I know that the blood needs both Potassium and Sodium. However, we use only added Sodium with our food (when we salt it). The medical saline is also water + sodium chloride and contains no potassium. Why is the imbalance? Should I avoid added NaCl in my food since it is not paired with K and, as such, will be drained by kindeys anyway or Should I look for added Potassium salt to recover the balance?

1 Answer 1


Your kidneys will take care of that for you. They regulate the concentration of electrolytes in your blood. Usually, enough potassium is available in your food (e.g. coffee and bananas are rich in potassium) to prevent a potassium shortage.

Too much medical saline can cause hypernatraemia (too high concentration of sodium) and hypokalaemia (too low cencentration of potassium). However, one needs quite some quantities for that, and the balance is usually quite easily recovered by supplementing potassium.

TL:DR; don't worry about it.

  • There is a bit of contradiction. On one hand you say that I should not care. At the same time, you say about supplementary potassium. Do you mean that the only way to shift the balance is with saline in hospital (so that they will care about it)?
    – valentin
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 7:03
  • Yes. Severe electrolyte disturbances are very uncommon in healthy people (i.e. those who don't take kidney medication or have severe diarrhoea/vomiting). And even then, if you're not frail you'll probably recover quickly. They only measure your electrolyte levels in a hospital, and they'll take care of any disturbances.
    – Jasper
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 8:10
  • Does it make any sense to add any Na(Cl) into the food without K?
    – valentin
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 7:22
  • People do it for taste; medically it's in most cases not necessary. On the contrary, it's been linked to high blood pressure.
    – Jasper
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 11:23
  • 1
    The reason saline is made with sodium is because sodium is the main electrolyte found in the extra-cellular fluid, and largely responsible for maintaining the plasma osmolarity. Potassium, on the other hand, is very abundant INSIDE the cells. What Jasper said is largely correct. We add salt for taste and not because we actually need to. And yes, overconsumption of salt is directly related to hypertension. Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 23:29

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