inadequate potassium intake

Last edited 03/2018 and last reviewed 04/2022

inadequate potassium intake

Inadequate dietary intake alone is a rare cause of hypokalaemia since kidneys decrease the amount of potassium excretion, allowing for nearly 2-3 weeks of total potassium depletion before normal serum levels would be expected to decrease (1). In hospitalised patients, it may a contributing factor for hypokalaemia (2)

However hypokalaemia from other causes may be exacerbated by low potassium intake. Severe hypokalaemia is seen when poor potassium intake is combined with increased losses e.g. - in alcoholic patients or severely malnourished patients (1).

Inadequate intake may be present in:

  • anorexia
  • dementia
  • starvation
  • total parenteral nutrition (2)