didn't spell that right! My doctor said that I was low in potassium and gave me some liquid to drink every day, a real pain in the neck. I looked up pot in foods and it in alot of fruits and veggies. I have not eaten much of either since the surgery (9-28-09). My question is, can my pouch absorb the potassium in these foods or will I have to drink the liquid?:confused:


I have taken prescription potassium for several years, even before WLS. I once figured out that I would have to eat 48 bananas each day to equal the amount of potassium I get in the 2 pills I take. So for me, a supplement is definitely necessary.

Low potassium can be very dangerous, and can damage your heart. It's nothing to mess around with. I ended up in the hospital twice, getting it pumped in by IV, because I was negligent in taking the pills (this was pre-WLS). I finally wised up and started taking it like I was supposed to, and my levels have been okay since then. I still get them checked every 6 months though, and continue to take the prescription supplement.
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