Taking a diuretic? Take this, too
Diuretics are commonly called "water pills" because they rid the body of excess water. They're very effective at that, as anyone rushing to the bathroom after swallowing one will tell you.
But in reality, you lose more than just water with each flush of the toilet. These pills can also chase out potassium -- and that's why people who take them are often deficient in this mineral, which is so essential to heart function.
So if you're on a diuretic drug, you almost certainly need to take a potassium supplement, too.
It's not just important. It's essential -- and new research confirms they can make the difference between life and death.
If you're taking a relatively low dose of the diuretic furosemide, potassium supplements can cut your risk of death by 7 percent, according to the study in PLoS One.
But the higher the dose, the more essential those potassium supplements become. And if you're taking the more common dose of 40 milligrams a day or more, potassium supplements will cut your risk of death by 16 percent.
If you're on a diuretic now and haven't been told to take potassium supplements, don't start on your own -- be sure to call your doctor first. While most pharmaceutical diuretics also remove potassium, not all of them do.
Better yet, speak to a holistic medical doctor about safe and natural alternatives to diuretic drugs. Dandelion, for example, can flush out excess water without decreasing potassium and magnesium.