Potassium bicarbonate: benefits, side effects, dosage


Potassium is an essential nutrient that your body uses to build muscle, regulate nervous system function, and maintain a constant pH. Certain health conditions or medications can cause potassium levels to be too high, which is called hyperkalemia , or too low, which is called hypokalemia.

In cases where blood potassium levels are too low, a potassium bicarbonate supplement can be given to bring potassium levels back to normal. However, it should be taken with caution. Too much potassium can be harmful. Learn more about the benefits and risks of taking potassium bicarbonate.

Illustration by Cindy Chang, Get Drug Information

What is potassium bicarbonate used for?

Potassium is an important electrolyte for various bodily functions. Most people can get enough by following a varied diet that includes foods that contain potassium. However, there are some conditions or medications that can cause potassium levels to drop. In this case, your doctor may prescribe a potassium bicarbonate supplement.


Low potassium levels in the blood can lead to health problems. For this reason, potassium bicarbonate supplements may be prescribed. The supplement will increase blood potassium levels and reverse hypokalemia.

Low potassium levels can lead to health problems and symptoms such as muscle weakness, fatigue, diarrhea or an upset stomach, and irregular heartbeat.

Low potassium levels may need to be checked periodically with a blood test to make sure the level is normal. Since potassium performs a number of vital functions within the body, it is necessary to ensure that potassium levels are normal.

Preservation of bones and muscles.

A diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in grains and protein can promote bone and muscle loss, especially in people over 50 years of age. One study found that potassium bicarbonate supplementation can help delay the loss of calcium and other nutrients. that maintain good bone health and prevent damage.

Kidney stones

Some preliminary research suggests that potassium bicarbonate and potassium citrate supplements may help dissolve certain types of kidney stones. However, keep in mind that there are currently no large studies to support this effect; The use of potassium bicarbonate to treat kidney stones is not done on a regular basis.


Some studies have shown that a diet that provides enough potassium can help reduce the risk of stroke. In a study in women over 50, the risk of stroke, ischemic stroke, and even the risk of death was lowered for those with the highest dietary potassium intake.

A study in men over the age of 40 found similar results. Men who ate a diet rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium had a reduced risk of stroke. Potassium supplements can also have the same effect, however there is currently not much conclusive evidence to support this claim.

Possible side effects.

Potassium bicarbonate can cause certain side effects, some of which can be serious and may be reasons to stop taking it. Talk to your doctor about the risk of side effects if any serious side effects occur or if you are concerned about less serious side effects.

Potassium bicarbonate increases potassium levels, so it may not be safe to take with other foods that contain potassium. High levels of potassium (hyperkalemia) are dangerous to your health and can cause serious symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Tingling sensation in hands or feet.
  • Threw up

Some of the possible side effects that can occur with potassium bicarbonate supplements are serious. If any of these side effects occur, it is recommended that you stop taking the supplement and the person experiencing the side effects contact a doctor immediately. These more serious symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Black stool
  • Blood in the stool
  • Excessive weakness (especially in the legs)
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Severe abdominal cramps
  • Difficulty breathing

Drug interactions

There are several different medications that can interact with potassium bicarbonate. Talk to your doctor about taking potassium bicarbonate if you are also taking any of the following medications:

  • Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors . These include Accupril (quinapril), Aceon (perindopril), Altace (ramipril), Capoten (captopril), Lotensin (benazepril), Mavik (trandolapril), and others.
  • Beta- blockers including Betapace (sotalol), Blocadren (timolol), Bystolic (nebivolol), Cartrol (cartolol), Coreg (carvedilol), Corgard (nadolol), Kerlone (betaxolol), Levatol (penbutolol), and others.
  • Diuretics (also called water pills), including aldactone, aldactazide (spironolactone), diuril (chlorothiazide), direnium, and others.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) , including aspirin Advil, Midol, Motrin (ibuprofen), Alev, Naprosin (naproxen), Indocin (indomethacin), Lodin (etodolac), and others.
  • Steroids including cortef, hydrocortone (hydrocortisone), decadrone, hexadrol (dexamethasone), and deltazone, orazone (prednisone).

Food interactions

Some people use salt substitutes in their meals to reduce their overall salt intake. However, it can also be a potentially dangerous interaction with potassium bicarbonate.

Salt substitutes can contain high levels of potassium, so they should not be consumed while getting additional potassium bicarbonate.

Dosage and preparation

Adults are advised to eat a diet that provides 4.7 grams of potassium per day (levels rise to 5.1 grams for breastfeeding women). Potassium bicarbonate supplements come in effervescent tablets that should be dissolved in about 4 ounces of water. The tablet should dissolve completely and should be drunk immediately.

Drink another glass of water after taking the supplement. For those who have an upset stomach from taking potassium bicarbonate, try taking it with meals to prevent this effect. You must complete the full course prescribed by your doctor; it should not be stopped abruptly, unless recommended by your doctor.

What to look for

High potassium levels can cause weakness, especially in the legs. Severe abdominal pain, confusion, fatigue , irregular heartbeats, and stools that look black or contain blood can also be symptoms of high potassium levels.

If these symptoms occur, stop taking potassium bicarbonate and seek medical attention immediately. When taking any medication, it is best to check with your doctor to find out if potassium bicarbonate is right for you and which supplements are best for you.

Get the word of drug information

Potassium bicarbonate may be prescribed to treat low potassium levels or, in rare cases, other conditions. This supplement should be used with caution and under medical supervision because taking too much potassium can lead to life-threatening heart complications. However, when used correctly, potassium bicarbonate can reverse low potassium levels.

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