Revised Reference Values for Potassium Intake

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Background: The nutrition societies of Germany, Austria and Switzerland have revised the reference values for potassium intake in January 2017. Methods: For adults, the estimated value was based on the 24-h urinary potassium excretion and on preventive considerations regarding hypertension and stroke. The estimated values for children and adolescents were extrapolated from the adult estimated value considering differences in body mass. For infants aged 0 to under 4 months, the estimated value was set based on the potassium intake via breast milk. From this reference value, the estimated value for infants aged 4 to under 12 months was also derived by extrapolation. The estimated value for lactating women takes into account the potassium loss via breast milk. Results: The estimated values for potassium intake are set at 400 mg/day for breastfed infants aged 0 to under 4 months, 600 mg/day for infants aged 4 to under 12 months, 1,100-4,000 mg/day for children and adolescents, 4,000 mg/day for adults and pregnant women and 4,400 mg/day for lactating women. Conclusions: The consumption of potassium-rich foods should be generally increased. Supplemental intake beyond the estimated values has no health benefit and is therefore not recommended.

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