Sodium-Potassium ratio

I am trying to understand the sodium-potassium ratio. I can never get the correct balance of sodium to potassium when looking at the gauges at the bottom of the page. For example, I have consumed 4948 mg of potassium today and only 1057 mg of sodium, and am still not balanced per the gauge. I have seen the ratio should be 1:3 or higher, one recommendation was 1:4. The amount I consumed is closer to a 1:5 ratio. What ratio is this community using and what source is this from. Just for note, I am a registered dietitian with my master's in clinical nutrition and am very conscious about an adequate potassium intake compared to sodium for heart health. Many thanks, Ann


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    I'm using the free version of Cronometer, so I don't see the sodium/potassium ratio.

    As far as your sodium and potassium consumption are concerned, your diet sounds healthy to me. Based on this, I don't think you need to change your diet. It sounds like you consume plenty of fruits and vegetables but virtually no junk foods or restaurant foods (many of which are sodium bombs).

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    @AnnHold I have been wondering the same thing! I have a hard time getting enough potassium & keeping the sodium low at the same time. I've set my sodium to 1400mg & potassium to 4700mg. I used the chart function to see the different curves and today was the first day they actually meet at the same place, but when I look at the gauges, they're still off. I don't understand the calculations either. Just out of curiosity, what do you eat to get 4948 mg of potassium? I had soybeans twice today and chickpeas in my kale salad with a tahini dressing. I don't eat meat anymore.

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    Thanks for the comments above. The only way I have found to get my potassium up enough is with a veggie juice like V8 but it is organic and low in sodium BUT also NoSalt salt substitute. It is amazing how tough it is to get enough K+ in and I would have never learned that I was so off without using an app like Cronometer. And you are right FerrisBueller86, never junk food or fast food but that hasn't been me for many, many years. Yumm to your kale, chickpeas, and tahini....Mmmmmm.

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    Great Idea @AnnHold! I'll stock up on V8 on my next grocery trip. We make a green smoothie every morning with Kale, frozen fruit, almond milk, a bit of orange juice, amla powder, pea protein powder, chia seeds & psyllium husk. It's filling & gives me most of the K+ I need!

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    Fellow RD here! I think we have to consider if the gauge is a validated tool or something intended for interest purposes. Personally, I tend to stick more to the individual intakes of these nutrients while measuring biomarkers, such as blood pressure.

    As an FYI, there was a previous discussion on this topic:

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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    I appreciate your responding and I guess what I understand from your answer is that the gauges are not accurate tools for us to use yet they still are here for us to see and this, to me, is not interesting. I guess it leaves me frustrated trying my best to meet the goals set by Cronometer. At least now I know this and the very few ppl seeing this topic know it but I would be concerned about all the others trying hard to make the gauge balanced. But this still does not answer my question; what is the ratio being used on this gauge, what reference did Cronometer use to set this gauge, and might it be best to adjust it so that the gauge properly reflects the goals for best health? The potassium:sodium balance is so very important for health and it is useful as a tool for BP control as is the rest of the diet.

    Thanks again for responding.

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    I just clicked on the above link and it states that the gauge uses a range of 2:1 to 10:1. My K+ intake is about 5,000 mg and my Na+ intake is under 1,500 mg and it is still not balanced so the gauge remains incorrect and does not reflect the 2-10:1 ratio. I do see the number of ppl who are frustrated and reaching out to you for correction of this because we all like to see our hard efforts reflected in the apps that we are using.

    Again, many thanks.

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    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who can't make sense of the sodium/potassium gauge. I've done my research and found the same info as you folks stated above, but it doesn't seem I can get ever get the gauge to be happy! I just listened to an interview with Robb Wolf on Crono's podcast last night where he talked about how much sodium people need (way more than I can even imagine consuming, and I'm someone who likes her salt!), and I'm just not sure how to square that w/info I've found that tells me that I need lots more potassium than I was getting prior to coming to Crono. I've played around with entering crazy amounts of both sodium and potassium, just to see if I could get a balance, and I couldn't do it.

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    I haven’t played around with the sodium: potassium gauge yet. But I am having some issues with other minerals like zinc and calcium when they come in supplement form. Basically it appears the app treats the whole weight of the compound as being the intake of the mineral…eg zinc citrate is only 34% zinc, but Cronometer treats 50mg of zinc citrate as being 50mg of zinc, instead of 17mg zinc, which is the correct input..

    Is it possible the app is treating the whole weight of the salt you enter as being the amount of sodium you are ingesting? Sodium chloride is 40% sodium, which is why a tsp of salt, weighing let’s say 6g, has only 2400mg of sodium, not 6000. It should be easy to tell whether this is contributing to the problem…I think I’ll try it and see.

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    Further to above, I just tried adding 3.75g salt to my diary, and the daily report correctly reflected 1500mg of sodium added to my total. So the possible bug I just suggested can be ruled out.

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    I use no sodium salt in my diet and eat almost all whole foods. It is the ratio that is the problem. I can eat over 150% of my potassium needs, be under in my sodium range, and still not be in a good balance with the gauge for the sodium and potassium gauge. It is just something I don't pay attention to anymore. I love the app though, it does what I want it to. Thanks for responding.

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    I figured out how to ace Cronometer’s potassium-sodium ratio…but I wouldn’t recommend actually consuming 27 GRAMS of potassium bicarbonate! That’s how much it took to push my 3:1 ratio yesterday into the blackest part of the gauge. Good to know.

    Yes, the “ideal” ratio on the dial is 10x K:Na, and no, it is not a validated tool. As others have said, there is “internet opinion” saying 3:1 is optimal (which reflects the current AI’s); others say 6:1.. Elsewhere it is stated that our ancestral diet ranged up to 16:1. If anyone can find studies supporting these figures, let us know.

    But the only medical reports I found were blood pressure, stroke, and CVD association studies, referring to “sodium-potassium ratios” ranging from .59 to above 3, so the highest real world potassium-sodium ratio for any group studied was 1.7 to 1. Results are not unanimous, but there is definitely some evidence that Na:K ratios above 1 are more strongly linked to hypertension than actual amounts consumed.

    Undoubtedly we will learn more about this from future studies, but meanwhile it’s a safe bet that, as long as your kidneys are healthy, more potassium from food is a good thing.

    BTW, I started taking KHCO3 (2-4g/d on empty stomach after high protein meals) several years ago to see if it would lower serum chloride and raise urine pH, which I attributed to a high protein diet. It seemed to work for the lab values, and I later learned it was probably also lowering my already low blood pressure and slowing bone loss. A friend who is a kidney specialist stressed this is probably safe as long as one’s kidney function (eGFR, creatinine, BUN) is good, but definitely not safe for everyone.

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