Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University Bulletin, 2018, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 266–284
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Physiological and hygienic basis of potassium norm in drinking water: Theoretical and practical implications

Aizman R. I. 1 (Novosibirsk, Russian Federation), Gerasev A. D. 1 (Novosibirsk, Russian Federation), Aizman O. 2 (Stockholm, Kingdom of Sweden), Krasheninina G. I. 3 (Novosibirsk, Russian Federation), Trofimovich E. M. 4 (Novosibirsk, Russian Federation)
1 Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation
2 Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
3 Novosibirsk Research Institute of Hygiene Rospotrebnadzor, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation
4 Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University

Introduction. At present, there are no physiological and hygienic studies to substantiate the optimal (OHN) and permissible (PHN) hygienic norms of potassium in drinking water. The potassium standard for drinking water, 12 mg / dm3, established by the European Community directive 98 / 83EC, has no experimental justification, that makes unproven teaching this topic in the sections “Physiology of water-salt balance” and “Water supply hygiene”. This was the aim of this work: to consider the physiology of potassium metabolism in the body, on the basis of which experimentally to justify its hygienic norms in drinking water.
Materials and Methods. To justify the hygienic norm of potassium content in drinking water, a physiological and hygienic approach based on the theoretical and experimental study of potassium homeostasis in the body of higher animals and humans, as well as on the analysis of physiological responses of the body to long-term dose-dependent effects of potassium loads was used. This made it possible to integrate the results of the study into the system of standards for this cation in drinking water.
Results. It is shown, that regulation of potassium balance is provided as a direct action of cation surplus on kidneys in a case of hyperkalemia, and the reflex mechanism which involves following the potassium absorption from a digestive tract. This conclusion is based on experimental data, that potassium-regulating reflex is presented by liver selective receptors, afferent pathways as a part of vagal nerves, the hypothalamic centres and hormones (renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, vasopressin, insulin), causing changes of kidney functions – the main homeostatic organ, and potassium tissue depot (skeletal muscles and a liver).
The second part describes the results of a 9-month chronic experiment in rats receiving drinking water with different potassium concentrations and its effect on kidney functions. It is shown, that cation concentration in water of 5,0 mg/dm3 did not cause changes of the renal response on water and potassium loadings in comparison with the control (potassium concentration in drinking water was 1,0 ± 0,2 mg/dm3), whereas water with the potassium concentration 50 mg/dm3 led to pressure of ionic balance regulation mechanisms in comparison with the control. It was expressed in increase of potassium and sodium excretion after water loading and their decrease after potassium loading.
Conclusions. The obtained data allow to conclude, that a hygienic optimum of potassium ion concentration in drinking water is the dose of 1-5 mg/dm3, the threshold dose causing functional pressure of potassium regulation mechanisms is 50 mg/dm3, and the acceptable hygienic range of potassium in drinking water is 0,8–12,5 mg/dm3.

For citation:
Aizman R. I., Gerasev A. D., Aizman O., Krasheninina G. I., Trofimovich E. M. Physiological and hygienic basis of potassium norm in drinking water: Theoretical and practical implications. Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University Bulletin, 2018, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 266–284. DOI:
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Date of the publication 31.10.2018