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Potassium Chloride vs. Potassium Gluconate: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 17, 2023
Potassium chloride is a salt commonly used in medicine and food, while potassium gluconate is a dietary supplement, often gentler on the stomach.

Key Differences

Potassium chloride (KCl) is a simple salt formed from potassium and chlorine. Potassium gluconate, on the other hand, is a compound of potassium and gluconic acid, used mainly for its potassium content.
In the medical field, potassium chloride is often used to treat or prevent potassium deficiency and certain heart conditions. Whereas, potassium gluconate is primarily a dietary supplement, used when a more gentle form of potassium is needed.
Potassium chloride is absorbed quickly by the body, but can cause irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. While, potassium gluconate is absorbed more slowly and is generally easier on the stomach.
Potassium chloride has a bitter taste and is readily soluble in water. In contrast, potassium gluconate has a less pronounced taste and is also soluble in water, making it preferable for oral consumption.
Potassium chloride is widely available and relatively inexpensive. Potassium gluconate is also readily available but may be slightly more expensive due to its specialized use as a dietary supplement.

Comparison Chart

Chemical Form

Salt (KCl)
Compound with gluconic acid

Primary Use

Medical treatment and food additive
Dietary supplement

Absorption Rate


Gastrointestinal Impact

Can be irritating
Gentler on the stomach


Generally cheaper
Slightly more expensive

Potassium Chloride and Potassium Gluconate Definitions

Potassium Chloride

Agricultural Use.
Farmers use potassium chloride as a fertilizer for crop growth.

Potassium Gluconate

Nutritional Aid.
Health-conscious individuals include potassium gluconate in their diets.

Potassium Chloride

Medical Salt.
Intravenous solutions often contain potassium chloride for essential body functions.

Potassium Gluconate

Pharmacy Product.
Pharmacies sell potassium gluconate as an over-the-counter supplement.

Potassium Chloride

Industrial Application.
Potassium chloride is utilized in manufacturing and scientific research.

Potassium Gluconate

Dietary Supplement.
Potassium gluconate is taken to prevent potassium deficiency.

Potassium Chloride

Food Additive.
Potassium chloride is used in low-sodium salt substitutes.

Potassium Gluconate

Gentle Potassium Source.
For those with sensitive stomachs, doctors recommend potassium gluconate.

Potassium Chloride

Electrolyte Supplement.
Potassium chloride supplements help maintain electrolyte balance in the body.

Potassium Gluconate

Healthcare Use.
In healthcare, potassium gluconate is valued for its easy absorption.


What is potassium gluconate used for?

Mainly as a dietary supplement.

What is potassium chloride?

A salt used in medicine and as a food additive.

Is potassium chloride safe for all patients?

It can cause irritation in some patients; consult a doctor.

How is potassium gluconate absorbed?

More slowly, and gentler on the stomach.

What are the side effects of potassium chloride?

Gastrointestinal distress in some cases.

Are there side effects to potassium gluconate?

Generally fewer than potassium chloride.

Can potassium gluconate replace potassium chloride?

Yes, for dietary supplementation.

How does the body absorb potassium chloride?

Rapidly, but can be harsh on the stomach.

Is potassium gluconate better than potassium chloride?

It's preferable for those with digestive sensitivity.

What form does potassium gluconate come in?

Typically as tablets or capsules.

Is potassium chloride expensive?

It's generally affordable.

Who should avoid potassium chloride?

Those with kidney issues or gastrointestinal sensitivity.

Who is potassium gluconate suitable for?

Ideal for individuals needing a gentle potassium supplement.

Can I get potassium chloride over the counter?

Yes, it's available in various forms.

Can I use potassium chloride as a salt substitute?

Yes, it's often used in low-sodium salts.

Can potassium chloride treat potassium deficiency?

Yes, effectively used for this purpose.

How does the cost of potassium gluconate compare?

Slightly more expensive than potassium chloride.

Where can I find potassium gluconate?

At pharmacies and health food stores.

Can potassium chloride be used in IV solutions?

Yes, commonly used in medical settings.

Is potassium gluconate effective for potassium deficiency?

Yes, especially in milder cases.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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