Kidney Disease: High- and Low-Potassium Foods

What Are Potassium Levels?

The kidneys filter blood from the body. They remove waste products such as excess water, salt, sugar, proteins and other substances that could cause damage to your health. If these harmful substances get into your bloodstream they can harm or even kill you. Sodium is one of the most common substances that enters our blood stream through urine. The kidneys have two ways to eliminate sodium. One way is by excreting it out of the body. Another way is by reabsorbing it back into the body.

When you drink fluids (such as milk) or eat food containing sodium, some of the sodium gets absorbed into your blood stream and then reabsorbed back into your body. When you do not drink enough fluids or eat too much sodium, the kidneys cannot excrete all of the sodium. The result is that some of the sodium stays in your blood stream and must be eliminated from your body. The kidneys also have another way to eliminate excess fluid.

This occurs when extra water is stored in your body tissues like fat cells, muscle tissue or organs such as the heart and brain. These extra stores of water are called intracellular fluid vesicles (ICFs). When sodium is reabsorbed into the blood stream, the water that goes with it gets stored in these intracellular vesicles. So your body has a double whammy effect of a high-salt diet.

What are the Consequences of High Intracellular Fluid?

When too much water is stored in your organs, it may squeeze or stretch the organ so much that it affects how it functions and may eventually cause serious problems.

Sources & references used in this article:

Microgreens production with low potassium content for patients with impaired kidney function by M Renna, M Castellino, B Leoni, VM Paradiso… – Nutrients, 2018 –

Low potassium excretion but not high sodium excretion is associated with increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease by LM Kieneker, SJL Bakker, RA de Boer, GJ Navis… – Kidney international, 2016 – Elsevier

High sodium-low potassium environment and hypertension by GR Meneely, HD Battarbee – The American journal of cardiology, 1976 – Elsevier

Nutrient non-equivalence: Does restricting high-potassium plant foods help to prevent hyperkalemia in hemodialysis patients? by DE St-Jules, DS Goldfarb, MA Sevick – Journal of Renal Nutrition, 2016 – Elsevier

Effect of dietary potassium restriction on serum potassium, disease progression, and mortality in chronic kidney disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis by A Morris, N Krishnan, PK Kimani, D Lycett – Journal of Renal Nutrition, 2020 – Elsevier