The World Health Organization (WHO) has highlighted the beneficial role of adequate intake of potassium (K) in combating the global burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), mainly hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Diets are the main source of K supply to humans and can contribute to both K deficiency (hypokalemia) and excess (hyperkalemia). While global attention is currently devoted to K deficiency, K excess can be even more dangerous and deserves equal attention. The objectives of this paper were to (i) estimate the K intake of Ghanaian population using food supply and food composition data and (ii) compare this estimate with the WHO-recommended requirement for K in order to assess if there is a risk of inadequate or excess K intake. Food supply data (1961–2011) were obtained from the Food Balance Sheet (FBS) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to derive trends in food and K supply. The average food supply in the FBS for 2010 and 2011 was used in assessing the risk of inadequate or excess dietary intake of K. The K content of the food items was obtained from food composition databases. Based on 2010-2011 average data, the K supply per capita per day was approximately 9,086 mg, about 2.6-fold larger than the WHO-recommended level (3,510 mg). The assessment suggests a potentially large risk of excess dietary K supply at both individual and population levels. The results suggest the need for assessing options for managing K excess as part of food security and public health strategies. The results further underscore a need for assessment of the K status of staple food crops and mixed diets, as well as K management in food crop production systems in Ghana.


  • IntroductionPotassium (K) is an essential element which plays crucial roles in the nutrition and health of plants, animals, and humans

  • Adequate mineral nutrition is a major component of food security strategies

  • The K intake in several countries has been found to be below recommended levels [12]. is realization, together with the potential role of K deficiency in noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), has directed attention to the urgent need to assess and manage dietary supplies of K in human populations [12]. e current study shows that the risk of excess K intake and its associated health outcomes, rare, need to be given similar attention, especially in jurisdictions where starchy roots and tubers constitute the bulk of diets

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Potassium (K) is an essential element which plays crucial roles in the nutrition and health of plants, animals, and humans. Potassium is known to activate over 60 enzymes in plants, promotes photosynthesis, and plays a role in stomata opening, use of nitrogen, transport of assimilates, and microbial population in the rhizosphere [1,2,3]. Major roles of K in humans and animals include maintenance of water balance, osmotic pressure, and acidbase balance, activation of enzymes, and mediation of carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Potassium plays a crucial role in the regulation of neuromuscular activity and heartbeat [4, 5]. The adverse health outcomes of inadequate intake of vitamins and mineral elements (known as the “hidden hunger”) have received tremendous attention [6]. The global burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) has directed attention to the role of K in these


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