Potassium for the treatment of migraine headaches: an introduction

Potassium is a mineral that is important for proper functioning of all of the body’s cells, tissues and organs. Potassium, an electrolyte, is very important for several processes in the body including the heart’s electrical activity, building muscle and for growth.

Foods containing Potassium

  • Potatoes (particularly potato skin)
  • Soy products
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Lima Beans
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter Squashes
  • Bananas
  • Citris Fruits
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi
  • Prunes
  • Apricots (particularly dried apricots)
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Nuts
  • All meats
  • Fish, including salmon, cod, flounder and sardines

How is Potassium Helpful for Migraines

It is not well understood how Potassium helps migraine sufferers. It is an ingredient in the pain killer diclofenac, which is sold under the brand names Cambia, Cataflam, Voltarenand Zipsor.

Formulations available

  • Tablets
  • Capsules
  • Effervescent tablets—that fizz in water
  • Powders
  • Liquids
  • Caplets
  • Cubes for household water systems
  • Drops

Side effects and other precautions

Overdose of Potassium can cause

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slow heart beat
  • Chest pain

If you experience any of these symptoms of Potassium overdose, contact your doctor immediately.

Who should not take potassium

People who have hyperkalemia, kidney disease or poor kidney function should not take Potassium supplements.

People who take certain medications shouldn’t take Potassium, including ACE inhibitors, potassium-sparing diuretics and the antibiotics trimethoprim or sulfamethoxazole, NSAIDs, heparin, cyclosporine and beta blockers. These medications may cause an increase in Potassium.

Other medications can cause Potassium levels to decrease including thiazide diuretics, loop diuretics, corticosteroids, antacids, insulin, laxatives as well as amphotericin B, floconazole or theophylline. When taking these medications, your doctor must test your Potassium levels to see if it’s too low and whether you need a supplement. You should not begin taking a supplement on your own.

The medication digoxin can become toxic if Potassium levels are low.

Older people should be certain to speak to their doctor before taking Potassium.

As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines is your own migraine specialist. These descriptions of natural remedies are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication or supplement without first checking with your physician. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.